A former reformist lawmaker says criticizing Iran’s current situation and telling the truth about the government might land him in jail as a man in his 70s.

Lashing out at the new generation of ultra conservatives who currently dominate the government and the parliament in Iran, Nasser Ghavami said in an interview with Didban Iran website: “They call themselves revolutionaries. But who are they revolting against? The People?”

Ghavami, a former member of the Iranian parliament’s legal committee suggested that those currently in power in Iran have already started a revolution against the poor people of Iran. Addressing the “revolutionaries,” Ghavami said: “Wake up! The revolution is over!”

After years of a declining economy, a recent government decision to stop subsidizing food imports has led to a sudden rise in prices, impoverishing millions of people.

As inflation, estimated at more than 40 percent last year kept climbing in 2022, many current and former politicians began criticizing the government’s performance.

The cleric-politician told the website: “If I begin to tell you about the root-cause of Iran’s current chronic problems, neither I am brave enough to tell you all there is, nor you are allowed to publish it. Talking about the causes of country’s economic problems is a security issue and the government’s treatment of its critics is violent.”

The funeral of a protester killed earlier this week. May 18, 2022

Ghavami added, it is natural that some leaders even in the United States fail to meet all the promises they make during their election campaigns, but if a reporter writes about President Ebrahim Raisi’s broken promises, he or she might find himself in jail like many others. He added that “We cannot tell the truth about the government’s performance as long as people get arrested without any prior notice and no one knows where they are kept.”

Ghavami was probably referring to the detention of Kayvan Samimi, the editor of Iran Farda magazine who was arrested on Wednesday, May 18. Samimi was released from jail recently, but his new detention came after a new interview.

Ghavami explained: “Activists and reporters know about the problems and their causes, but they often cannot say anything because they fear detention and torture.”

Ghavami claimed that Raisi wishes to solve the problems but individuals such as his Vice President Mohammad Mokhber obstruct any solution. “Why they do not say what are they doing with the oil revenues while they say they are selling oil at $100 per barrel?” he asked.

Speaking about recent protests, Ghavami tried not to appear as a rabble-rouser, saying that “not all problems can be solved by taking to the streets.”

He also suggested, like many other critics, that “Iran should maintain acceptable relations with other countries if problems are to be solved.”

Other Iranian politicians, including former Vice President Mostafa Hashemitaba have also been criticizing the government’s economic policies as protests have taken place in many provinces. Hashemitaba said in an interview published on Thursday that a major economic plan such as doing away with food subsidies “should not have been implemented before seeking the people’s views.”

Meanwhile, he criticized the government for cutting off Internet access as a way of controlling the protests to rising prices. He also lashed out at the government for preventing freedom of speech.

Hashemitaba went on to say that instead of seeking public approval for its policies, “the Raisi administration’s actions and words were uncoordinated and wrong news dissemination at times leads to chaos and unrest.”

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