A session of the Iranian parliament

Criticisms, Infighting Tarnish Iran Parliament’s Anniversary

Monday, 06/05/2023

While the Islamic Republic’s parliament this week skipped marking the anniversary of its foundation, lawmakers continued their factional infighting in the media.

Mohammad Mohajeri, a conservative politician and a critic of the current all-conservative political establishment in Iran, wrote in a letter to parliamentary speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf: “Your criticism of the government stinks. It smells like an election campaign.” 

Mohajeri was referring to Ghalibaf’s statement on Tuesday night in the Northern Khorasan Province in which he criticised President Ebrahim Raisi administration, saying, “The way the country is being run and managed is wrong.” Ghalibaf further accused the Raisi administration of wasting $104 billion a year because of mismanagement. However, he did not explain where he got the figure from. 

Some observers commented that $104 is an exaggerated number, given that its twice the country’s annual budget and four times its annual oil export income.

Mohammad Mohajeri, a conservative politician

But Ghalibaf probably tried to jump on the bandwagon of criticism, as different factions and political institutions blame each other for the current economic mess.

The parliament speaker also faces uncertainty eight months before a new election.

Mohajeri further pointed out that had a media commentator said what you stated, he would have been sent to the court for “disturbing the public opinion and levelling accusations against the government.” He would even have been accused of speaking for the enemy, Mohajeri added. 

Mohajeri added: “For citizens who cannot afford buying fruits for their visiting grandchildren, $104 billion is a huge figure. They will divide it into 85 million (Iranian population) and will find out that the country’s managers have inflicted a loss of 1,223 dollars per Iranian. With that money an ordinary Iranian would have managed to buy fruits and many other things.”

“You probably know who the officials are who have wasted all that money. Why don’t you name a few of them? Are they at the parliament or in the government? And what about you? If you are one of them, why are you still in power? Do you want to waste another $104 billion next year?” Asked Mohajeri. 

Mohajeri added that “the members of the government keep saying on the state TV that they are the cleanest state officials in the world. If what you said is not part of your election campaign, are you brave enough to name at least one government official” who has wasted money?

Ghalibaf had said in his speech Tuesday night: “We waste $104 billion and then we beg a foreign company to come to Iran and invest only $4 billion in our oil industry. How can we explain this to coming generations?”

Meanwhile, in a statement issued to mark the anniversary of the Islamic Republic’s Parliament (Majles) the reformist National Trust Party said: “We should pay attention to the fact that Iranians have turned their backs to the polls in the last two elections (Majles election in 2020 and presidential election in 2021). We should not remain indifferent to that”.

The statement added: “The government needs to acknowledge its mistakes and make up for what it has done wrong and try to rebuild the people’s trust in the government as the chance to reform the system will not last forever.”

The National Trust Party was referring to the barring of reformists and moderates to run for those elections by the intervention of the Guardian Council, the Supreme Leaders office and the revolutionary guards (IRGC).

Critics have said that the restrictive policy has made Iranians reluctant to take part in elections and has eroded the people’s trust in the government and parliament. 

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