By Saeid Jafari, for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iran Business News.
An interview with the son of prominent Reformist leader Mohammad Reza Aref, a member of the parliamentary Hope faction, has led to a new controversy in Iran.
The July 20 interview features Hamid Reza Aref talking about how the children of Iranian elites, locally known as “aghazadeh” (noble-born), have “good genes.” The interview has not only introduced a new terminology on nepotism to Iran’s political lexicon but also brought social media attention to the positions held by these “aghazadehs.”
In the interview, the younger Aref said, “The discussions over being an ‘aghazadeh’ are a way of escaping reality because we are used to blaming someone for our problems. Now they [people] want to lay the blame on the ‘aghazadehs.’ Naturally, when my mother and father are successful individuals, that [same] gene and blood will also be transferred to me and so it’s not that people haphazardly reach a position. Lineage is not a small thing to have someone come out and claim that they have lineage.”
Social media users, and especially those on Twitter, immediately responded to Aref’s interview with heavy criticism — especially regarding what was seen as his sense of superiority.
While public outcry grew on social media, the son of another well-known Reformist politician added even more fuel to the fire. Mostafa Mousavi Lari, the son of Abdolvahed Mousavi Lari, who was interior minister under former Reformist President Mohammad Khatami as well as a candidate on the Reformist ticket for the May 19 Tehran city council elections before withdrawing his candidacy, published a provocative post on his Instagram account on July 23.
“The Lion King’s death is one of the most famous death scenes in the world,” he wrote. “However, there was a point which I found very attractive about this. [It was where] the hyenas scare a number of buffaloes, all of which suddenly start running. Most of the buffaloes don’t even know what is happening, meaning they don’t know what they are running away from or what goal they are suddenly running toward. They just run with the crowd and in the midst of it all, kill their beloved king! The Twitter waves being launched these days strangely remind me of this scene.”