A prominent commentator says the Iranian uprising is a fire under the ashes that can flare up any moment for any reason and create even a more massive movement.

In an interview with reformist daily Etemad, centrist academic Sadegh Zibakalam also warned the government about its annoying treatment of women and young Iranians. It would be wrong to go back to repressive policies the government followed prior to the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, which led to the country's biggest uprising since mid-September.

Zibakalam added that some Iranian officials deny the crisis in Iran and believe that protests were created by foreigners, but it is over now. However, he warned that the reasons for the uprising are still there, and future protests could be even more widespread.

The outspoken pundit said if there is no change in Iran and the government continues its repressive policies, there are reasons to be worried about the future of the regime. The people's demand for regime change is an outcome of disillusionment and despair and lack of hope in reforms, he argued.

After four months of unrest, protesters are more determined that the clerical regime should go and a secular, democratic political system must replace it.

Prominent commentator and academic Sadegh Zibakalam

Zibakalam said that university students were the driving force behind the protests. It looks like there is a slowdown in protests only because the universities are currently closed for exams and because because of enormous government pressure. But this does not mean the protests have receded.

The academic said that during the past 43 years, the student Basij was created to stop Iran's student movement, but not only the Basij has not been successful, the student movement has gained more power and momentum year after year.

Criticizing the consolidation of conservative's control over Iran in the 2021 presidential election by barring others from running, Zibakalam said you cannot control 80 million Iranians by one or two million radical revolutionaries.

Meanwhile, reformist lawmaker Massoud Pezeshkian criticized his colleagues at the Iranian Parliament (Majles) for chanting slogans such as death to this or that country instead of trying to correct the state of affairs in Iran. "We need to tolerate others and work and collaborate with the world," he said adding that "we need to create solidarity inside Iran."

A critique of hardliners, lawmaker Massoud Pezeshkian

"When you say death to this or that country, they will also say death to you," Pezeshkian quipped.

Referring to some officials' radical threats against other nations during the past week, the lawmaker from Tabriz, criticized the government for doing away with experts in the government and giving big jobs to incapable people with no experience or knowledge. The failure of government policies is the outcome of our choice of managers and officials, he said.

Pezeshkian then asked whether the government can replace some officials and appoint new ones. "This cannot be done. This government is basically incapable of solving the country's current problems," he said.

Levelling similar accusations against the government, conservative politician Hedayatollah Khademi told Nameh News that President Ebrahim Raisi needs to replace some of his ministers in order to save himself. "There is no reason for him to continue working with these inefficient individuals who are the subject of many jokes among citizens. All cabinet members must be changed," he said, adding that "Iran is the only country in the world whose foreign minister and nuclear negotiators cannot speak English."

Khademi also criticized the parliament for failing to supervise the government's performance. He charged that most lawmakers are currently working on their re-election or if they have no hope, they are appeasing the government to make sure that they will get a job after they finish their term in the parliament.

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