Theorist Says Iranian Presidents Cannot Have Their Own Theory, They Can Adopt Others’ Views As Rulers
Political activist Mohammad-Reza Tajik, known as one of Iran’s reform theorists, questioned the validity of the concept of statehood in Iran in an interview with reformist newspaper Etemad on Sunday, July 18.
The interview, which focuses on Iranian governments since the 1979 revolution, also marks the occasion of the publication of Tajik’s new book, A movement in motion; A manifesto for a second reformism, also explores the reasons for the failure of the reform movement in Iran.
Reformists in Iran have held many of the post-revolutionary governments. But can governments, that is to say administrations, bring about change in Iran, especially in the economic field?
Tajik’s response was that Iranian administrations do not have the status of state or government. They are just a little game within a bigger game. There is a symbolic order that administrations cannot violate. Iranian administrations were not even in a position to define the rules of their game.
The success of Iranian administrations depends on their proximity to this symbolic order. All Iranian administrations were respected at the beginning because they claimed to be part of the big game. Gradually, however, their distance from the symbolic order was revealed and in the end they were kicked out of the game as “other radical “. This is true for President Abolhassan Bani Sadr, Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi, President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani’s second round of presidency and the administration of reformist President Mohammad Khatami, Tajik explained.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who was very well received by the core of the regime, and President Hassan Rouhani were no exception. They started in glory and ended in misery.
Tajik’s forecast was that the incoming administration of President Ebrahim Raisi will inevitably face the same situation. Everyone who welcomes him today will take a stand against him later, he said. The reason is that the Iranian administrations are not a continuation of each other. Each new administration criticizes its predecessor and tries to rebuild everything from scratch. As a result, there is no accumulation of experience, prudence and masterful narratives that could be followed by future administrations.
Tajik summed up his theory this way: Iranian governments are not governments in the same way that Iranian political parties are not political organizations. These are just names rather than organizations that can decide their own fate. Subsequently, all Iranian administrations have so far found themselves in extremely limiting “exceptional situations”. And it is this exceptional situation that has prevented successive Iranian governments from assuming their responsibilities.
The reformist theorist admitted that his point of view may exonerate Iranian governments from accusations of incompetence. “However, governments should be responsible because they accepted the responsibility of running the affairs of state. They knew what kind of game they were starting to play,” Tajik said.
Asked why some Iranian governments have been more successful than others, Tajik said, “Different administrations have taken over in different situations. During this time, the character of the president of the state was also a determining factor. The psychological mood of society is also important. As an example, Tajik said that President Rafsanjani’s situation was different because he was a powerful man who was very close to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. However, he said that Rafsanjani once told him that he did not wasn’t the extremely powerful man everyone thought he was.
Etemad’s correspondence focused on the relationship between each president’s theory and his practical measures and the chief executive. Tajik said Iranian politics are more complicated and it is difficult to apply theory in this system. Meanwhile, there are so many different players in the system that leave no room for theory. However, there is room for tactical moves.
Tajik said that even some presidential candidates in recent elections soon realized that they might be allowed to put someone else’s theory into practice, but no one will allow them to introduce their own theory. . For example, governments might be able to talk about different banking methods, but others are laying the groundwork for economic activity in Iran.
To translate Tajik’s philosophical narrative into the reality of everyday Iranian politics, one could say that you, as the president, might have many brilliant ideas about economics, but you are free to implement whatever. you know and like to do only within the framework of the definite theory of the jihadist economy introduced by Khamenei. This could explain several decades of stagnation but will certainly not make it possible to break the impasse.