Eshraghi said the country is in a "red" -- or high -- alert situation.
Cars and traffic are the main contributors to Tehran's critical level of
air pollution and Western sanctions on fuel imports have forced the
country to rely on locally produced gasoline, which is said to be more
polluting. Asked whether she feels hopeful about Iran's future, she answered that
only reforms can save the country from the crisis it is facing.
"If these people remain with the same thinking, nothing will change
because this way of thinking does not want Iran to progress and bring
peace and calm," she said. "The only way for them is to accept reforms."
Eshraghi, an active Facebook user with a large following, also said
she has heard that the social-networking site will soon be unblocked by
"Only now [authorities] have understood that [such a] platform cannot be
harmful," she said, adding that she has learned much from her
interactions with young Iranians on Facebook.
The social-networking site is a good tool for gauging public sentiment, she said.
"From the number of likes and comments I get on pictures I post, I can
understand whether that individual is, at the time, popular or not," she
said. "For example, I posted pictures of Hassan Khomeini (Khomeini's
prominent grandson) and [Mohammad Khatami]. I've told them many times
that their pictures received few likes, and it shows that their
popularity has decreased."
Elsewhere in the interview, Eshraghi, who under Khatami headed the youth
department of the Interior Ministry, criticized President Mahmud
Ahmadinejad for preventing the work of nongovernmental organizations,
which had flourished under his predecessor.
She said she and many other people in the NGO field were forced to stop their activities after Ahmadinejad came to power.
Eshraghi also said that because of the vetting of election candidates by
the powerful Guardians Council, reformists cannot introduce any strong
"[Reformists] cannot present anyone because there is a filter called the Guardians Council," she said.
Asked about pressure by the regime on former President Akbar Hashemi
Rafsanjani, she said Khomeini once referred to him as "a pillar" of the
"I've heard [Khomeini] tell [Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei],
"When you and [Rafsanjani] work hand in hand together, the revolution
will be. And when you separate from each other, the revolution will
Rafsanjani, whose influence has significantly diminished in recent
years, has come under criticism for refusing to speak out against the
opposition Green Movement.
Rafsanjani's daughter, Fazezeh, is currently in jail and his son, Mehdi Hashemi, is free on bail.
This post appears courtesy of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.