Leaders of Iran's conservatives. FILE PHOTO

Leaders of Iran's conservatives. FILE PHOTO

Pundits Say Iran’s Conservatives Divided, Raisi Unlikely To Succeed

12/7/2021

Iran’s conservatives supporters Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, are divided like an archipelago with many small islands linked by loose bridges, a pundit has said.

Speaking in an interview with Khabar Online website, conservative analyst Hossein Kanani Moqaddam said every single one of those tiny islands has its own ruler.

Kanani Moqaddam, the political secretary of the Iranian conservative camp's Resilience Front also tried to define the conservative's status in Iran's politics by explaining that although they are in power, they lack coherence.

However, unlike Kanani Moqaddam, prominent conservative analyst Naser Imani has said that conservatives in Iran are better organized than the country's reformists, although both are more unpopular today as they have ever been.

Other analysts, including Tehran University academic Kiumars Ashtarian separates the traditional conservative camp from its newest wing that is nicknamed as "the revolutionary current." It consists of young hardliner conservatives in the Iranian parliament. According to Ashtarian, those who belong to this group are driven by their dreams and illusions, a characteristic that brings them under the general label of idealists.

However, Ashtarian believes that these young hardliners will be soon diverted to the main track of conservatism in Iran once they experience the reality of Iranian politics and come face to face with its barriers at the parliament.

Another non-traditional wing of Iran's conservative camp is known as the ultraconservative Paydari party, who are mostly former supporters and officials of ex-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Like many other observers, Kanani Moqaddam believes that Paydari always finds it difficult to be a team player. The party has been frequently accused of preventing coherence in the conservative camp by disrupting any balancing coalition at the last moment. This has been happening over and over in all parliamentary and presidential elections after the 2009 presidential election.

Asked to pass his judgment about the status of President Raisi and Ahmadinejad in the conservative camp, Kanani Moqaddam said Ahmadinejad has never been a conservative. He simply used Iran's conservatives as a ladder to climb the political structure and claim the President's seat. Once he made it to the presidency, he let down his conservative allies, Kanani Moqaddam said.

His judgment about Rouhani was different. According to Kanani Moqaddam, a former lawmaker said that Rouhani was a conservative who made it to the presidential palace by an alliance with Iran's reformists and moderates. However, according to Kanani Moqaddam, the main element that led to Rouhani's victory in the election was the bad record of President Ahmadinejad and his populist administration. The people did not want another president like Ahmadinejad, he said.

Meanwhile, Kanani Moqaddam added that Raisi's election as President has led to a fierce rivalry among conservative groups and further divided the conservative camp as every group tried to seize as much power and financial resources as they could.

On the likelihood of Raisi's success in the absence of non-conservative challengers in Iran's political landscape, Kanani Moqaddam opined that regardless of the situation Raisi is unlikely to be able to solve Iran's problems during the first four years of his presidency. However, he did not say what is likely to happen if few vote for him for a second term, or if Khamenei who engineered his victory in June 2021, concludes that Raisi should be replaced.

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