A leading reformist personality, Mostafa Tajzadeh, has lashed out against hawks in Tehran that downplay the prospects of war between Iran and the United States. “When [George W.] Bush was threatening Iran [with war], he failed to make any headway [to confront Iran] thanks to the peaceful path that the reformists [President Mohammad Khatami] had chosen to be on.” In contrast, Tajzadeh argues, the same George W. Bush was able to put together an impressive international sanctions regime against Iran thanks to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s reckless bluster that alienated so many against Iran.  

Tajzadeh has been defending both the 2015 nuclear agreement and President Hassan Rouhani’s handling of relations with the world, which this Iranian reformist sees to be at risk thanks to the irresponsible swagger of the generals from the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (I.R.G.C.). In particular, Tajzadeh was denouncing Mohsen Rezai, an I.R.G.C. general who recently waged a strong attack against the July 2015 nuclear deal which the Rouhani government spearheaded. Rezai also attacked the reformist President Khatami’s “Dialogue Among Civilizations” as signaling weakness in the face of American pressures on Iran. 

Rezai had claimed the last sanctions imposed on Iran by the Trump administration would not have happened had the Rouhani government been more forceful against the United States since it came to office in August 2013. While Tajzadeh remains a prominent figure in Iran's reformist movement, this political camp in Tehran has no influence on Iranian actions at the moment. The I.R.G.C., which believes in belligerence - most recently evident with the ballistic missile test - remains the key player in shaping Tehran's policies toward the outside world.