Earthquake in the Fundamentalists’ Camp
According to Iran Gate, an earthquake has occurred in the fundamentalists’ camp. Only four months remain until the 12th round of the Islamic Consultative Assembly elections, but the fundamentalists have not yet achieved widespread consensus. The gathering of fundamentalists with the presence of Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf and Gholamali Haddad Adel in the past week indicates a deep division within the fundamentalist camp, as many prominent figures of this movement, both moderates and hardliners, were absent from this meeting.
Many fundamentalists in the 1400 elections emphasized the necessity of unifying the pillars of power and claimed that with this policy, the numerous problems of the country could be solved. Now, more than two years have passed since the formation of the government of Ebrahim Raisi, which has a deep harmony with the dominant forces in the legislative and judicial branches. However, not only has this unity not been achieved, but the inefficiency resulting from the elimination of other political factions, especially technocrats, within the Islamic Republic’s system, has led to the unresolved problems of the country and the creation of even bigger and more complex issues within the workings of the Islamic Republic.
As the 12th parliamentary elections draw near, there is clear evidence of a deep division within the camp of principlists. Some factions openly express their opposition to each other, causing embarrassment for many of their supporters on social media platform X.
Where does the root of the conflict lie?
To better understand the recent political clashes between prominent principlist figures, we need to look back at the 2019 elections, which led to the emergence of ultra-revolutionary representatives in the parliament. These elections resulted in an unprecedented homogenization of the makeup of the parliament in favor of lesser-known principlist figures. Among them, figures like Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf were more recognized than others. However, anyone observing the list of representatives in the 11th parliament could see the strange dominance of hardliners and ultra-revolutionaries in Baharestan.
Anyway, last week a gathering was held with the presence of figures like Mohsen Rezaei, Gholamali Haddad-Adel, Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, and some members of the Islamic Coalition Party. This gathering, which took place at the mausoleum of the founder of the Islamic Republic, was referred to by pro-Ghalibaf media as a gathering of four thousand Principlists. However, media activists present at this gathering estimate the number of attendees to be around 700 to 800 people.
List of high-profile expellees
As mentioned, this division within the Principlist camp is due to deep disagreements between hardline and ultra-revolutionary figures and traditional Principlists, as well as some moderate figures. After the holding of the gathering at the mausoleum of Ayatollah Khomeini, many ultra-revolutionary figures began to criticize and even mock Ghalibaf and his associates. However, some moderate Principlists also criticized the holding of such a gathering and considered Ghalibaf responsible for the incurred expenses.
However, pro-establishment media, especially individuals like Ghalibaf, have not remained idle and have activated their propaganda against radical elements and moderate forces within the conservative movement. This newspaper refers to the establishment as the widespread consensus of conservatives and addresses the absentees of this gathering as traitors from the revolutionary front. These traitors include prominent figures such as Morteza Aghatehrani, Hamid Rasaei, Alireza Zakani, Saeed Jalili, Mehrdad Bazrpash, and among the radicals, individuals like Mohammad Reza Bahonar, Mostafa Pourmohammadi, Mohammad Mohajeri, Manouchehr Mottaki, and among the moderates, who were absent from this gathering.
Both factions, the absentees from the establishment, have shown strong reactions to this gathering on various social networks, including Twitter, and have criticized Ghalibaf’s actions. The moderates emphasized the heavy cost of organizing an 800-person gathering that has been falsely claimed to be 4,000 people, accusing Ghalibaf of using dirty money in the elections. However, the super-revolutionaries consider the establishment completely illegitimate to represent the revolutionary movement and introduce Ghalibaf as an infiltrator.
However, if we want to summarize the main point in one sentence, we can refer to the statement made by Qalibaf in this gathering, where he said we should consider participating in the elections as forbidden. This single sentence indicates the existence of a deep division within the conservative camp, who call themselves revolutionary.
From the extreme fundamentalist spectrum to the camp of moderation and tolerance, everyone except for the middle ground will be marginalized in the upcoming elections. Although the moderates were also marginalized in the 1998 and later in 1400 elections, the experience of the eleventh parliament reminded the traditional fundamentalists that the hardliners are not a wall that they can leave a legacy on. Because not only do the hardliners lack a clear and consistent discourse, but they have also shown in the past that whenever it serves their interests, they resort to manipulation and media manipulation in order to achieve their goals.
However, it should not be overlooked that both of these movements see accusations such as moral corruption and economic corruption in their track record. Neither of them have a solid social base and they are waiting to see what decision the Guardian Council will make, whether it will eliminate the reformists and moderates like in the years 1998 and 1400, or not. Because if the Guardian Council changes its approach from what it adopted in the recent elections, it can be said that these internal ideological disputes will no longer have much of a local flavor and the scene will take a different shape.
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