Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei during President Hassan Rouhani’s inauguration in August 2017. (IRNA)

October 26, 2020

The Supreme Leader of Iran Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has criticized certain actions against the government and “particularly the President.”

Lightly criticizing President Hassan Rouhani’s hardline opponents, Khamenei noted, “Desecration is forbidden, especially among the country’s top officials.”

Speaking in a meeting with the members of the National Coronavirus Combat and Prevention Headquarters on Saturday, Khamenei claimed, “You have the right to criticize, but criticism is different from insult and desecration.

Rebuking Rouhani’s critics , Khamenei accused them of behaving like Americans, “Such behavior and humiliation is the way Americans have notoriously exposed themselves in the world during their debates.”

Khamenei was referring to a fundamentalist member of parliament’s recent remarks against Rouhani.

On Friday, the chairman of the Iranian parliament’s influential Commission for National Security and Foreign Policy, Mojtaba Zonnour, said that Rouhani deserves to be executed a thousand times a day and that the Iranian people would agree with his views.

Zonnour was reacting to Rouhani’s speech on October 14, when Rouhani referred to an event in Islam, insisting that Imam Hassan made peace with Mu’awiyah because “the overwhelming majority of society and people” wanted peace.

Rouhani’s critics immediately described the remarks as a prelude to his willingness to negotiate with the United States.

However, Rouhani’s remarks were not unprecedented. In a speech in July 2015, Rouhani also invoked the historic peace made in the year 661 by his namesake, Imam Hassan, to step down in favor of Mu’awiyah and prevent a new war between the then-emerging Sunni and Shiite sects. “Imam Hassan made a crucial decision during difficult circumstances that could have destroyed the Muslim community,” Rouhani said, praising Imam’s decision as “heroic flexibility.

Following his words, fundamentalists and close allies of Khamenei blasted Rouhani with a barrage of criticism. Zonnour dismissed Rouhani’s comments as showing his openness to U.S. negotiations, reiterating that if the majority of Iranians were to decide, they would demand Rouhani’s execution.

Nonetheless, in his speech today, Khamenei condemned Zonnour’s remarks as “vilifying” the Islamic Republic President.

Khamenei also called on the regime’s officials to maintain “internal unity and cohesion” in the current situation.

In recent days, some members of parliament have repeatedly threatened to impeach Rouhani, though it appears that after Khamenei’s Saturday remarks, impeaching Rouhani is taken off the MPs’ agenda.

RFE-RL

About Track Persia

Track PersiaTrack Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.