Hailing US Withdrawal From Syria as ‘Victory for Resistance,’ Top Iranian Cleric Boasts He Can Hear ‘Breaking of the Bones of Liberal Democracy’
As the Iranian regime faces increased pressure from international sanctions and domestic discontent, a senior government cleric on Friday delivered a fiery sermon in which he declared that he could hear “the sound of the breaking bones of liberal democracy.”
Ayatollah Seyed Ahmad Khatami’s verbal assault on Western values came as led Friday prayers in Tehran. A leading member of the powerful “Assembly of Experts” — a group personally selected by “Supreme Leader” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei — Khatami is one of the regime’s most well-known ideological hardliners, who in 2009 urged that participants in that year’s mass pro-democracy protests be punished.
“Western liberal democracy is on the verge of collapse,” Khatami announced as he addressed the recent social unrest in France.
“As Eastern social democracy (communism) fell, the sound of breaking of the bones of Western liberal democracy is well audible,” the Islamist cleric continued.
Khatami’s sermon was timed to coincide with an occasion that Iran’s leaders call, in totalitarian style, the “Day 9 Epic” — the Dec. 30, 2009 marches organized by the government to counter the pro-democracy movement, following several days of protests in Tehran and other cities in which more than 70 people were killed by the regime’s Basij militia and other security forces.
Khatami said that “Day 9 Epic came thanks to allegiance with the leadership, presence and insight of the public,” in remarks reported by IRNA, an official mouthpiece of the Iranian regime.
Former US President Barack Obama, the “Zionist regime” and the “anti-Islamic revolution” had all been defeated, Khatami boasted. “In the Epic, you showed well that you are close to the nation because you recognize the enemy and find the way of confrontation on time,” Khatami said.
Khatami also used the occasion to portray current US President Donald Trump’s widely-criticized decision to withdraw 2,000 US troops in Syria as a victory for Iran.
“All those who once upon a time announced their rejection of the Syrian President Basher al-Assad now say they have abandoned the policy,” Khatami observed of the US and several Arab states. “This means resistance has been effective.”
Separately on Friday, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi welcomed the Syrian Army’s entry into Manbij — a city close to the Turkish border that has been held by the Kurdish YPG units from whom the US has now withdrawn support.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran highlights the need to respect Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and considers the raising of Syria’s national flag in the city of Manbij an important step toward the establishment of the legitimate rule of Syrian government over the entire country, as well as a new step toward solving the crisis in this country,” Ghasemi said.
Alongside Russia and Hezbollah, Iran’s Lebanese Shi’a terrorist proxy, Tehran has provided enormous military and political support to Syrian President Bashar Assad’s dictatorship. Iran’s military penetration of the countries to its west — Iraq, Syria and Lebanon — mean that the Islamic Republic is establishing a land corridor to the Mediterranean Sea, close to Israel’s northern border.