Iranian journalist Mehdi Nasiri, who is the former editor-in-chief of Kayhan daily, was very critical of the Iranian regime on a January 11, 2024 debate on Didar News (Iran), predicting that "it would be a miracle" if the regime lasted more than five years. He said that Iran serves as a cash cow for Russia, China, Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria, investing hundreds of millions of dollars in weapons and building tunnels in Gaza, so there is no money left to treat cancer patients in Iran. Nasiri further stated that Iran's "catastrophe" has been its foreign policy, its anti-Americanism and anti-Western policy led by Supreme Leader Khamenei. Regarding the war in Gaza, Nasiri said that Hamas started it by launching a "barbaric attack against Israeli civilians," which was reckless and unwise, and it gave Israel a pretext to retaliate against it. He said that Iran was the only country where anti-Israel sentiment is not welcomed by the public, and in fact, 10,000 people couldn't even be gathered in Tehran for a rally supporting the Palestinians. Nasiri said that a Hamas victory would only increase the pressure of the regime on the people, which he likened to a monster with its boot on the public's neck.
Mehdi Nasiri: "The [Iranian regime] called Saudi Arabia a 'cash cow.' But who is the cash cow? Saudi Arabia or us? We are a cash cow for Russia, China, Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria. We take the wealth of our country and invest billions of dollars there. Billions of dollars! We invested hundreds of millions of dollars in weapons and in building tunnels in Gaza, and then, when [Iranian] cancer patients need to get their medicine, we say that it is not in our budget, that we don't have money for it.
"Today, it is clear that this country's greatest catastrophe is our foreign policy, our anti-Americanism, our anti-Western policy, and our regional policy, which has brought devastation upon us. Who is responsible for all this, if not the Leader?
"Iran has built five or six armies in the region: The PMU in Iraq, an army in Syria, an army in Yemen, Hizbullah in Lebanon, and two armies for the 2.5 million people of Gaza – Hamas and the Islamic Jihad. These two separate armies with separate bank accounts, where money is independently deposited, in addition to the weapons sent to these armies.
"Obviously, we know that the people of Hamas are the ones who started this, by launching a barbaric attack against Israeli civilians, and in return, the Israelis retaliated against Hamas, with the utmost cruelty and violence. My colleague is right. In America, in Europe, and in various places, there have been huge demonstrations. Interestingly enough, the Iranian broadcasting corporation is proudly airing these demonstrations to show that the public in the world opposes Israel, but it fails to mention that in those countries there is freedom, and there are demonstrations there with tens of thousands of participants, and even 100,000 people. On the other hand, your [regime] here never allows the public to take to the street and express opposing views. But let's leave that aside. This is true. However, the only place where [the public] has not welcomed this anti-Israeli sentiment is the Islamic Republic, where, for 44 years, these slogans were chanted and much effort has been invested in this.
"In Tehran, they could not gather even 10,000 people to support Palestine. I believe that the Iranian public has understood the situation full well. How has the Iranian public analysed the situation? The Iranian public says that for years, a regime, a bully, a monster has placed its boot on our necks, and it applies different kinds of pressure, causing us to suffocate.
"Now, some war broke out somewhere, and you expect it to distract us from the monster with its boot on our necks, and that we support Hamas, so that Hamas's victory would strengthen the monster, and would allow it to increase the pressure of its boot on our necks. This is why the approach and response of the Iranian public has been very wise.
"With regard to Hamas, I insist that this was a reckless and unwise attack...
Other speaker: "This you may say, but you cannot call it 'barbaric'..."
Mehdi Nasiri: "It was barbaric in the sense that you attacked civilians, took children, babies, and old men hostage, thus giving Israel the pretext to retaliate in a barbaric way..."
Other speaker: "Now, it's okay. A barbaric attack by Israel."
Mehdi Nasiri: "Right, and to this day, Israel relies on [Hamas's] initial wrongdoing. It is pounding on Hamas and on Gaza, while Hamas's supporters are praying for it from outside.
"As an analyst, I say that it would be a miracle if the Islamic Republic survives for five years. I am also saying as an analyst that I am worried this might happen earlier, before our opposition is ready."