January 4, 2018

THE rIGHT IS THE rIGHT:

Q&A: 'This is a fight among Iran's ruling factions' (Saeed Jalili, 1/04/18, Al Jazeera)

Rouhani's landslide victory came after a bitter campaign against hardline candidates Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, Tehran's powerful mayor at the time, and Ebrahim Raeesi, head of the massive state-conglomerate Astan Qods Razavi, which is headquartered in Mashhad.

The protests first erupted in Mashhad, Iran's second-largest city, which is also where Raeesi's father-in-law, Ayatollah Ahmad Alamolhoda, leads the Friday prayers.

The ongoing protests are the most recent challenge to Rouhani, whose ministerial picks turned many of his reformist supporters into critics.

Last month, the government submitted a budget bill for the next fiscal year. Part of its plan to carry out partial economic reforms, including increasing fuel prices and reducing subsidies, the budget generated discontent among low-income Iranians.

The bill revealed the huge costs incurred by religious bodies, whose budgets had been largely unknown prior to that point, sparking further anger and criticism.

These incidents are not unrelated, says senior Iranian economist Saeed Laylaz, a professor at Shahid Beheshti University in Tehran.

Laylaz, who is considered sympathetic to Rouhani, was an adviser to Iran's former reformist President Mohammad Khatami and an outspoken critic of his successor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Al Jazeera spoke to him about the reasons behind the widespread protests and their potential impact.

Al Jazeera: It looks like there is a consensus that Iranian hardliners ignited the protests. What do you think?

Saeed Laylaz: Alamolhoda, Raeesi and Qalibaf started it and Ahmadinejad is extending it. It is, I think, a fight among the factions inside the establishment.

Part of it is to take revenge after the election and part of it is about the succession [to the supreme leader].

We're not facing a protest by the people alone. We're dealing with specific groups. In small cities, they attack to capture police stations. Does a [low-income] teacher, for instance, do that?

Al Jazeera: Is this related to Rouhani's budget bill as well?

Laylaz: It is.


Posted by at January 4, 2018 5:46 AM

  

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