The tiny, ultraconservative clique that rules Iran today insists that--despite endless crimes--the Islamic Republic remains popular and its dying Supreme Leader beloved. Consider the bizarre headline on the Supreme Leader‘s homepage: “The Elections Prove How Robust the Islamic Republic is in Attracting Trust.” That mythology will get a tough test right after Khamenei’s death when funeral decisions can't be avoided.
In theory, ruling hardliners could simply dump Khamenei’s body down a hole in a quck, secrert service limited to immediate family and surrounded by police and Basilj. The regime has had lots of practice. However to do that would be to openly repudiate everything the Islamic Republic has done over Khamenei‘s two decades. Thus, the Big Show must go on even if a fiasco is certain. If several Grand Ayatollahs boycott the ceremony, as is likely, I’d expect some top politicians to do likewise. Don't expect the Khoumeini family to attend. The public is so alienated, who will give Khamenei a happy sendoff? If anything, tens of millions will celebrate his death openly. Afterwards, the Supreme Despot‘s tomb will need heavy security or thousands of people will likely relieve themselves on his hated grave.
In hindsight, the greatest tragedy in modern Iranian history occurred after Khamenei’s death when Grand Ayatollah Montazeri, a humane and passionate man, was shunted aside and placed under house arrest. He was replaced by a ruthless, immoral ultraconservative.
Khamenei’s legacy is monstrous. If people have no personal , political or judicial rights, that is exactly how the Supreme Despot wanted it. If torturers and murderers walk free and still enjoy great power, they can thank Khamenei. If elections are rigged, if anyone who complains is brutally silenced, if coverups abound, if only the small fish are punished, if the economy is a wreck and if wealth is monopolized by a few, we all know who gave the green light.
Khamenei should be remembered by the company he preferred--Ahmad Khatami, Yazdi, Jafari, Fadayi, Taeb, Janati, Mortazawi and his Caligula-like son, Mojtaba. There is no question but that some of the above personally beat, tortured, murdered and raped political prisoners regardless of gender or age. At least three identified torturers serve in the majlis today thanks to the Guardian Council. Who appointed its extremist members?
Finally let us all give credit to Khamenei and his reactionary pals if Iran’s young see no hope of a happy future under this regime. Those who can will continue to emigrate. Those who cannot will find their own escapes via drugs and parties, snickering at any passerby in a turban. Surely the most ironic “accomplishment” of the Iranian Republic is that less than five percent of Iran’s young go to mosques these days. Whatever sincere clerics might think, the ultraconservatives could care less. They are too busy enjoying their money and power.
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