Speaking in an interview with Khabar Online, Ali Motahari said in answer to a question regarding the circumstances which lead to the Principalists' defeat "One factor why the Principalists failed was that they were ignorant of the opposite side. They thought that the Guardian Council would disqualify their main rivals and they would have the competition between themselves. That’s why they didn’t pay much attention to unity and their votes were dispersed. Such lack of unity also made some people turn their backs to them. Some thought maybe they were fighting over power.”
He added "Another reason for their failure was their ignorance to social circumstances and needs. As they say, the Principalists have lost track of society. They think idealistically and in abstract terms. That is to say that Principalists do not pay attention to the psychology of the society. They do not believe that they must keep balance between ideals and realities.”
"The other factor is group fanaticism. Many of them condone a violation made by their group-mates, but would not have it by a Reformist. You saw yourself that the Principalists would go along with cultural liberalism in the Ahmadinejad administration, but would demonstrate wrapped in winding sheets against cultural tolerance and indulgence by the Khatami administration. Such double standards have damaged them,” Motahari further said.
He also said "Another example is the reaction by many Principalists to law violations in the 9th and 10th administrations. Some Principalists would say that due to the Leader’s guidelines on support for the government, the Majlis must have done nothing. But it would be despotism if a President does not enact the law; and the Majlis cannot remain silent on that. On many such instances the Principalists would keep silent and make justifications. These are what contributed to the Principalist defeat.”
Motahari added "If Messrs. Hashemi and Khatami had irritably taken annoyance, a large part of the people would have not voted; so the same management of the past 8 years would have continued. Bad situations would have come to exist and Mr. Hashemi may have gone the way of Ayatollah Montazeri and Mr. Khatami would go through a lot bad experience.”