January 2, 2018


Reformists keep distance from unrest on streets of Iran (Saeid Jafari, January 2, 2018, Al Monitor)

As protests continue in various Iranian cities, Reformists are asking people to show restraint in expressing their discontent. The protests, originally economic in nature and later expanded to include other grievances, have not been welcomed by Reformists inside Iran.

Having initially targeted the conduct of the executive branch, protesters gradually targeted other pillars of the establishment as verbal attacks against the Reformists and the person of the president subsided. 

The protests started Dec. 28 in the northeastern cities of Mashhad and Neishabur; this led some analysts to suggest that President Hassan Rouhani's main rival in the May 2017 elections, Ebrahim Raisi, and his father-in-law, Ahmad Alamolhoda, were behind the organization of these protests, with the aim of putting pressure on the administration. Raisi is the custodian of the Astan-e Quds Razavi charitable foundation in Mashhad, and his father-in-law is the Friday prayers leader there. The suggestion that Raisi and Alamolhoda were involved became more plausible when Iran's first vice president, Eshaq Jahangiri, said the protests were organized by those opposing the administration. [...]

Although Reformists have accepted that difficulties do exist and have defended the people's right to protest in the streets, all also seem to believe that continuing the current path of protests is pointless and will only result in crippling the country and making the situation worse.

On Dec. 29, Hamidreza Jalaeipour, a prominent Reformist political analyst and university professor, wrote on his Telegram channel, "The Reformists were criticized for having encouraged the people to vote and were accused of only knowing how to bring people to voting booths. My answer is that we will continue to do the same thing. Voting is the civil and responsible thing to do. If we didn't have informed participation in society, we would be worse off than Pakistan, Egypt and Syria. Let me frankly tell you that the Reformists do not look for the solutions to the problems of society in the streets."

Posted by at January 2, 2018 6:34 PM