Iranian Cleric: ‘America’s Power Is in Decline’ on 40th Anniversary of Islamic Revolution

On Tuesday, Ayahtollah Ahmad Jannati was elected chairman of the Assembly of Experts, a powerful deliberative body charged with electing and removing Iran's Supreme Leader. Commenting on the election, Iranian political commentator Emad Abshenass spoke to Sputnik about the prospects for Jannati becoming the next Supreme Leader.
AFP/Behrouz Mehri

The 40th anniversary of Iran’s descent into radical Islamist tyranny was commemorated on Friday by hardline Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, who crowed that America’s “power is in decline” and it “cannot manage its own affairs now.”

“Even many of America’s allies don’t listen to it anymore and they are not afraid of it,” Jannati claimed from the mausoleum of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, architect of the Islamic revolution.

Jannati claimed America is suffering from widespread starvation, which is actually the opposite of the food-related problem America has right now, but even fire-breathing ayatollahs cannot whip up frenzied hatred for an adversary nation by portraying its citizens as too well-fed.

Jannati somewhat undercut his message of a powerless and isolated America by simultaneously claiming the United States is crushing Iran with sanctions, blaming Washington instead of Tehran for every bit of the hardship felt by the Iranian people.

The ayatollah threw in a shot at the secular government of President Hassan Rouhani, essentially calling out Rouhani’s administration as wimpy for negotiating on Iran’s “right” to have nuclear weapons.

“Unfortunately, some of our officials believe that we cannot manage the country without America’s help. May such wrong thoughts be damned!” he cried.

Iran’s leadership most definitely thinks it cannot run the country without Europe’s help and they are getting it. Britain, France, and Germany chose the 40th anniversary of Khomeini’s grim revolution to launch a trade system designed to get European money to Tehran despite U.S. sanctions.

Jannati is not merely a cleric; he heads the Guardian Council, the Iranian religious body that decides who gets to run for office in the secular government. He will also have something to say about who becomes the next Supreme Leader, assuming he outlives the current theocratic ruler, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who is much younger than Jannati at a spry 79 but is thought to be in poor health and may have already died several times.

He has been the subject of what few jokes Iranians are allowed to make about their rulers due to his advanced age and seemingly endless tenure on the public stage. Such jibes include speculation that the nonagenarian ayatollah is a personal acquaintance of Adam and Eve, owns a copy of the Torah signed by Moses, witnessed the Big Bang firsthand, and remembers when dinosaurs walked the Earth.

Jannati has used his position on the Guardian Council to block meaningful reform on many occasions and constantly hectors Rouhani about the awful state of the Iranian economy. On the subject of starvation, last February he was moaning that Iranian citizens are so hungry that he feels bad about eating.

“People’s quality of life is terrible. Since I cannot do anything about their hardship, I do not want to elaborate on that, but, whenever I eat, I am disturbed because we have all the necessary means, while regular people cannot afford to buy food and suffer hunger,” he said.

“The government is accountable for the people’s living standard and their earnings. If we have failed to redress people’s grievances, they should also accept that we did our best, but failed,” Jannati lectured Rouhani in February 2018. One year later, he apparently decided it was much easier to blame America – that powerless and yet all-powerful enemy – for Iran’s travails.

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