Islamic Republic’s Supreme Leader ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s website reported that he has “addressed 100 thousand Basij members” at the Azadi Stadium West of Tehran on Thursday October 4, telling them “by defeating sanctions, Iranians will once again slap the US in the face,” and that US sanctions are “more fragile than” Iran’s economy.
Basij is the IRGC-linked militia that helped suppress mass protests, particularly during the past decade.
“The gist of my speech today represents 1st, Iran’s majesty; 2nd, Islamic Republic’s sovereignty; and 3rd Iranian nation’s invincibility,” adding that “These are not only some superficial slogans, like the slogans some others chant,” the website quoted Khamenei as saying in a speech meant to boost his supporters’ morale and to glorify his own image as a powerful figure that defies f just weeks before the implementation of a second round of renewed US sanctions.
“On the sovereignty of the Islamic Republic,” Ayatollah Khamenei held, “it suffices to point out that it saved Iran from the domination of UK and U.S.; a domination that had begun in early 19th century and arrogant, merciless foreigners ruled over country’s every matter.”
Elsewhere in his speech, Khamenei admitted that Iran was under economic pressure, but ruled out a political deadlock. “We do not have any deadlocks,” he said, repeating what President Hassan Rouhani had said earlier in spite of Iran’s crashing economy.
He also shunned US President Donald Trump’s remarks about Iran’s “weakness” as “wishful thinking.”
Some observers say although Khamenei always talks “big,” the new round of his defiant and self-glorifying remarks could be attributed to the recent ruling by the International Court of Justice about Iran’s case versus the United States about sanctions.
Several other Iranian politicians have also been observed to overstate the importance of the ruling.
For instance, Iran’s ambassador to London, Hamid Baeidinejad tweeted that the ruling will force the US to revise its decision about the next round of sanctions against Iran.
رأی دیوان دادگستری بین المللی در مردود دانستن تحریمهای آمریکا علیه ایران، هم با تصمیم اخیر اتحادیه اروپا برای ایجاد یک سازو کار ویژه برای تداوم تجارت با ایران منطبق میباشد و هم آمریکا را ملزم می کند که در تصمیم ماه آینده برای اعمال تحریم بر بخشهای اقتصادی ایران تجدید نظر کند. pic.twitter.com/9W0OybQ0aq
— Hamid Baeidinejad (@baeidinejad) October 3, 2018
Presidential adviser Hesamoddin Ashna in several tweets praised the stadium gathering, likened it to a “combat theatre,” and linked to the court ruling that in his opinion reveal Iranians’ “might.” He called the gathering “a show of power against those who want a regime change” in Iran. He said the gathering was Khamenei and the people’s firm response to US sanctions and threats.
آزادی امروز نه یک ورزشگاه که یک رزمگاه است. حضور پرشکوه زنان و مردان ایرانی از هر قوم و قبیله و از هر سن و طبقه، قدرتنمایی ملی ایران در برابر براندازان است.
— حسام الدین آشنا Hesamoddin Ashena (@hesamodin1) October 4, 2018
On the other hand, critics exclaimed why the slogans chanted at the stadium were in Arabic rather than Persian.
Meanwhile, Radio Farda’s Iran analyst Morad Veisi observed that Khamenei’s speech was highlighted by references to the words “America” and the “enemy.” He said this was a sign that the United States’ new Iran policy is the Islamic Republic’s main preoccupation.
Veisi added that khamenei’s remarks shut the door to any chance for negotiations between Tehran and Washington.
According to Veisi, “the heart of the matter in Khamenei’s remarks was resistance against the US. At the same time, he continued the war of words with America and accused those who hope for rapprochement with America of treason.”
Nevertheless, Khamenei failed to conceal his concern about a rift among Iranian officials about how to interact with America, Veisi said.