A prominent conservative figure has told the IRGC-linked Tasnim news that “Not all reformists are seditionists,” while criticizing the current government.

The calibre of the political figure and the media outlet that has interviewed him may be taken as a green light for Iran’s embattled reformists to actively take part in the 2024 parliamentary elections.

Conservatives loyal to Supreme Leaser Ali Khamenei coined the ‘seditionist’ label for those who protested Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s controversial re-election in 2009.

The comment by Expediency Council member Mohammad Javad Bahonar came one day after friends and foes lashed out at President Ebrahim Raisi for giving a misleading report at a news conference about his success in tackling inflation. He had said that his economic policy reduced last year’s 60 percent inflation rate to 35 percent.

Many critics, including government supporters reminded that same time last year the official annual inflation rate was around 42 percent, which remains almost the same despite claims of economic improvement.

Khamenei’s advice to Raisi this week to follow a better and more convincing propaganda method was obliquely referring to the President’s whitewashing of the failure of his economic team, after conservatives consolidated their power by taking over all three government branches and pushing aside ‘reformist’ politicians by barring them from elections.

Some reformists including former official and current political activist Ali Soufi were so disappointed by the situation marked by political barriers that they gave up running for any election. He said in his latest interview that “reformists no longer think of taking part in elections.”

Soufi complained that watchdogs including the conservative dominated Guardian Council that vets election candidates, tend to disqualify reformist figures and in such a situation competition is meaningless.

Pointing out the discriminatory situation Soufi said that while former president Hassan Rouhani had to submit the 2015 nuclear agreement for parliament’s approval, hardliners now say that their comrade, President Raisi does not need to do the same with the new nuclear deal. He pointed out that “the core of the Iranian pollical system simply does not trust anyone who is not a hardliner.”

“The system even did not tolerate Iranian and US foreign ministers walking together during the negotiations,” in 2015 he said. He also pointed out that many hardliners believe reformists are traitors only because they believe in dialogue and diplomatic relations. “Meanwhile, the Supreme Leader has said over and over that the West is not trustworthy,” Soufi noted, adding that some hardliners characterize reformists as pro-Western elements.

He also noted that Iran’s problem at the time being is that most Iranians, whether conservative, moderate or reformist, no longer trust the government and many evade the polls.

Nonetheless, the conservative figure Bahonar also criticized the current ultraconservative government “because many of their officials are not familiar with the way big jobs should be done.” He added that the government makes ad-hoc problematic decisions such as announcing pay raise for workers that they cannot afford.

Assessing Iran’s current political situation, Bahonar said that only less than 10 percent of Iranians are religious, revolutionary and follow the regime’s guidelines in every respect. He added that a lot of Iranians understand national interests and national security, but they are not interested in politics. They simply want to live. “I know many reformists who respect the Islamic revolution, the Islamic Republic and the Supreme Leader. Not all reformists are seditionists,” he reiterated.

Source » iranintl