Al-Monitor – In a three-hour meeting with Iranian students May 28, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei criticized those inside the country who “infuse despair and hopelessness into society.”
Khameini said, “Some people ask, ‘Why does the [supreme] leader blame all of the problems on the evil US and UK?’ This is a wrong interpretation, because I believe most of the problems are domestic and internal, which, of course, the enemy exploits.”
Speaking of the current image of the Islamic Republic among Iranians, Khamenei said, “If the widespread and massive anti-revolution offensive on public opinion doesn’t face the students and others to respond to them rightly, the country and the political establishment will surely be harmed.”
He then addressed the students, saying, “The establishment is amid a great campaign and you, being in the center of this all-out campaign, must sense and understand this confrontation, and by understanding the opposite side, know your revolutionary duties and implement them.”
He continued, “Those who infuse despair and hopelessness into society may not be the enemy, but their actions are the actions of the enemy.”
During the meeting, Sahar Mehrabi, a student and a member of the central committee that oversees the journals of the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology, stood before Khamenei and criticized the current situation in Iran, asking him to be held accountable in his position and calling on him to reform and democratize the country’s political system.
Ayatollah Khamenei replied, “I am informed about the matters of our country and receive reports. I believe we have moved forward in every goal I named. To the young person who says our situation is very bad, I understand their feelings, but not at all their words.” He added, “The future of our country, which is in the hands of you, the young people who are criticizing our situation today, will be a bright future.”
With regard to the performance of officials whom Khamenei has appointed, he said, “The management of some institutions, such as the armed forces, rests with the [supreme] leader; however, in the case of the judiciary and the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), their management does not lie with the leader, although their heads are designated by the leader and, for example, as with the IRIB, whether under its current management or previous managements, I had and always have a critical stance on various issues.”
In other news, a number of Iranian artists have turned down President Hassan Rouhani’s invitation to attend an iftar, the evening fast-breaking meal of Ramadan. Though most of the artists supported Rouhani during the 2017 presidential election, they are now complaining about the country’s economic situation.
Iranian actor Parviz Parastouei wrote on his Instagram May 28: “Given the poor economic and mental condition of our people, I believe that such gatherings (which are not few and which require the spending of a lot of [money]), may not be necessary.”
However, he implied that he didn’t regret voting for Rouhani. “If you were not president, this [social media network which I use] to express [my] opinions would perhaps have been filtered, and this … is the result of voting for you. We understand this and we are thankful for it, but you [should] also understand us.”
Government spokesman Mohammad Bagher Nobakht reacted to the artists’ protests, saying May 29, “We have done our best to solve the problems. We are working hard to [improve the economic condition of the people]. If [the artists] tell us what to do, we will do it. Was the [economic situation] of people [better] last year when they supported [Rouhani for re-election]?”