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Iran… Symbolism and Carpet Weaving

Iran… Symbolism and Carpet Weaving

Sunday, 6 November, 2022 - 10:45
Tariq Al-Homayed
Saudi journalist and writer, and former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper

While the protests in Iran have no open leadership, they do have remarkable symbolism. This symbolism speaks to the protesters’ awareness and focus, which is seen in the slogans raised by the young Iranian women, as well as men, taking to the streets.

Indeed, their symbolism has become a hallmark of the protesters’ slogans, as they focus on the slogan “death to the dictator,” i.e. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. They have also targeted portraits of Qassem Soliemani, the former Quds Force commander assassinated by the US.

Moreover, the protests did not turn their attention to outside matters, outside Iran that is, except when they chant “Sayyed Hassan… We will kill you without a second thought.” Here, they are addressing Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah. This emphasis on domestic issues, after two months of protests in cities across the country, is remarkable.

Focusing on these slogans cannot be a coincidence, especially since the mullah regime has been chanting “death to America” and “death to Israel” for four decades, and today the men and women of the country are crying out “death to the dictator.”

Another matter worth noting is that they are focusing on the supreme leader alone, not mentioning the president or other members of the Iranian leadership. The fact that images of Qassem Soliemani, whom the regime has tried to present as a national hero, have been singled out for targeting is also important to note. All of this tells us many things.

First, chanting “death to the dictator” means targeting the idea of Velayat-e Faqih and thus the hold that men with turbans have over the country, meaning they are targeting the Khomeinist project as a whole. Second, repeatedly targeting pictures of Qassem Soliemani means targeting the idea of Iranian expansion.

Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen have fallen victim to this expansion, which stretches as far as Europe through Iranian drones. Expansionism has been at the heart of the Iranian constitution since Khomeini’s evil revolution. Attacking Soleimani’s images also contradicts the regime’s insistence that it must avenge his death.

The same is true for attacking Hassan Nasrallah, as it demonstrated the degree of awareness that Iranian youths have and that Nassralah is nothing other than the second in command of Iranian expansion after Soleimani. Among the disastrous ramifications of this fact is that the Iranian regime has used Hezbollah and others in Iraq to clamp down on those now protesting in Iran.

Once we factor in that it is the youths taking to the streets- or rather, that what we are seeing is genuinely a women’s insurgency- we can conclude that the legitimacy of the regime is waning. It also means that hatred and opposition towards it will endure for years, regardless of the outcome:

The Iranian regime is not in a stand-off with political parties but by women who are today’s students and tomorrow’s mothers. They will raise their children to hate the regime and contest its legitimacy. This means that the regime’s crisis is deep and will continue. The enemies of the regime are women who rose up because of the regime’s backwardness and viciousness.

And so, as we had mentioned at the beginning of this article, these protests have no clear leadership, but the ideas they advocate are clear. They also have a clear plan for weakening and bringing down the regime that is being implemented as carpets are woven- patiently.

The first indications of this are reports suggesting that the “morality police” has disappeared from Iranian streets- a deeply indicative concession from the mullahs, who are now hearing “death to the dictator” chants across Iran.

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