A prominent reformist figure in Iran says supporting Russia in Ukraine was a strategic mistake and support for Hamas could lead to yet another strategic blunder.
Mohsen Mirdamadi, the vice speaker of the Iranian parliament under the reformist government of Mohammad Khatami in the late 1990s and early 2000s, suggested in an interview with Etemad newspaper in Tehranthat that the government should avoid any intervention in Israel’s war in Gaza. Mirdamadi reiterated that Iran’s involvement in the war is not likely to end well for Tehran.
While criticizing the government for its over-reliance on Russia instead of seeking to lift US sanctions and engage in negotiations to revive the JCPOA nuclear deal with world powers, Mirdamadi was the first influential reformist to announce a critical stance regarding the Gaza war.
Speaking about the development with Iran International television on Wednesday, commentator Mohammad Rahbar said that in Mirdamadi’s statement, the “government” is in fact an alias to refer to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
Incidentally, the interview was published,and the press review was aired on the same day that Khamenei once again praised the militant group Hamas for its terror attack on Israel and said that Palestinians will ultimately win the war.
Mirdamadi also argued that as the war in Gaza continues, any development other than elimination of Hamas will be tantamount to a defeat for Israel. Agreeing with the essence of what the regime says about Hamas having inflicted a heavy blow on October 7, he portrayed Israel as significantly weakened.
He said that unlike the first days of the war, the world’s public opinion and media have now turned in favor of the Palestinians and Israel has been the loser and if the current trend continues it is going to be the final loser of the war.
Mirdamadi reiterated, “While Israel has repeatedly declared that its final objective is the total elimination of Hamas, any result other than that will be a defeat for Israel.” He added: “If Israel is not the winner of the war, one of the consequences of this for Israel will be the decline of its status.”
In the unlikely event that Israel defeats Hamas, he argued, Israel’s enemies in the region will be weakened. “In this case, Israel will go the extra mile eliminating Hamas and Palestinians and will begin to eliminate other regional forces such as the Lebanese Hezbollah,” Mirdamadi said, adding that “However, doing so will spread the war and will entangle the region in a continuous conflict.”
Mirdamadi, one of the most influential reformist figures after former President Mohammad Khatami, who was once the leader of Iran’s most powerful reformist party Mosharekat [Particiation], made sure to say in the interview that Khamenei also believes not to directly get involved in the Iarael Hamas war.
He said Khamenei is aware of the dangers of getting involved in a direct confrontation [with Israel and the United States] and advised other Iranian politicians to avoid any statement that might heighten the risk for Iran’s intervention in the war. However, he pointed out that some Iranian officials took inappropriate positions contrary to what Khamenei thinks.
He insisted that so far, Israel has been humiliated and no matter what the end result of the war might be, the idea of establishing an independent Palestinian state will be strongly supported once the conflict ends. Mirdamadi opined that Western countries will inevitably support the idea of an independent Palestinian state in order to prevent further crises.
Iranian commentator Morteza Kazemian told Iran International news on Wednesday that Khamenei’s new position on the war in Gaza is likely to have been inspired by his isolation and by part of UN Chief Antonio Guterres and the United Arab Emirates’ UN envoy’s speech at the UN in which they criticized Western governments for their one-sided support of Israel, although he also continued his usual bragging against Europe, the United States and Israel. Kazemian also accused Khamenei of having no concern about the lives of children and other civilians in Gaza.