In recent weeks, Iran analysts have been trying to figure out why key leaders of the Islamic Republic are publicly trading insults and accusations of corruption.
Especially noteworthy is the ongoing battle between Ayatollah Yazdi and Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli-Larijani, two former Chief Justices and two of the six top ayatollahs on the Supreme Leader’s Guardian Council, who have presented persuasive evidence of one another’s corruption in these public disputes.
Among the several theories put forward to explain the public condemnations are rivalry over the succession of Supreme Leader Khamenei, Khamenei’s inability to control the systemic corruption of his underlings, and simple greed in fighting for greater financial gain. Perhaps all these explanations account in part for the regime’s public accusations of corruption. But there is another explanation that may be closer to the truth: the corrupt mullahs in the crime syndicate overseen by Supreme Leader Khamenei are turning on one another as President Trump’s oil sanctions cut off the flow of petrodollars to the Islamic Republic’s treasury.
The oil sanctions imposed by the Trump administration have had a profound impact on the viability of the Iranian regime. Flush with money derived from its oil exports, regime clerical leaders for decades indulged their ever-increasing appetite for wealth, power, and influence.
The Larajani crime family is a good example where five brothers have always held key positions in the regime’s government. But no one has profited more from the regime’s systemic corruption than the Supreme Leader.
The flow of huge oil revenue over the years masked from view by the Iranian people the deep and widespread division and corruption among the regime’s syndicate of crime families. As oil revenues dried up, however, the criminal mullahs began to turn on one another, trading accusations and exposing to public view the extent to which their corruption has permeated all aspects of Iranian society, including the Islamic judicial system.
As the corrupt mullahs continue attacking one another over the public airwaves, it appears more and more that no one is really in charge in the Islamic Republic. Indeed, the Iranian people are witnessing first-hand the collapse of the regime under its own decadent weight. It should be clear now for all to see that Supreme Leader Khamenei’s Guardianship of the Jurist — a clerical dictatorship — has succeeded only in bankrupting the Iranian nation, undermining the fabric of Iranian society, and destroying the nation’s natural resources.
Moreover, Ayatollah Khamenei’s Guardianship of the Jurist brand of Islam is now shown to be a colossal failure. Has the future of Shia Islam been enhanced by Khamenei’s rule? Has the relationship between the world’s Shia and Sunni benefitted or suffered from the Khomeneist Islamic Revolution? The unequivocal answer to these questions is an emphatic “no.” The legacy of the Mullahs regime in Iran is one of monumental damage, not only to the Iranian nation and its people, but to Shia Islam as well.
President Trump’s sanctions imposed on the export of the regime’s oil has disrupted the flow of revenue that has enabled the world’s foremost sponsor of terrorism, and exposed the unraveling of the Khomeneist regime and the disintegration of the Iranian Islamic Revolution, a revolution which has gravely harmed, not advanced, the future of Shia Islam.
It is now up to the Iranian people to rid themselves and their neighbors of the regime and reclaim their nation.
Amir Fakhravar is a former Iranian political prisoner, award winning writer, comparative constitutional law expert and the Senate Chairman of the National Iranian Congress.
G. William Heiser is a former Reagan NSC Staff Director and currently is a senior adviser to the National Iranian Congress.
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