A top adviser to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei says the Islamic Republic establishment is still undefeated but has taken a hit from the protest movement.
Rasool Sanaei-Rad said during a TV show on Saturday, “We must accept the differences and open a space for dialogue through free-thinking platforms… but in the first step, our actions must be aimed at quelling riots.”
He divided opposition into “domestic” and “foreign” and said the establishment must have self-restraint in dealing with those opponents who did not serve foreign interests.
He added that the Islamic Republic is “flexible” with the domestic opposition because they are like “our children.”
“Today we are dealing with a multi-dimensional and multi-faceted social phenomenon … we have overlooked the excessive use of cyberspace by youth and teenagers during the COVID pandemic,” claimed the deputy commander-in-chief of the Office of Political Ideology.
The Bureau of Political Ideology is part of Khamenei’s expansive office and is responsible for the “policy making, coordination, inspection and oversight of the affairs and duties of the Deputy Supreme Leader of the Iranian Armed Forces”. The head of the office, appointed by the Supreme Leader, is currently a mid-level cleric, Ali Saeedi, Khamenei’s former representative in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
Sanaei-Rad’s claim of “restraint and flexibility” comes as the Oslo-based Iranian human rights organization has reported that at least 304 people, including 41 children and 24 women, have been killed by government forces over the past 50 days of protests.