Reformist Former MP: Rouhani Should Stand By His Voters Despite Opposition From Hardliners
Despite a spate of attacks from powerful conservatives, newly re-elected President Hassan Rouhani should fulfill the promises he made to the people who voted for him, a reformist former legislator told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).
“The main objective of the pressure coming from the opposition is to paralyze the [Rouhani] government and throw off track the policies it promised to the people,” said Mohammad Kianoush-Rad, a senior member of the reformist Islamic Union Party of Iran (IUPI).
“Mr. Rouhani can effectively control the situation by having constructive talks with other officials and at the same time doing an acceptable job of defending the people’s political, social and cultural rights,” said the former MP (2000-04) from the southern city of Ahwaz.
“Radicalization of the political climate will primarily benefit the extremists,” he added.
Rouhani, the centrist cleric who was re-elected to the presidency on May 19, 2017, has recently come under sharp attacks by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei regarding a range of cultural and political issues.
Two weeks before the presidential election, Khamenei accused Rouhani of trying to impose “un-Islamic” policies into the country’s educational system. Then, on June 7, Khamenei told supporters to act in a “fire at will” fashion when the Rouhani government “falls into “stagnation and disarray.”
The greatest blow came on June 12 when Khamenei compared Rouhani to Abolhassan Banisadr, Iran’s first president who fled the country in 1981 after losing a power struggle with then Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini.
The attack manifested on the streets of Tehran two weeks later when a pro-Khamenei mob circled Rouhani at a rally on June 23 shouting “Death to Banisadr,” forcing the president to flee to the safety of his car.
“The recent attacks show how frustrated and angry extremist opponents of the [Rouhani] government are,” said Kianoush-Rad, a member of the IUPI’s Central Committee, in the interview with CHRI.
“What Mr. Rouhani can do on the one hand is to keep calm and maintain control of the situation while standing firm on implementing the people’s wishes,” he added.
“If he backs down from his duties under the Constitution, it could embolden the government’s extremist opponents,” he said.