Iranian hardliners demand the prosecution of a pro-reform politician for defending the terrorist designation of the Revolutionary Guard by the United States.

Lawmaker Mansour Haghighatpour said on Tuesday that Faezeh Hashemi has crossed the Islamic Republic's "red lines" and "trampled on the country's values and national interests. So much leniency emboldens people like her. I believe that the Islamic Republic must take appropriate punitive action against Faezeh Hashemi and discipline her," he said.

Hashemi is the daughter of former president Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani and a member of the Central Council of the pro-reform Kargozaran-e Sazandegi (Executives of Construction) Party.

Fars news agency affiliated with the Revolutionary Guard on Tuesday called Hashemi a "foot soldier" of the United States while another IRGC-affiliated media outlet, Javan newspaper dubbed her "flagrant" and criticized her party and the Rafsanjani clan for not officially renouncing her.

Hashemi had said during a discussion on the social media app Clubhouse on April 16 that removing the IRGC from the US list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) was not in Iran's interest.

An undated photo of Faezeh Hashemi in 2010s among supporters.

Hashemi had argued it is possible that certain factions in the IRGC may be intentionally taking actions to keep the whole entity on the US terrorist list. She cited IRGC's missile attack on Iraq's Kurdish regional capital of Erbil in March and criticized the Guards for boasting about the attack instead of keeping a profile as the country’s defender, posing no threat to others in the region.

She also said the IRGC is constantly broadening both the sphere and scope of its activities in Iran’s economy and politics, making it even harder to stick to its military role. “The only way for the IRGC to return to the barracks is to keep them on the [FTO] sanctions list,” she said.

This is not the first time in recent years that Hashemi has ventured into criticizing the Iranian regime’s core values or positions, espoused by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and his hardliner supporters. In January, she said the Islamic Republic was responsible in the killing half a million Syrians with its military intervention in the Syrian civil war.

Hardliner social media users have accused Hashemi of being a traitor to the country, while others including some anti-regime activists have said that her criticism of the regime could only be acceptable when she also admits her father's role in engineering the selection of Ali Khamenei as Supreme Leader in 1989, and later allowing the IRGC to assume an economic role.

Abdolreza Davari, one of former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's advisors and confidants said Hashemi was wrong to say the IRGC should not be delisted and considered her remarks "against national security" but defended her right to freedom of expression. "Why should she and her late father be subjected to so many threats, accusations, and abuse instead of her remarks being logically criticized?" Davari tweeted.

Faezeh Hashemi is perhaps the most controversial of Hashemi-Rafsanjani's five children and often targeted by hardliners for her candid criticism of the regime, compulsory hijab, and prosecution of followers of the banned Baha'i faith. She is also the former president of Women's Sports Federation and editor-in-chief of banned reformist Zan newspaper.

Hashemi has been prosecuted for her activities on several occasions and served two six-month prison sentences for "propaganda against the state" and similar charges in 2012 and 2017.

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