Iran’s conservatives face a dilemma of how to deal with the failures of a government they brought to power and supported - criticize, defend or keep silent.
As a result, some come up with far-fetched conspiracy theories, as one ultraconservative politician said that inflation (at 55 percent) is a plot being directed from outside the country.
Hassan Beyadi, the secretary general of the ultraconservative political group Abadgaran Javan [Young Developers], told Etemad Online news website on July 22, that he has no doubt about "some Iranian gangs" cooperating with foreign-based circles that direct price increases in Iran.
The pro-government politician, however, did not offer any explanation about how he thinks prices could be manipulated from abroad.
The comment by Bayadi was in sharp contrast with a report on the government owned news agency ISNA that explained price rises in Iran are coordinated with President Ebrahim Raisi and endorsed by him before they are announced.
In a report about the government's pricing policy, ISNA, the Iranian Students News Agency quoted the chairman of the Organization Protecting the Rights of Consumers and Producers, Hossein Farhid Zadeh as saying that price increases are first confirmed by special offices at the Ministries of Industry and Agriculture as well as the government's Economic Commission and finally endorsed by President Ebrahim Raisi.
Meanwhile, in an interview with the conservative Nameh News website, Beyadi said that based on feedbacks people are not happy with the performance of the "revolutionary" government and the parliament.
Ultra-conservative politician Hassan Beyadi
Explaining Iranian conservatives' assessment of the two bodies' performance, Beyadi added that the executive and legislature lack coordination and fail to take interests of people into account. He argued that the divide between the people and the Iranian establishment is widening in a dangerous and warned that popular dissatisfaction is a threat to the country's security.
Beyadi whose political organization played a key part in bringing former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to power in 2005 and 2009, charged that solving people's problems is not the priority of any government ministries.
Beyadi said that not only the people no longer believe what the officials say, but they believe the opposite of official statements. He added that prices are rising in Iran because no government organization is controlling them.
Beyadi’s remarks are an example of unfounded statements Iranian politicians often make. Almost every economist argues Iran’s economy is too much controlled by the government and over-regulated.
Another conservative commentator, Mohammad Mohajeri told Etemad Online that even conservative politicians find it difficult to defend the government. He added that they so confused by the government's weakness they can neither defend, nor support it, or even keep silent.
Mohajeri explained: "Conservatives cannot defend the government because they know that its performance is not defendable, and the public will not accept such a defense. At the same time, they cannot criticize it because they are part of it and share the responsibility for the current situation. The third solution for them is to keep silent."
However, the public is not likely to accept silence as a response. Mohajeri noted, "As we get closer to the [2024 parliamentary] elections, the conservatives in the parliament will intensify their criticism of the government to garner the voters' support." He added: "The elections in 2020 and 2021 were extremelylow-turnout. If the government does not change its behavior, the next election in 2024 will be even more lackluster."