Tariq Al-Homayed
Saudi journalist and writer, and former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper

The Supreme Leader Maneuvers, but... 

Four months after the eruption of the protests in Iran over the death of a young woman held in police custody for allegedly improperly wearing the hijab and after all the oppression against the Iranians, supreme leader Ali Khamenei declared that he rejects accusing Iranian women wearing loose hijabs of being “anti-religion or anti-revolutionary". 

Speaking before an audience of Iranian women, he said: “Those who wear an incomplete hijab are our daughters.” 

“The hijab is a religious and inviolable necessity, but this inviolable necessity should not mean that someone without a full hijab should be accused of anti-religion or anti-revolutionary,” he added. 

“The loose hijab is not correct, but that does not render their wearer as anti-religious or anti-revolutionary,” he remarked. 

Moreover, he expressed his openness to women assuming sensitive posts, saying: “The employment of women in various positions is an important issue that has been occupying my mind for a long time.” 

Alright, here we are with an Iranian supreme leader who represents a regime that is based on three pillars: The export of the revolution, obligating women to wear the hijab and championing the slogan “Death to America”. 

Now that his regime has been rattled and the Iranian people have turned against it, he is trying to weather the storm and maneuver. This means that the supreme leader is ready to compromise over anything - even one of the pillars - to support his regime and consolidate his power. He is now ready to redefine “religion and the revolution” just because it is in his interest. 

The supreme leader is doing this now after wasting four decades of the lives of the Iranian people and after the destruction Khomeini’s Iran has brought to the region, its peace and security, economy and even Islam. 

The supreme leader is doing so now after innocent Iranian blood has been shed and after backwardness has crippled Iran, which is suffering from a brain drain, corruption and a weak economy. He led Iran to being paralyzed by endless sanctions just so he can consolidate his power. 

Everything is now up for negotiations and review in order to consolidate the mullah regime. This begs the question: How many opportunities and generations have been wasted in this region due to people in power seeking to consolidate their authority, while completely disregarding the dignity and lives of man? 

Another important question: What if some countries in the region had gone to the end in their game of challenging Iran and its agents, and the withering regimes that are aligned with it, to prevent Iran from monopolizing the scene, especially in wake of the rhetoric of political Islam and the emergence of the likes of Hezbollah and Hamas? What then would have the region looked like? 

All these points call for pause and a moment of assessment, especially by those who look to Iran or political Islam, which at the very first sign of the weakening of the regime, the supreme leader is willing to negotiate over in the name of “religion and the revolution.” 

The supreme leader is not doing so out of his keenness on reform and development, which are the fundamentals of life, but in order to boost his authority and power and secure the stability of the mullah regime that has destroyed the lives of Iranians, the entire region and everyone who wants to emulate them.