Analysis conducted by the “Asra think-tank” over the Iranian society’s current situation after the coronavirus outbreak
Written by Amir Taghati
An analysis by a think-tank of Khamenei’s faction
On March 14, the state-run Mizan daily, which is affiliated with the Iranian regime’s judiciary, published an analysis conducted by the “Asra think-tank” over the Iranian society’s current situation after the coronavirus outbreak, titled “Coronavirus and confrontation at several fronts.”
The Asra think tank is affiliated with the Iranian regime’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei. Those who collaborated on this analysis are all regime loyalists, including Abas-Ali Kadkhodai, the Guardian Council’s spokesperson, and Mehrdad Bazrpash, a theoretician of the supreme leader’s faction. This analytical report clearly demonstrates the extent of the coronavirus outbreak and the regime’s increasing fear of a popular uprising due to its cover-up and failure in managing the crisis.
Summary of the important points that the report points to:
The coronavirus crisis should be seen within the frame of the current year. Last year was a special year within the last four decades, created from a chain of crises, one following another. Crises which continue.
The coronavirus crisis, in line with previous crises, could be considered as a “Series of threats to [the regime’s] security and stability” that could ultimately result in “dangerous rebellions.”
One of the topics the report refers to is the Iranian people’s absolute distrust of the regime’s state media and the information they publish. The report highlights that the Iranian people rely on social media and the news agencies abroad to get real information.
In this regard, it quotes some opinions, analyses and positions by opposition groups and Farsi-speaking radios. This includes the regime’s cover-up, its inefficiency, people distrust of the regime, the infighting between ruling factions, the need to rise against the regime, Khamenei is the main source of problems, etc. and finally the only solution is regime change.
The main purpose of this report is to answer, “whether the current trend will lead to [the regime’s] instability and rebellion?” the report, while recounting some indications of rebellions within the last few days, the chain of the events in the last year, particularly the nationwide Iran protests in November, adds that during the current coronavirus crisis there have been several aggravation factors.
In its conclusion, the report highlights the possibility of a nationwide uprising, foretelling that due to the regime’s hoarding which has resulted in the shortage of medication and preventive measures against the coronavirus, people will attack and loot pharmacies and stores. The coronavirus epidemic in Iran, the nationwide shortage of facilities and lack of a centralized crisis management could turn local riots into nationwide uprisings.
The report refers to maximizing the level of security in the society and leaving all in the hands of military forces for oppression as the only solution to counter a popular uprising. But the question is: will oppression work this time?
Some parts of the report are as follows:
The coronavirus epidemic across Iran has become the acuter crisis in the last month of 1398 [Persian year]. This report aims to: portray an image of the real and cyberspace situation regarding the country’s security, to identify the weaknesses and strengths of the country to deal with phenomena such as pandemics, the portrayal of a false image of the Islamic Republic’s approach in handling the coronavirus outbreak by the opposition network and anti-revolution medias, the level of public trust in the government, and the role of the security, intelligence, military and judiciary institutions in dealing with the coronavirus.
The coronavirus news wave, calling the city of Qom as its epicenter, from February 22, overshadowed the [parliamentary] elections; and became the top issue of the domestic and international medias, as well as other media platforms and the social medias, particularly by Iranian users.
Following the rebellions of 2016-2017, Iran [regime] faced various threats and conflicts in different forms and dimensions, including psychological, military, media, economic and political [crises]. Last year , due to its complexity and [the regime’s] conflicts and threats, was special within the last four decades. The tightening of the sanctions noose, conflicts in the Persian Gulf, the direct confrontation between the United States and Iran in military and terrorist dimension, the devastating floods at the beginning of the [Persian] new year, the continuation of the uncontrolled trend of hiking prices, fuel and political riots [the November Iran protests], the decrease of participation in the [sham parliamentary] elections and the coronavirus epidemic are some of the most important developments of the last year, that should be considered as chains in the [regime’s] security and stability. Because each of these developments will affect the future developments and shouldn’t be analyzed as if the new crisis will bury the old ones.
The opposition and anti-revolution medias continue to discuss, in a routine, the country’s instability, lack of crisis management, the state and government’s inefficiency, cover-up, public outrage etc. Real situations along with the attacks, domestic and international criticism have created a situation within the last few months to accuse the government and the state of cover-up, inefficiency, politicalizing matters and war over more share of power.
The domestic medias, such as the official medias including the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) have lost their credibility among a vast part of the middle-class citizens with the possibility of having access to other news sources. Will the current trend lead to instability and riot? There have been some reports of clashes [between people and regime’s forces] in some parts of the country. Torching a hospital in Bandar-e Abbas and locals creating blockades in northern cities have also been reported. The assessment of the opponents and anti-revolution medias’ positions confirms this truth that they consider the coronavirus outbreak as a good opportunity to damage Iran [regime’]s stability and security. In addition, western governments, including the U.S., accuse the Islamic Republic, at several stages of cover-up and insufficiency.
Some risks and threats against security and stability are:
1= the increasing of public distrusts to the Islamic Republic: The trend over the past year shows that heavy investment has been made amid tensions between people and the government. The poor performance of the government and the executive, legislative and judicial institutions have provided the enemy with the necessary fuel of warmongering. Developments related to rising gas prices and related riots, Ukrainian airliner crash, conflicts with the United States and the government’s disregard for public opinion in the economic field have cast mistrust over the past years on the nature of the government’s ability to enforce stabilization policies has peaked. Enemies and their associated media interpret all institutions and forces within the overall system of the Islamic Republic and hold it responsible.
Disrupt the balance of the market and the health and food chain
… With the spread of the coronavirus to the whole country, the shortage of health and hospital equipment was quite evident, and widespread hoarding was taking place in these areas. This led to market turmoil and increased prices for these commodities. Rising prices and a shortage of goods in the coming months, and with the spread of the virus, could lead to looting of stores and stores as well as pharmacies.
Deregulation of official media
As the coronavirus outbreak continues, official media outlets across the country will fall out of favor with the media, and a small percentage will follow the coronavirus news.
Nationwide riots over inefficiency and lack of supplies of essential commodities
With a severe shortage of goods and commodities, there is a possibility of a rebellion. But whether there will be national uprisings against the regime, the extent of the people’s resilience to the crisis should be mentioned. Crossing the line of resilience and the lack of a centralized crisis management mechanism can turn local and regional uprisings into nationwide uprisings. Linking the corona crisis in Iran with past developments, including November 2019, creates a rebellion process.
What should we do?
Increasing the role of military entities such as the Army and the Revolutionary Corps in controlling the cities and regions affected by the virus can reduce the level of concern for the spread of the virus by assuring security management and overseeing the proper implementation of the restrictions and reducing the authority to manage the situation. Health and health care organizations.