Both supporters and opponents have criticized Iran’s embattled Reform Front for a statement it issued this week presenting its position over current protests.
While critics from within the reform camp took issue with the slow reaction of the group and minimal demands, Iran’s conservatives lashed out at reformists for not criticizing foreign countries for their alleged support of the uprising. Others slammed the Reform Front for being part and parcel of the authoritarian regime in Tehran and its partner in crimes against human rights and dignity of Iranians.
The November 9 statement said that "the protests are the outcome of many years of denial of the people's problems [by the government] and refusal to recognize them, as well as being the product of accrued and unsolved issues, such as humiliation and suppression of the people. It added that many statements by officials, including the joint statement by the Iranian intelligence agencies [threatening protesters] are in fact part of the problem, and not part of a solution for the country's political deadlock."
Former reformist lawmaker Parvaneh Salahshuri quoted a part of the statement that said "The reform front is prepared to hold dialogue and exchange views with the government" on finding a solution for the country's current problems. Possibly referring to the isolation imposed on the reformists by the core of the regime and their lack of popularity among the people, Salahshuri asked: "Is the reform front aware of its status among the people and in the government?"
Former member of parliament and a reformist politician Parvaneh Salahshuri
Iranian voters seem to have turned their back to reformists for their poor performance at the previous parliament and as part of the previous administration.
Political activist and influencer Mohammad Hassan Karimi wrote: "The reformists' statement will have very little if any impact on what is going on in Iran. The reform leaders' ideas are based on surrendering to and glorifying the absolute despotic rule of one individual, the Guardian Council's discretionary supervision of political processes and the military's increasing domination in the country...This could have been good one day, but not now!"
Meanwhile, the Revolutionary Guard’s (IRGC) daily newspaper Javan lashed out at the Reform Front in a commentary and called it repetitive and and an attempt to blame the government for their own problems. Javan also criticized the group "for its silence during the past 50 days and for not distancing itself from the rioters, and for taking advantage of the demands made during the protests by trying to usurp them."
Meanwhile, many social media users criticized the statement and described it as a desperate attempt by reformists to beg a share of political power from hardliners. In its two final paragraphs, the statement, which supported the government's position on the protests and criticized foreign governments' support for protesters, it offered to help the government: "We on our part would like to suggest practical ways out from the crisis and discuss if the government is inclined to listen to them and implement them."
Many twitter users have particularly attacked this part of the statement. Some Twitter users called this part the statement's main shortcoming. One Twitter user wrote that is one step ahead of the individual statements made by some reformist leaders, but at the same time, it is hundreds of steps behind the people's demands. The user also pointed out that it is not clear who the statement is addressing, and what is the reformists' next step if the government refuses to accept their way out of the crisis.