Iranian politician Mostafa Tajzadeh, former acting Interior Minister, criticized the foreign policy of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his regime in an interview that aired on Didar News (Iran) on November 14, 2021. He said that the lifting of sanctions against Iran is imperative, and if they are not removed Iran will head towards disaster. However, he said, Khamenei has a "sensitivity" on this issue, which everyone knows is "crucial" to solving Iran's problems. Tajzadeh said that "everyone knows" that Iran will face "serious problems" if it does not make peace with the world.
He further said that the involvement of the military and particularly the IRGC in all aspects of running the country is detrimental and detracts from people's identification with it. Tajzadeh added that all the countries that have had "economic development in the past 40 years" have based their relations on "productive interactions" with the world, even if they had "bigger conflicts" with the U.S. than Iran in the past. He continued to say that investors only choose countries in which there is a consistent and transparent rule of law, even if these are undemocratic countries. Tajzadeh then said that the majority of Iranians support freedom of choice regarding wearing the hijab. He added that the regime is trying to block access to satellite channels, so Iranians will not see what is happening in the world and compare it to their reality.
Mostafa Tajzadeh: "If the foreign policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran does not change, and we do not move toward the lifting of the sanctions and accepting the JCPOA in the next year or two, the people may become seriously concerned about our security being threatened.
"On the other hand, this is the most sensitive issue for the Leader [Khamenei]. So what are we to do? Should we remain silent about the removal of the sanctions, just because the Leader is sensitive about it? Should we start pursuing a different issue?
"Based on an analysis from the [Iranian] Organization for Planning and Budget, if the sanctions are lifted, the rate of one dollar will be 55,000 toman in 2027. If not, the rate will be 254,000 toman. So what does this mean? Disaster. If the criterion is the sensitivity of the Leader – then what are we supposed to do?
"Everyone knows that the Leader is sensitive about this issue, and everyone knows that this issue is so critical, that even Ayatollah Safi has intervened, and declared that if you want to solve the problems of our society, you need to move toward making peace with the rest of the world, and to put an end to Iran's tantrums and to its isolation.
"Our circumstances in the past 10 years – due to the sanctions, high prices, and almost zero percent [economic] growth that we have had – have been anything but normal. We are not in a position to look for the issues that the regime is not sensitive about, and begin our reforms from there. It is not just in the short term. Our country will face serious problems if we do not change our foreign policy.
"Israel is humiliating us on a daily basis now. Based on Mr. Zarif's recording, Israel has attacked us more than 200 times in Syria. But since we do not report this news here, it feels as if we are not being humiliated. Our society is not showing any reaction to this even though it knows about it.
"Why should such a thing happen? Why should Israel attack us 200 times, and we are unable to retaliate? Where did we go wrong that we have such problems, as a result of those daily cyberattacks, which are putting us to shame on a daily basis. If we do not think of a solution for this, and do not change our policies, this will lead our society to a dead end. Something has got to change here.
"Involving the military in every aspect of running the country... I know this is a hot button issue for the Leader, but it introduces even bigger challenges and problems for our country.
"If Iran wins a medal in wrestling, every Iranian is happy, whether they support or oppose the Islamic Republic. The armed forces should have that kind of standing, like the flag. Getting [the IRGC] involved in politics, in the economy, in elections, and in culture is a disaster.
"All the countries that had an upsurge in economic development in the past 40 years – all of them without exception – have based their relations with the world on productive interactions and reduced tensions. This is true for both the East and the West – China, Russia, America, Europe, and others. It is even true for countries that had bigger conflicts with the U.S.. The latest example is Vietnam. 60,000 Americans were killed and the Americans killed two million [Vietnamese], yet today, Vietnam's number one trading partner is America, with $50 billion worth of import and export.
"All the developed countries share the rule of law – even if the law is undemocratic and was not enacted by a parliamentary system. The rules are consistent and investors – both local and foreign – feel confident to invest. Their profit is guaranteed and they have security. Therefore, the rule of law is more important than daily bread for economic development, whether a country is democratic or not. No country can attract foreign investments without a transparent system and the rule of law. It's impossible.
"The third point is that you have to tell society that as long as we have two or more different rates for foreign currency corruption will be inherent.
"If you conducted a poll in [Iranian] society about freedom of choice regarding the hijab, I am certain that the majority of people would support it. I do not know if the majority would choose [to wear] the hijab or not, I assume they would choose to wear it, but that is not important to me. The important thing is that this society understands that you cannot force people to wear the hijab. This is a much more advanced level of understanding than that of the regime.
"The regime is opposed to music, but look at how much society [values] music. The regime is opposed to having satellite TV, but people have found a way to get around [the restrictions], and they want to interact with the world. They want to know what is going on.
'One of the problems of the regime right now is that they do not understand that mass media has provided an opportunity for comparison [with the world], and nothing can shake society up like the ability to compare things."