Hardliner Tehran paper attempts to silence Raisi’s reformist critics

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Ebrahim Raisi

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Mashregh News, an Iranian news website close to the Islamic Republic of Iran’s intelligence community, has accused several reformist commentators of trying to sow despair among Iranians about the prospects of President Ebrahim Raisi’s success.

In an August 10 article, Mashregh News has also charged that these commentators have contributed in the past to the emergence of the current situation in Iran, which is marked by economic crisis and popular distrust in the government.

Although the report has extensively cited the commentators’ remarks, it is difficult to be certain whether the report is not an attempt to intimidate and silence potential critics of Raisi in the months to come.

Mashregh News quoted reformist academic and political commentator Sadegh Zibakalam as having said: “I see little chance for Mr. Raisi. What is he going to do?” Referring to current power shortages, Zibakalam said: “When there is no budget, what is his energy minister going to do? What kind of a miracle can he do?”

The website quoted another reformist commentator Mohammad Reza Tajik, an adviser to former President Mohammad Khatami, as saying that “All Iranian administrations start their work with gestures of welcome and all of them leave office with a lot of complaints, and the Raisi administration will be no exception.”

“All Iranian administrations are transitory, impatient and have no happy ending,” Mashregh News quoted Tajik as having said.

Abbas Abdi, one of the former students who took US diplomats hostage in 1979, is another reformist journalist criticized by Mashregh News. The website quoting him as saying, “You do not see any hope or joy in the society as a transition of executive power takes place in Iran. A lot of people believe nothing is going to change and some even think the situation is going to get worse. We saw the same despair during the presidential election.”

“I want to tell Mr. Raisi and his colleagues and other principlists in Iran that the situation is not good at all to start a new administration. Of course, you chose to be in this position, and you have also promised things during your campaign that are not doable,” Abdi added.

Mostafa Hashemi Taba, a reformist figure and a presidential candidate in 2017, wrote in Etemad newspaper that “The new administration cannot change anything. Generally, not much is going t happen except talking about the problems,” and added, “Like previous governments’ the people are going to become nostalgic about previous governments. It was only under President Mohammad Khatami (1997-2005) that people did not experience that nostalgia.”

Meanwhile, reformist journalist and politician Mohammad Atrianfar said in an interview with reformist newspaper Sharq, “If nothing happens between Iran and world powers during the next six months [a reference to the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal and the lifting of US sanctions] after six months the same individuals who criticized Rouhani will praise his performance.”

Meanwhile, Mashregh also quoted political activist Mehdi Pazouki who wrote in reformist daily Arman that the nuclear deal prevented Iran from becoming another Venezuela. He warned that each day of delay in returning to the JCPOA will lead to a big loss for the nation.”

Mashregh news said that “all of these commentators supported Rouhani in the 2017 election,” and that “they should apologize for contributing to the country’s current problems rather than spreading despair in the society.

The website quoted President Raisi as saying, “We have plans even to tackle urgent and short-term problems and I want to promise to the nation that I have consulted experts and we shall strongly strive to solve the country’s urgent problems.”

Source » iranintl

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