Centrist politician Hossein Marashi

Centrist In Iran Pessimistic About Solving Political Impasse

Thursday, 07/20/2023

A leading centrist politician in Tehran says governance and politics in Iran have reached a deadlock and the people need to take the lead to help themselves.

Hossein Marashi, who is the Secretary General of the Executives of Construction, the leading centrist group, told a local website on Tuesday, "I have no hope in Iranian politicians. The elites in the society should come forward with determination and make their point, and whatever they need to do. I have hope that the people will change the scene."

This was an unprecedented pessimistic comment by a seasoned pragmatic politician who has always been an optimist. 

Nonetheless, Marashi dismissed the idea of boycotting the upcoming parliamentary elections in March 2024. Some reformist politicians have suggested the idea as a reaction to hardliners barring moderate and reformist candidates from running for office in two previous votes. 

Speaking about Faezeh Hashemi, a political heavyweight and one of the relatively popular politicians of the Executives of Construction Party who has spoken about the need to boycott the elections, Marashi said: "She should have waited for the party's final verdict about taking part in the election."

Faezeh Hashemi, daughter of Iran ex-president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani

Marashi reiterated: "If the people do not come to the scene and do not take the lead in the management of politics, and lash out at politicians, no positive change is likely to occur in their life." 

However, he did not say how people can bring about political change when the slightest gesture of protests or dissent is met with force and arrests.

However, the centrist politician oddly said, "We are waiting to see what way out the reformists will show to end this political impasse,” By putting the onus on those who have been pushed out of office by the hard core of the regime, Marashi added that the Reform Front has a great responsibility in coming up with a solution and we are waiting to see what they are going to do. 

He acknowledged that the reformist faction is currently overwhelmed by despair as a result of the Guardian Council's "arbitrary supervision" which bars many politicians from running for the parliament or the presidency. He argued that any boycott of the elections will play into the hands of those who want to monopolize power.

Former MP Mohammad-Reza Bahonar

At the same time, conservative politician Mohammad Javad Bahonar spoke about the issue from another perspective. He said that as a result of the Guardian Council's selective treatment of election candidates, a majority of the members of parliament are so unprepared that they are not even familiar with their responsibilities as lawmakers. He also charged that many conservative lawmakers do not understand the country's situation. 

However, as Marashi pointed out, "Politics is a battlefield where we should confront institutions that exert influence beyond the scope of their official authority. But political competition is not like going to a party. It is like dealing blows and at the same time being prepared to receive blows." He reiterated that reformists and moderates should be prepared for a fierce competition while everyone should accept that we need to revise the procedures in the interest of Iran's future. 

Meanwhile, Marashi advised that hardliners should note that Iran is a diverse society and not everyone is a regime supporter who accepts its ideology by 100 percent. "This is a diverse society. There are Sunnis, there are those who have distanced themselves from religion and religious government, and there are those who believe in a different ideology. We need to do away with the monopolistic approach of a certain group of regime's supporters."

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