Commentators on both sides of Iran's factional divide continue to criticize the government and offer advice on what is needed to get out of the political impasse.

Referring to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's recent speech in which he said, "The enemy has started to prepare its artillery against the upcoming elections in Iran," conservative commentator Mohammad Mohajeri quipped in a column in the reformist Etemad newspaper: "What can the enemy do to harm the elections?" and explained that "downplaying the importance of voter turnout, manipulating the election process, rigging the elections, and helping unqualified people to win the elections are among the things the enemy can do to that end."

The commentator was referring to the interference of the Guardian Council, an undemocratic body inserted into the constitution, that rejected hundreds of candidates in the parliamentary election in 2020, and again rejected qualified contenders in the 2021 presidential vote. 

Conservative commentator Mohammad Mohajeri

Mohajeri pointed out that the enemy cannot interfere with the process of elections. Those who interfere are Islamic Republic officials. executives, supervisory bodies, and security organizations. The enemies will begin their attacks and propaganda only after state officials and institutions make big mistakes by intervening in the election process with the aim of changing the results, he said.

Mohajeri added: "The Guardian Council is where most of such mistakes are made. It is involved from the beginning to the end of the elections and its behavior has always been controversial. The council vets the candidates and appoints the inspectors and supervisors." 

He further pointed out that many of those who have been disqualified by the Guardian Council in previous years are well-known political figures who would have been more useful than the current members of the parliament. 

Reformist commentator Abbas Abdi

Meanwhile, reformist commentator Abbas Abdi accused current officials of making the government useless by bringing it into constant confrontation with the people and their demands. This approach, he said, “will tire everyone including yourselves and I can see the signs of this fatigue in your behavior.”

"The government's interventionist approach and its insistence on excessive and often unnecessary control and punishment, as well as its confrontational approach and its refusal to hold any dialogue have a destructive impact on many economic, political, social and cultural processes including the country's foreign policy," Abdi said.

"When we follow the news, we see many examples of that confrontational behavior for instance in trying to control prices through issuing orders. Everyone, except the government, knows that this does not work. Not only it does not work, it also leads to corruption. The government uses the same wrong methods to fix interest rates, foreign exchange rates and the price of eggs, utilities, fuel, rent and so on. 

The government intervenes in everything, including dress code and childbirth, which are issues that cannot be regulated through confrontation, penalties and imprisonment," Abdi added. 

The prominent commentator stressed that such methods can only widen the gap between the people and the government. 

Moderate politician Ali Rabiei

Meanwhile, shedding light on the bigger picture, former government spokesman and moderate politician Ali Rabiei wrote in article in Etemad that "All revolutions in the Middle East have given governments in the region a license to violate citizenship and human rights as well as democratic rules."

He suggested that governments that rule in the name of revolutions need to find a way to reconcile revolutionary values and citizens' rights by giving the people the right to complain to the judiciary system if government officials undermine their essential rights. 

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