Various public figures in Iran are calling on the government to overcome differences with the US, in a bid to revive the nuclear deal and see sanctions lifted.

Voices outside the government have emerged as several reports in the Iranian media say as the country faces its worst economic crisis ever, a large part of the Iranian population cannot make ends meet. Inflation is at least 50 percent and food prices have claimed even faster.

Former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in an interview with Al-An TV in the United Arab Emirates during his visit to that country last week, "both Iran and the United States have sustained losses during the past 40 years" because of the impasse in their relations, adding that "it is time now for Tehran and Washington to start a dialogue in this direction based on a fair framework."

Speaking also about the impasse in talks to revive the 2015 nuclear agreement, Ahmadinejad said that "the JCPOA was initially intended to solve existing problems between the two countries, but after several years not only it failed to achieve that, but it has led to more complication." Ahmadinejad acknowledged that "This means the agreement was not successful because it was not fair."

Former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad meeting provincial supporters in Fras in May 2021

"Six countries oppose Iran's nuclear activities and Iran has been holding talks with all of those six countries to reach a settlement. This means Iran will always be the loser because it has one vote against six votes by those countries," Ahmadinejad explained.

"So, what are Iran and those countries going to return to? I do not think any one of those seven parties would want to return to that agreement. The US side might want to return to the JCPOA, but what about the Iranian side," he asked.

However, Ahmadinejad concluded that "the nuclear issue is only a pretext. The differences between Iran and the United States are deeper than that. They have a bigger problem, which the JCPOA failed to solve. Wise men from both sides should sit together and solve that problem."

Meanwhile, Grand Ayatollah Lotfollah Safi Golpayegani, a former Guardian Council member who is said to be 104 years old and has at times offered ideas different from Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, has called for an end to Iran's isolation in the world and said in a meeting with Majles Speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf on Frida: "I am seriously concerned about the country's economic situation and the people's problems."

Grand Ayatollah Lotfollah Safi Golpayegani. File photo

The Grand Ayatollah suggested: "We should maintain relations with all the countries in the world. It is not good to be sulking with many other countries. In order to restore the rights of the people and put an end to the current situation which Iranians do not deserve, we should maintain relations with the world."

Meanwhile former Lawmaker and one of the leaders of Iran's reform camp, Mohammad Reza Khabbaz has said in a commentary published by reformist daily Arman on Thursday that "the people of Iran are waiting for a brave decision to be made by the government in order to solve difficulties people face."

Explaining the economic hardships Iranians are experiencing, Khabbaz said that although the problem is serious, it can still be solved with a surgical operation and the sooner this surgery is done, the less painful it will be. But if remained untreated, more serious and dangerous consequences will follow.

Khabbaz was in fact saying in his cryptic language that if the sanctions are not lifted and the country's economic problems continue to worsen hungry people will take to the streets and endanger the regime's existence. This is what several sociologists and economists have predicted throughout the year.

He said the government's problem is that it is consisting of a bunch of like-minded individuals, and everyone is supporting the government's approach. During the past week, many conservatives have criticized the Raisi Administration's inaction and indecision about restarting the negotiations for reviving the JCPOA.

Khabbaz suggested that the Raisi administration has only two options: waiting and seeing the gradual collapse of the country's economy or surrendering to a surgical operation by experts.

Reports published last week in Iran, including one in the proreform Fararu website said a typical government employee spends one-third of his or her salary to buy for a family's requirements for only a few days. Another report by Nemat Ahmadi, a prominent lawyer in Tehran, which was published in Arman on Thursday, listed the price of some staples and warned that Iran is headed toward a situation that happened during the 1918 famine which killed millions of Iranians.

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Chehreha - Series 9

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