Reza Talaei Nik, former member of the National Security and Foreign Policy Commission of Iranian Majlis (Parliament) maintains that as the "deviant current" is running for taking seats in the upcoming Majlis election, the Principlists have not provided a unified list of candidates for the election. However he hoped that the problem will be resolved and the Principlists will introduce a joined list of nominees to be monitored in a full-scale manner by Jame'atein (Combatant Clergy Association and the Society of Seminary Teachers of Qom).
Many Principlists believe, what's called "the deviant current" is led by Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaei, the controversial top adviser and the right-hand man of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who has been accused of attempting to reduce the central role of jurisprudents (Foqaha) in the political scene of the Islamic Republic of Iran through insisting on the nationalist strain of Iranian culture and history.
In recent weeks some officials in the entourage of Mashaei and presidential Office have been arrested on various grounds including on suspicion of corruption, financial abuses and sorcery.
Earlier Ahmadinejad had appointed a three-member committee to foster unity among the Principlists in a run-up to the parliamentary election of May 2012. The members of the three-man committee who are credible and trusted figures included former Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati, ex-Majlis Speaker Gholam Ali Hadad Adel, and former Secretary General of the Islamic Coalition Party (Mo'talefeh) Habibollah Asgar O'ladi.
Khabar Online interviewed Reza Talaei Nik on the upcoming Majlis election:
Q: The current situation shows that for the Principlists, providing a joined list of candidates to run for the next Majlis election has turned to a tricky job. Regardless of analysis given on the present condition, do you think the Principlist will be finally able to introduce a unified list?
A: The establishment of unity among the Principlists is out of necessity or is for defensive purposes. I mean some elements of unity are necessary and obligatory but some others are defensive. In general forming unity is motivated by common grounds, introducing new plans, or a fierce electoral competition which is supposed to work as a defensive initiative against political threats.
Based on a presumable process, the extent of unity among the Principlist within the next eight months will be predictable. In terms of necessity, the Principlists should strategically form unity, since during the last eight years after taking the majority of seats in the elections for the councils of cities, Majlis and then government, the Principlists are in a crucial historical moment. The track record of the in the past eight years is very decisive. Despite all ups and downs from a year ago, the Principlists strategically need to restore their approaches and functions. As a matter of fact they must take the best advantage of opportunities and potentials, introduce a track record based on indexes and practices which guarantee the political future of the Principlism.
Within a time left, the Principlists of the Majlis, government and city councils should categorically rely on their possible unity in the domain of politics as well as elevating their practices in legislative, monitoring and executive terms. Based on such agenda, establishing intellectual, political, behavioral unity will be essentially a must for the Principlists.
On the other hand, in competitive and defensive terms, the reformists are in a coma. As the reformist movement has been critically damaged both from inside and outside, the reformists need time, willpower and purification to go out of their current crisis. If the reformists show their resolve for an internal purification and return to the original path which is in accord with the principles of the Islamic Republic system and the revolution, they will seriously challenge the Principlists in the next Majlis election.
However, by now the observations reveal that the reformists will run weakly for May 2012 Majlis election. If it's so, the Principlists will be less motivated to form the best possible unity, but if the reformists compete more powerfully at the election, the Principlists will reach to the highest level of political and competitive unity. Perhaps it would be unrealistic to imagine the Principlists will establish a perfect unity, but fostering a maximal unity among them has a realistic ground and is not out of reach. Although due to their involvement in the deviant current some of them have been cast out from the Principlist camp, the ground will be prepared for creating a maximal unity among the Principlists.
Q: Regardless of the character and status of its members, from the view of many Principlists, the three-man committee formed by Ahmadinejad is seen as a governmental committee. Now as Mr. Velayati has resigned from the committee and simply two other members have remained, do you think it will be influential?
A: The members of the committee including Messrs. Hadad Adel, Asgar O'ladi and Velayati are approved by all the Principlists. They are able to broker unity among all Principlist factions if they are not put under pressure. Actually regarding the experience and record of the three-man committee, they are able to establish a maximal and solid unity among the Principlists if the committee takes the key decisions for planning the mechanism of unity among the Principlists simply under the guidance of Jame'atein.
Instead of imposing any kind of one-sided not all-embracing models, the members of the committee should organize the managing institute of the Principlists helped through monitoring and guidance of Jame'atein. However the three-member committee is expected rather to plan an appropriate mechanism for involving all Principlist figures and factions and unite them in the forthcoming Majlis election than playing the role of the executive director of the Principlists at the event. The reports on the resignation of Mr. Velayati from the three-man committee was denied, yet he is seeking freedom of action and the support of Jame'atein for the committee.
Q: Do you believe it would be helpful if Jame'atein as well as Messrs. Larijani, Ghalibaf and Rezaei join the three-man committee?
A: The concept of unity among the Principlists means that old Principlist figures and factions should get together without demanding their share of official power. As a matter of fact Principlists constitute 6 sides which Jame'atein stands above all of them. So Jame'atein will conceivably play the role of guide, supervisor, and the three-man committee will act as organizer and coordinator.
One or two representatives from all Principlist sides can join each other and contribute to managing the electoral activities. These six sides include: the front of followers of Imam Khomeini's line and the Leader [Ayatollah Ali Khamenei]; development-seeking Principlists; the supporters of Ahmadinejad's front from one hand and the supporters of Larijani, Ghalibaf and Rezaei from the other.
Independent and individual Principlist may participate in the election campaign through the three sides of Larijani, Ghalibaf and Rezaei supporters. If the first three sides join the second three sides, all Principlist factions will reach a consensus.
Q: The number of Mr. Ahmadinejad's critics of is increasing. If earlier the Principlists were trying to steal the spotlight from each other in admiring him, now they are trying to take the lead in criticizing him. To what extent such behaviors are truthful in your view?
A; The majority of Mr. Ahmadinejad's backers and advocates are among the sympathetic supporters of the government and Islamic republic system. In the past two presidential elections they realized that Mr. Ahmadinejad is the best candidate for the post of the Islamic Republic's President and backed him. One should distinguish the sincere and concerned supporters of Mr. Ahmadinejad with those who simply think about taking their own advantage, impose their own ideas and foster deviancy in the administration of Mr. Ahmadinejad.
Currently the basic criticism made against Mr. Ahmadinejad is that he does not disavow his connection to "the deviant current". If he detaches himself from "the deviant current" in his inner circle, the majority of Principlists, weather his supporters or his critics continue to back him firmly. Avoidance from voting to Mr. Ahmadinejad does not necessarily mean that one should not back him after the election.
Although me and my friends did not vote for Mr. Ahmadinejad in the earlier presidential election, and made constructive criticisms against him, we generally supported him. Based on the evidences which can be reviewed, in several known and unknown occasions of last years, we gave too much assistance to Mr. Ahmadinejad and his government. But giving support to the administration of Mr. Ahmadinejad is not synonymous with creating a safe haven for "the deviant current" which is acting on the margins of the government. Various intellectual, political, financial and economical abuses done by the deviant current provided the main context for criticisms made against the government. However reaction to the wrongdoings of the deviant current should not undermine the loyal and effective services done by Mr. Ahmadinejad and his administration. We must reasonably distinct support from the government and lambasting "the deviant current" which exists and acts on the sidelines of the administration's camp.
Q: In his speech, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution noted that the government has no right to meddle in the elections, and ballot boxes are like the honor of Islamic Republic System which must be safeguarded. In the meantime, reports are released that some elements in the government are making efforts to take the seats of the Parliament. What's your observation about adopting such measures?
A: The centers of power and wealth have always tried to play a role in the elections whether evidently or hideously, successfully or unsuccessfully. When a government's term is to be ended, efforts are made to keep the government directly or indirectly in power. At the end of the presidential term of Mr. Hashemi Rafsanjani [incumbent chairman of the Expediency Council], some governmental elements tried to influence the elections both at national and provincial levels.
One of the reasons of the [landslide] victory of Mr. Khatami at the presidential elections was the influential role played by the executives of Mr. Hashemi's administration and using potential means to support Mr. Khatami.
Near to the end of Mr. Khatami's presidential term, as well as governmental means and potentials, a number of deconstructive methods including taking sanctuary and resignation were also used. So using various positive and negative methods for the survival of supporting camps of Messrs. Hashemi Rafsanjani and Khatami was pretty evident.
It is also quite possible that the elements of the present government make evident or hideous attempts to win the seats of the next Majlis or win the next presidential election. Earlier the leader of the Islamic Revolution directly warned the officials to avoid relying on the centers of power and wealth with regard to the bitter experiences of some statesmen and those who had means to influence the elections. In order to avoid such experiences, ignoring governmental facilities and avoiding to rely on centers of power and wealth as well as separation from "the deviant current" will be absolutely necessary for the administration.
Of course except a minor part of our society, the majorities of people have elevated the level of their political and social consciousness and are conscious about being impressed by the centers of power and wealth. Perhaps in the past such centers could influence the elections, but owing to the political and social knowledge of people which have been increasing, their impact has weakened.
Q: How do you predict the makeup of the ninth Majlis?
A; Evidences and indications signify to the victory of the Principlists in their run-up for Majlis election. A part of the reformist's supporters are supposedly has become doubtful about the movement. On one hand, some reformist parties are faced with legal prohibitions. On the other, the reformists have not begun the process of internal purification and disconnecting themselves from deconstructive elements and seditionists [a term the officials use for the leaders of the protests staged after the disputed election of June 2009 in Iran].
Without such a move and refusal from being in the spotlight of foreigners negative propagandas, it won't be possible for them to successfully run for the parliamentary election. Nevertheless some reformist figures who did not play a role in fueling the unrest after the presidential election of 2009 can join the ninth Majlis. It's likely that the reformists constitute a minority in the next Majlis as they have in the Eight Majlis. The dominant discourse in our society and political indications demonstrate that the Principlists will take the majority of seats in the Parliament.
Even so, for the Principlists taking control of Majlis, which is achievable, should not make them negligent to institutionalize greater aims in the discourse of Principlism as well as a soar in development and justice, boosting the government, Majlis efficiency and improving the function of city councils. Despite a sense of political success, there's a sense of negligence toward such issues which should be set on the agenda.