I know not a single Iranian who is supportive of Khamenei and his revolutionary guards. The religious ones think he’s a parvenue who abuses Islam to hold onto power. Grand Ayatollah Montazeri who passed away in 2009 and who was supposed to succeed Khomeini was a leading proponent of this view and was most explicit in his critique of the leadership even though he was a part of the 1979 revolution. The influential Shi’a Sadrists who are based in Iraq and Lebanon are equally critical of the leadership and aren’t aligned with it for similar reasons. The liberal, secular or urban Iranians wait for the energies that the 2009 green revolution strengthened to mature. They’re more or less patiently biding their time, thinking that as generations pass, their liberalism will prevail. The Iranian revolution has become corrupted and sanctions have turned the revolutionary guards into a very wealthy smuggling and industrial conglomerate, they are now a parasite on society and do not want to give up any of their power. It’s unlikely they will surrender their power willingly once political power were to shift back to the people.
Hopefully the Iranians will succeed in reforming the government and dislodging the corrupted revolutionary guards and scholars. The government now is wasting billions on supporting Bashar al Assad and the Iraqi government and is complicit in the mass murder of civilians and destruction of ancient heritage in Syria and Iraq. The government is busy working on nuclear technologies that are extremely perilous in one of the most geologically active areas on the planet. And all these government initiatives are impopular as a majority of Iranians would love nothing better than to embrace democracy, the rule of law and become part of the world.
Much is riding on the negotiations about Iran’s nuclear program. The signs aren’t good though, nuclear weapons will cement the leading group’s power. They are hoping that the US congress will shoot a deal down so they don’t have to and so that they can blame the Americans and take their people into another dark night of repression.
What I miss in the article is that discussion, most young Iranians are aware of just how in peril their freedoms are but believe there just aren’t enough willing regime enthusiasts left to repress them all. But Atena Farghadani is still in prison today and there’s room for many more like her. Fear and repression is what still rules Iran today.