The terms right, left, conservative and reformist bear little resemblance to their normal usage in the West. Some groups described by Iranians as right-wing or conservative have socialist economic policies, for example.
The terms right, left, conservative and reformist bear little resemblance to their normal usage in the West. Some groups described by Iranians as right-wing or conservative have socialist economic policies, for example. What follows is a brief description of the new conservative factions in the Majlis (parliament) and government, along with their ideologies, strengths and policies. Alliance for the Advancement of an Islamic Iran (AAII) ,known as Abadgaran, is the largest minority faction in the Majlis. It stood on a moderate platform of economic growth based on the technical qualifications of its candidates. It has now come to be associated most with the radical right and conservative hardliners, with Ahmad Tavakoli, its most prominent MP, a possible presidential candidate. The group advocates a roll-back in the social and political freedoms introduced during the reformist years. Its belief in political and economic isolationism is encapsulated in calls to withdraw from the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and hostility to foreign investment. AAII supports limited privatisation, but believes it should be carried out only if the new shareholders are of favourable ideological disposition. Otherwise, it favours dividing company shares between workers, with the government retaining a controlling stake. It has strong support from the Supreme Leader's office, the Guardian Council and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. AAII and its supporters have been in the ascendancy since the Majlis elections in February. Motalafeh represents what in Iran is referred to as the moderate or traditional right. Its economic policies are a mix of nationalist support for central government and bazaar-style pre-industrial capitalism. The party supports privatisation but wants to see controls introduced to prevent foreign interference in the economy. It is an advocate of high subsidies. Motalafeh backs the Supreme Leader's position in areas of foreign policy and security. But it sees cultural issues of social freedoms as a distraction from the core goals of government. The technocrats (Servants of Construction, known as Kargarzaran) have been reduced to a rump in the Majlis. But they still have powerful friends. The technocrat champion is former president and Expediency Council head Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who is rumoured to be considering a presidential comeback. The technocrats support economic reform, including privatisation, and attracting foreign investment. But their enmity for the reformists means they will do little to help assist reformist plans for economic change. They have moderate views on social issues but do not support expanded political freedoms.
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