The recent exposure by CBN News of an Iranian propaganda film has caused friction within the Iranian regime.
According to the video, titled "The Coming Is Near," the current unrest in the Middle East is a divine signal that Iran will soon help usher in the end of days and the return of their messiah, also known as the Twelfth Imam or Mahdi.
The video labels Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei as the mythical figure who will pave the way for the Mahdi's return. It was never intended to be seen by a Western audience and now officials within the Iranian regime are in damage control mode.
Iranian state media reports say the producer of the film was arrested after revealing that Khamenei and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had approved the film.
In addition, some Iranian observers say the recent firing of Ahmadinejad's chief of staff came after he was linked to the film's production.
"Those opposing Ahmadenijad are using this to attack him. And then other radicals are also saying that 'Now, our ideology has been seen by the West and it's embarrassing the Islamic Republic,'" said Reza Kahlili, a former member of Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps who provided the propaganda film to CBN News.
In his book, A Time to Betray, Kahlili details his years spent working as a CIA double agent inside the Islamic regime.
He told CBN News that despite the bad publicity around the film, "Ahmadinejad and others are defending it. And actually, there's been an official, public statement from the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei's representative in the Revolutionary Guard that verified his position."
That position -- that Khamenei is the Mahdi's deputy on earth -- is gaining traction among important players in the Iranian political and religious establishment, including leaders of Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guards Corps.
One top cleric even said recently on state television that Khamenei was no ordinary baby and that the Supreme Leader called out the name of a revered Shiite holy figure when he was born.
Another prominent ayatollah, Mesbah Yazdi, is one of Iran's leading advocates of Islamic end times ideology, which says that the Mahdi will return to slaughter all non-Muslims and establish a global Islamic empire.
Kahlili says Yazdi, who is a mentor to Ahmadinejad, has given Khamenei his apocalyptic stamp of approval.
"Yazdi also stated that Khamenei ascends to the sky every year for five hours, meeting with Imam Mahdi," Kahlili told CBN News. "So they are defending the Supreme Leader's position as a saint, as a prophet, as the one who is going to pass the flag of Islam to Imam Mahdi."
Judging by its recent statements and actions, the Iranian government believes that day is coming very soon.