Tehran University Professor: 'There's a schism between the State and the people'

Professor Zibakalam says Iranian gov seriously exceeded budget even before coronavirus crisis, government has no way to pay its expenses.

Tags: Iran MEMRI Tehran
Mordechai Sones ,

Tehran women at market
Tehran women at market

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) reports an interview with Sadegh Zibakalam, a political science professor at Tehran University, was uploaded to the Iranian website etemadonline.com – a reformist site, founded by Mehdi Karoubi, one of the leaders of the Green Movement who has been under house arrest since 2009. Professor Zibakalam said that the Iranian government had seriously exceeded its budget even before the coronavirus crisis, and that in light of the economic and oil sanctions against Iran, the government has no way to pay for its expenses.

He criticized the government’s emphasis on military capabilities and said there is a dangerous schism between the state and the Iranian people because the state ignores their beliefs and convictions. “In the long run, no regime can survive” such schism, he added.

Professor Zibakalam also said that he had never imagined that the regime would fire live ammunition at demonstrators, who took to the streets in Iran during the fall of 2019. The interviewer – editor-in-chief of etemadonline.com Mojtaba Hosseini – said he wished Iran could be more like Northern European countries, which have minimal involvement in global conflicts and provide social services and welfare to their people.

Zibakalam answered that it took Western Europe 500 years to reach its current state, and that in Iran it should take less. He added that the protests of 2009 and 2019 are not enough to facilitate reforms and change in Iran. He said that the Iranian Guardian Council and the IRGC need to be held accountable and that the need for reform must be “inserted by force” into the minds of the regime.

Zibakalam referred to Iranian involvement in the Syrian conflict and said that the seven million Syrian refugees should be the judges of the actions of the Iranian regime. Furthermore, he said: “Show me one case in the past 41 years – just one – in which our anti-American attitude has achieved anything for us.”

Extensive parts of the interview were censored – apparently self-censorship by etemadonline.com to avoid repercussion. Out of the 2:20 hours interview, about half an hour was muted and the title "These moments of the conversation could not be aired" appeared on the screen.