A Reformist politician in Tehran highlights a concerning trend where a hardliner minority wields disproportionate influence over the fate of the entire Iranian nation.
Gholamreza Zarifian, a prominent political activist, underscored in an interview with Rouydad24 website that this authoritarian minority poses a significant political challenge by promoting radical agendas, ultimately undermining the government’s social capital.
Zarifian asserted that four decades post the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iranian conservatives persist in disregarding historical lessons. They cling to the belief that they are divinely ordained to dictate the course of Iran’s destiny. This mindset instills a sense of inferiority among the populace, shifting Iran from a nation that propelled the constitutional Revolution in 1905 to one devoid of influence over its own future, largely due to the conservative elite’s monopolization of power.
As parliamentary election approach on March 1, there is general apathy among the population, especially after hundreds of regime loyalist candidates were banned from running for no clear reason. In the absence of real competition at least among regime politicians, everyone is aware that hardliners will win the vote.
Zarifian argued that the public mood resembles the same feeling of inferiority among the people that led to the downfall of monarchy and the coming to power of the Islamic Republic in Iran in 1979. He explained: Under the monarchy, the appearance of a modern society existed in Iran as the three powers of the government had been separated from each other, but the people’s vote were ignored in furthering the political dynamics of the society. At that time, a minority undermined the interests of the nation and a chosen few imposed their will on the whole society.
Forty-five years after the revolution, the Iranian nation is once again back to the same situation, Zarifian said, adding that the difference is that this time the ruling class of the Islamic Republic uphold none of the rights of the society.
Addressing the flawed electoral process, another reformist figure, Rasoul Montajabnia, urged the government to either ensure free and fair elections or rename the Islamic Republic to reflect its religious governance. He criticized the biased vetting of candidates, emphasizing the stark disparity between the people’s expectations and the government’s archaic election practices.
He said that Iranians are way ahead of their government and laugh at the backward way the elections are being held. Referring to the lies officials have told the people during the past 45 years. “We have treated the people in a way that if we tell them it is daylight, they would become convinced that it is definitely the nighttime,” he said. The cleric said that the arbitrary vetting of candidates by the Guardian Council has left no trace of democracy in Iran.
Montajabnia argued that in some of the constituencies there is no competition as the number of candidates endorsed by the Guardian Council is exactly the same as the number of seats in that constituency.
As an example of how this method of governance affected individuals in the Iranian society, Tehran City Councillor Zahra Nezhad Bahram told the press that some 67 percent of highly educated personnel of the country’s knowledge-based companies are planning to leave Iran for good and have already started their emigration process.
This systemic flaw exacerbates frustrations among Iran’s educated populace, as evidenced by the significant exodus of skilled professionals seeking opportunities abroad. She emphasized the urgent need for policy reforms to retain and harness the potential of Iran’s intellectual capital for sustainable progress.