A top aide to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has that “a number of opportunists” intend to wage a “political expedition” to empower “secular” movements in order to seize power in the country. However, Ahmad Alamolhoda, who is also Friday Prayer leader of Mashhad and Khamenei's representative to Khorasan-e Razavi Province, assured a large gathering of worshipers earlier today that the plot will not succeed. He further alleged that “foreigners” are trying to “organize and unite our infidels, and through  non-religious people in our country and the secular movement, set up an anti-regime movement so that they can harm the regime or topple it.” He added that some “opportunists and power seekers” inside the country have also concluded that they can only come to power through joining the secular movement.

Comment: The senior Iranian cleric did not specify as to which political faction is empowering the “secular movement” in Iran. But he has in the past mentioned that these groups are trying to promote “prostitution and depravity in the name of love, freedom, enjoyment and youth happiness.” The term “political expedition” was also used by Khamenei during the anti-regime protests that rocked Iran after the disputed 2009 presidential elections.  

As Iran is posed to hold the next presidential elections in May, Iranian clerics and military leaders appear to be more worried about the threat of another revolt against the regime than any external military threats. As a result, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (I.R.G.C.) and the Intelligence Ministry have launched a widespread crackdown on political activists and journalists in recent months. According to reports in the Iranian reformist media, I.R.G.C. agents have arrested more than a dozen social media activists in the past one week alone.