Some officials, including former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, are seemingly pressured in Iran to echo Ali Khamenei’s support and praise for Hamas’ attack on Israel.

Faraz Daily, an online newspaper reminded readers that Ahmadinejad used to deny the Holocaust and asked why he has been “silent in the face of Israel’s crimes in Gaza” more than one week after Hamas’s bloody attack.

The former president was in Guatemala during the past week to take part in a conference about water resources. However, he came back to Tehran on Saturday evening. Faraz Daily asked whether Ahmadinejad is afraid of taking an anti-Israeli stance under current circumstances, or he does not want to harm his popularity ahead of the upcoming parliamentary elections.

The reason for Ahmadinejad and others, including former hardline nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili and their like-minded ultraconservatives in the Paydari Party, who have been criticized by the publication, is that these political figures may only echo Khamenei’s praise and support for Hamas’s atrocity and come under pressure from the Iranian public opinion that overwhelmingly supports Israel as it is evident from their social media posts, or risk being demonized and even prosecuted by Khamenei’s hardline supporters.

The reason Ahmadinejad, along with others like former hardline nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili and their fellow ultraconservatives in the Paydari Party, have avoided to speak out is because if they do, they would be compelled to echo Khamenei’s praise and support for Hamas’s actions. However, the Iranian public opinion largely supports Israel, and they are caught between a rock and a hard place.

During the past week, former Reformist President Mohammad Khatami and former Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in social media posts and press interviews supported Khamenei’s positions and immediately came under fire by the public for sympathizing with Hamas.

However, Faraz daily noted that although the state television in Iran, which is the closest media outlet to Khamenei, reflected Khatami and Zarif’s opinions about Hamas, it continued its usual criticism of both Reformist figures. Khamenei’s hardliner loyalists do not miss an opportunity to attack anyone who might be slightly independent of the ruler’s rhetoric and confrontational policies.

The media coverage of Ahmadinejad and Jalili’s silence may be an attempt by Iran’s hardliners to pressure them and their like-minded politicians into expressing support for Khamenei. Since the 2022 protests, political backing for Khamenei has mainly come from staunch hardliners who support him, expecting his favor in return.

Former Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani also attempted to remain non-committal. He posted a typically equivocal tweet that was apparently about the war in Israel but didn’t explicitly express support for Khamenei pro-Hamas rhetoric. Later, he deleted the tweet and shared an audio message on X, which was equally vague and did not provide the clear support for Khamenei that hardliners desired.

Centrist daily Sazandegi on Saturday criticized Ahmadinejad and Jalili as well Iranian Nobel laureates Shirin Ebadi (2003) and Narges Mohammadi (2023) for their silence about Gaza. However, the daily did not say why the members of Executives of Sazandegi Party, to which the newspaper belongs, have not been openly taking a stance on the Gaza war and why those mentioned in the article need to rush to express their opinion.

The purpose of the newspaper for attacking these individuals was possibly to show its loyalty to Khamenei in a bid to secure his approval for the candidacy of its affiliated party members in the upcoming March parliamentary elections.

Source » iranintl