Former presidents Hassan Rouhani (2nd left) and Mohammad Khatami (3rd left) during a religious ceremony

Politicians Pessimistic About Possibility Of Reforms In Iran

Tuesday, 01/02/2024

A leader of Iran's Reform Front, an umbrella organization of reformist parties and groups says only 7 percent of Iranians approve of the country's current situation.

Mohsen Armin, the front's vice chairman has quoted the results of an opinion poll conducted by ISPA of the government-owned Iranian Students New Agency (ISNA) and said 48 percent of Iranians support reforms and another 45 percent want far-reaching changes. In the context of Islamic Republic's political jargon, the latter group are possibly those who want a regime change.

Armin, speaking at a conference in Esfahan entitled "Iran, Reformists, and National Interests," stated that reforms in Iran are currently in a state of isolation. He elaborated that "The country is so disorganized that other political groups are also confused and do not know a way out of the current political impasse."

He said, "our mistake during the 1979 Islamic revolution was that we thought the Shah was the problem. But the real problem was the despotic regime. We thought that by replacing the Shah the problem will be solved. That is how we lost a precious opportunity to improve the political situation in Iran."

Armin emphasized that there has been a misconception in Iran that combating Western civilization is a prerequisite for Islamizing society. This belief has given rise to notions such as the imminent downfall of Western civilization, a stance that aligns with creating an Islamic society. Support for Russia in the Ukraine conflict and reluctance to finalize nuclear agreements with the West are byproducts of this ideology. Consequently, policies like the resistance economy and opposition to maintaining ties with advanced Western nations have emerged to promote Iran's development.

Former lawmaker Mohsen Armin

"Nonetheless, when survival becomes the regime's main objective, even ideology ceases to be a priority," Armin said, adding that the strategy of survival calls for barring all those who object to these policies by any form of political activity. He further said that the strategy of survival has led to the emergence of a system that is incapable of solving the country's problems and preventing systematic corruption. He also pointed out that the regime has failed to convince the public about its strategy while it also refuses to listen to reformist ideas that might help it.

Elsewhere, but along the same line, Iranian academic Bijan Abdolkarimi has warned that the underprivileged people in Iran are facing a death and life issue. He said in an interview with Etemad Online that there is a possibility for social upheavals in Iran. He explained that the middle class in Iran has been experiencing a process of decline and many middle-class citizens are now considered low-income as their purchasing power has shrunk.

Iran has been experiencing an annual inflation rate of at least 40 percent in the past three years, and the national currency has lost its value 12-fold since 2018.

Abdolkarimi pointed out that while the middle class has been losing its dreams and sees no bright prospect ahead, family members of some regime officials, who talk about confrontation with the United States, live in America. The latter group do not really believe in the revolutionary narrative but hypocritically defend the revolutionary "values," the academic added.

He pointed out that Iranians are not interested in taking part in the upcoming parliamentary elections because they believe their participation cannot change the country's situation. At the same time, a force from within the government has been exerting pressures on the regime to follow a strategy of political purification that is intended to lead to the creation an all-conservative ruling system.

He said the Islamic revolution has not been able to offer welfare to nation during the past four decades and it is not likely to find that capability anytime soon.

Meanwhile, former President Hassan Rouhani has said in a meeting with his former aides and cabinet minister that the country's only way out of the current political impasse is to start reforms. Rouhani further claimed that the people will take part in the election if they feel that it can make a difference. 

Many political figures in Iran, who are considered regime insiders, including former reformist President Mohammad Khatami have said that it appears the Iranian regime can no longer be reformed.

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