Meet the new generation of Iranian hard-liners

Al Monitor | Hard-liners in Iran face the key challenge of a new generation questioning the approach being taken by the old guard. Members of the younger generation, unlike their older peers, are challenging anyone who acts against their expectations, even including when that person happens to be Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force, the most popular figure in the conservative camp.

Traditional Iranian hard-liners are broadly characterized by their anti-Americanism and opposition to engagement with the West, desire for “revolutionary” foreign relations and opposition to any form of liberalism promoted by Reformists. In short, they have a general intolerance toward cultural and political change.

The new generation, however, espouses the hard-line discourse, yet do not adhere to the Principlist camp of conservatives. They call themselves “innovative revolutionaries,” on a mission to lead a renaissance in their camp. They accuse the old guard of being overly cautious and of betraying the spirit of Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini, founder of the Islamic Republic. This generation tends to be more uncompromising than their predecessors, viewing their rivals as sworn enemies with whom forming alliances is unthinkable.

In a May interview, Payam Fazlinejad, a young hard-line analyst, said of the new generation, “We are faced with ‘innovative revolutionaries’ who have distinctly critical thoughts, which are based on the originalist remarks of the Imam [Khomeini] and the [supreme] leader [Ayatollah Ali Khamenei]. [They] think about reforms and renaissance to help the [Islamic] Revolution overcome challenges.”

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