A reformist figure in Iran says the government has no will to communicate with the people amid a full-fledged crisis, which increases public dissatisfaction and anger.
While Iran has been overwhelmed by street protests for more than five months, Ahmad Khorram, a cabinet minister in the late 1990s and early 2000's reformist government said in an interview with moderate news website Rouydad24 that Iranian officials are reluctant to listen to the people as they have lost their sensitivity to their expectations.
Pointing out that the use of violence is the government's first and often only response to people's demands and protests, Khorram said that violent approaches have not worked elsewhere in the world, and they will not work in Iran either.
He observed that what is happening today is extremely different from what was meant to happen after the 1979 revolution. He said the government responds with insult and violence to anyone asking why this has happened. This approach, Khorram said, has eroded people's trust in the government.
The turnout in the latest elections in Tehran was around 26 percent, Khorram observed, adding that the government's own opinion polls show that its popularity has plummeted to less than 20 percent in recent months.
Ahmad Khorram, a cabinet minister in the late 1990s and early 2000's reformist government
Critics say that amid sanctions and economic hardship, the regime decided that loyal hardliners should take over the parliament in 2020, and then using its veto power over candidates, arranged for an ill-prepared hardliner become president in 2021.
He said that inquiries by reformists during a meeting with the country's top officials has revealed that they are aware of the crisis, but they are reluctant to address it properly and that they have no plans to tackle the existing dissent.
Earlier, former diplomat Jalal Sadatian had said that the government routinely resorts to violence instead of relying on its social capital. As a result, the unity and coherence of the Iranian society has been lost, he said.
Sadatian suggested that the "sources of emulation," or Iran's highest ranking Shiite clerics should try to hold meetings with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and communicate people's demands to him. The suggestion by Sadatian, a pragmatist politician, indicates that Khamenei has lost touch with realities on the ground and as it was evident in his latest meeting with officials on February 18, he is under the illusion that the regime enjoys tremendous support.
Meanwhile, Sadatian charged that the government has failed to understand why recent protests have taken place. He argued that economic and social demands have been the main driving forces behind the protests. However, inefficient management, wrong decisions, and insisting on non-democratic political processes have also played major parts in the situation that led to Iran's biggest nationwide protests in 44 years.
Former diplomat Jalal Sadatian
Sadatian added that embezzlement, corruption and ignoring people's dire financial situation were among other factors that led Iranians to take to the streets in protest. He added that giving key posts to incompetent officials has been one of the main reasons why this situation has occurred.
In such a situation holding a dialogue between the government and academics and experts can be helpful but the current all-conservative government in Iran ignores experts' views and therefore, cannot find a way out of the crisis.
Sadatian said that the situation is so critical that some embassies in Tehran have called on foreign nationals to leave the country because the diplomats are concerned about their safety and well-being, "but it is doubtful if I can tell you about the real reasons for that or if you can publish it if I talk about them!"