Revolutionary Guards won’t interfere in election, but are not indifferent

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Hojjat al-Islam Ali Saeidi, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s representative in the Revolutionary Guards, has told the news agency for the Revolutionary Guards in Kerman that “the Revolutionary Guards will not interfere at all in the [June 2012 presidential] election, but they will not be indifferent with respect to who will become president; we will explain the criteria and standards for the Basiji and Guards.”

Saeidi added, “The Revolutionary Guards were and are an institution dependent on the regime. The Revolutionary Guards obey the Supreme Leader and try not to diverge from the orders of the Leader; though it is not correct that the Revolutionary Guards support a specific person or party.”

“The Revolutionary Guards are not indifferent to the election. The Guards have a basket of votes and must state the criteria and standards. We want a president who is loyal to the Guardian Jurist [i.e., Ayatollah Khamenei] and who executes well the plans of the Leader. We explain the criteria of [revolutionary] values, loyalty to the Guardian Jurist and able management for the Guards and Basijis.”

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Mashaei Amping Up for Election Season?

A speech delivered in Kermanshah by Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, President Ahmadinejad’s controversial chief of staff, has once again set the Iranian media abuzz. As the Reformist daily Etemaad reports, the government’s Iran Newspaper even published an article entitled “8 Solutions of Engineer Mashaei for Solving the Historical Paradox (Revolution-Regime).” In his speech Mashaei spoke of the “Revolution” as the original principle and the “Regime of the Islamic Republic” as secondary, adding that the most important “responsibility” of the Islamic Republic is the “management of the Islamic Revolution.” This is interesting since while high-ranking regime officialdom such as the Supreme Leader often refer to the “revolution,” they rarely differentiated it from the “regime,” seeing the two as interchangeable. In this way, Mashaei seems to be arguing that the Revolution and its values are ultimately separable and of far greater importance than the regime per se. When compared with Mohammad Javad Larijani’s statement that to protect the interests of the regime he would be prepared to “negotiate with the US or anyone else even in the depths of hell,” the disparity is highlighted even further.

Mashaei also heaped ample praise on President Ahmadinejad, going as far as to claim that what he has achieved in the course of his presidency is equivalent to the “entirety of contemporary history,” with virtually zero mention of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

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Why did Khamenei Stop Ahmadinejad Grilling?

Baztab-e emruz has claimed, in yet another controversial article, that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, issued an executive order to prevent the Majles’ questioning of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, because he knew Ahmadinejad intended to heap blame on the “regime” and perhaps even Khamenei himself for the currency crisis when queried.

“There is no doubting this point that the ninth and 10th governments more than any time previously in the life of the Islamic Republic, have enjoyed the powers of the Guardianship of the Jurist and the support of the Leader of the regime; Mahmoud Ahmadinejad more than any head of government in the history of the revolution is indebted to the special support of the Leader. While the honourable head of government [Ahmadinejad] [showed his] gratitude with behaviour like resisting the [Supreme Leader’s] executive order for five days for the removal of [Esfandiar Rahim] Mashaei for first vice president [Ahmadinejad had initially appointed Mashaei first vice president in 2009], staying at home for 11 days in the face of the executive order [of the Supreme Leader] for the reinstatement of the minister of intelligence and a variety of other actions incompatible with the [appropriate] respect regarding the Leader, of which the last one was a letter mocking the guidance of the Leader to the heads of the branches [of government] on unity and [Ahmadinejad’s] non-appearance at the mourning ceremony hosted by the Leader. This kind of engagement between the heads of government and the Guardian Jurist [Khamenei], whether in the time of Imam Khomeini or the era of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei is unprecedented.”

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Moderate outlet Tabnak Slams Hamas Leaders

Tabnak, close to Expediency Discernment Council Secretary Mohsen Rezaei, has published an article critical of the Hamas leadership in reaction to a statement by Mousa Abu Marzook, the deputy chief of Hamas’s political bureau, who is currently based in Cairo, having left Damascus in 2012.

The article is titled “Why have the leaders of Hamas become forgetful?” claiming from the outset that “the problem of forgetfulness day by day is becoming more acute amongst the Hamas authorities.”

Abu Marzook is quoted by Tabnak as having commented, “if Iran doesn’t want to provoke public opinion in the Arab world against it, it must review its support for the Syrian government. … Iran doesn’t have a good standing in the Arab world and for this reason in order not to lose [the favor] of public opinion in the Arab world, it must review its politics with respect to Syria. … Hamas’ disagreement with this request of Iran [i.e., that Hamas provide more support for the Syrian regime and which Marzook claims Hamas rejected] has affected our relations with Iran.”

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Ayatollahs Mesbah Yazdi and Rafsanjani square off?

Over the weekend, Hojjat al-Islam Jalali, the head of Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi’s office and a senior member of the Endurance Front for the Islamic Revolution, delivered a speech in Mashhad in which he vehemently attacked  former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. While there has long been a rivalry between the two ayatollahs, this is perhaps the most overt and stinging attack on the incumbent head of the Expediency Discernment Council.

Jalali takes particular exception to Hashemi Rafsanjani’s repeated recommendations for a “national unity government” which in the advent of the dispute 2009 election and the ongoing house arrest of opposition leaders Mehrdi Karroubi and Mir Hossein Mousavi, calls for a power sharing agreement with Reformist leaders and Hashemi Rafsanjani’s own allies, the Karogozaran-e sazandegi, or the Executives for Reconstruction.

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Majles Speaker Larijani meets with President Assad in Damascus

Majles Speaker Ali Larijani met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and representatives of Palestinian groups residing in Damascus.

During his speech at the Iranian embassy in the Syrian capital, Larijani made a number of critical comments, alleging “some countries in the region that don’t enjoy democracy themselves cannot create political reforms and democracy in Syria.”

Also striking a negative note vis-à-vis the prospect of negotiations with the Western powers, he said, “America and the West won’t give anything to anyone in negotiations … All the plans till today which have been suggested by America and the West regarding Palestine have been defeated.”

“With the presence of Hezbollah, many successes have been obtained and if the spirit of resistance and struggle was not in Palestine the victories won up to now would not have been obtained … in the last three decades the state of the Americans and Zionists has been facing decline, the example of which we witnessed in Afghanistan and Iraq.”

On the Gaza conflict, Larijani was equally forthright, stating that Israel has been damaged both politically and in terms of its security as a result: “What is growing in the region is resistance … because Syria performs a fundamental role in the resistance, America accompanied by some Western countries and the Zionist regime are trying to fabricate problems and create of insecurity.”

Larijani met with Ahmed Jibril, the head of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, who alongside Larijani claimed, “The honourable position of Iran with respect to Palestine is a reason for pride amongst all the resistance groups.”

Referencing Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s infamous comment dubbing Israel a “cancerous tumour,” Jibril added, “the Islamic Republic from the outset till now has not changed this Islamically lawful position and it adheres to the words of Imam Khomeini …The nation of Palestine has crossed difficult circumstances  and we clearly announce that Palestine is in pursuit of the destruction of Israel.”

Larijani also and more importantly met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. It has been reported that Assad thanked Larijani for Iran’s help and efforts in support of Syria and stated that his regime “in addition to combating terrorism will take steps on the path toward the successful advancement of national dialogue.”

Assad also reportedly thanked Iran for organizing a conference in Tehran with the “Syrian opposition,” to promote national dialogue.

In reply to a journalist’s question at the end of Assad and Larijani’s meeting, Assad stated “there is perpetual contact between us and the Iranian authorities [and] in all respects.”

Larijani also stated, “When some regional countries don’t even send a single shell for the Palestinians [and] are scared, the government and nation of Syria has put all its resources in the control of the nation of Palestine and this has resulted in some of the powers of the region sending armed groups to Syria.”

Ala’oddin Boroujerdi, the head of the Majles’ National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, has told Fars News, close to the Revolutionary Guards, that “the defeat of the Zionist regime in the 9-day war with the resistance is the fourth defeat of this regime by the resistance …The first defeat of the usurping Zionist regime was in 2000 with the liberation of the occupied territory of southern Lebanon by Hezbollah; the second time was in the 33-day war with Hezbollah and the third when it faced defeat in the 22-day war with Gaza. This time for the fourth time after nine days of war they were again defeated by the warriors of Hamas and the resistance …The duration until the Zionist regime’s defeat in the face of the resistance warriors of Gaza has decreased to 9 days, which means the beginning of the destruction of the Zionist regime as an illegitimate, usurping regime in Palestine.”

Boroujerdi concluded by saying, “The Hamas authorities have clearly stated that the resistance without the financial and military aid of Iran could not attain victory, which is also a source of pride for the regime of the Islamic Republic and the Revolution.”

Image of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Majles Speaker Ali Larijani in Damascus via Fars News

 

 

Hardliners Slam Hamas Over Ties with Qatar, Turkey

Serat News, close to the  hardline Kayhan institute has published an article entitled “Mr. Meshaal, Mr. Haniyeh, where is Qatar? Where is Turkey?” The article offers a brief ‘history’ of the Arab-Israeli conflict and then goes on to call Iran’s Islamic Revolution of 1979 the “turning point in the transformations of Palestine” because “the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran created a renewed motivation in the Palestinian movements for combating the Zionist regime.”

“One of these groups was the Hamas movement, whose original objective and motivation in the formation of this group was the establishment of the goals of the Islamic Revolution in Palestine.”

However, “a review of the dualistic positions of the leaders of this group in recent months is devoid of kindness. One of these leaders is Khaled Meshaal, the head of the Hamas political bureau. He, who has enjoyed the unflinching support of the Islamic Republic in all areas, in relation to the Syria Crisis adopted a different and astonishing position. He supported regime change in Syria when he was the guest of the government of the Assad family for many years. When no country in the West supported this group, Bashar Assad in the capacity of steadfast patron backed him. Recently Meshaal, at the ceremony of the Justice and Development Party of Turkey, addressed Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as the leader of the Islamic world and stated his support for the biggest enemy of Bashar al-Assad.”

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Khamenei Warning Temporarily Halts Ahmadinejad’s Critics

Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in a meeting this morning with members of Iran’s Basij paramilitary force remarked on a number of important issues relating to his previous calls for unity and cooperation among the various branches of government that have been at odds in recent weeks. Of particular note was the fiery exchange of letters between President Mahmud Ahmadinejad and Judiciary Chief Sadeq Larijani over the former’s desire to visit Evin prison. In the aftermath of that exchange, Khamenei stepped in and in unprecedented fashion said that those who aired their differences publicly before the presidential election scheduled for June 2013 were perpetrating “treason.” In the aftermath of this speech, the three heads of the respective branches, Ali Larijani, the speaker of the Majles, Sadeq Larijani and Ahmadinejad wrote to the Supreme Leader stating that they would abide by his order.

Nevertheless, Ahmadinejad’s critics in the Majles had petitioned for his being summoned to answer questions in the aftermath of the collapse of the Iranian currency, the rial. The requisite number of signatures were gathered and it seemed that imminently the president would become the first Iranian president to be summoned to answer questions before the Majles for the second time in a single term.  As the date of the president’s appearance was to be scheduled in the coming week, Khamenei has stepped in and expressed his opposition to the proposal, again stressing it to be contrary to unity in the face of unparalleled Western pressure against the Islamic Republic.

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Intelligence Ministry Slams Alleged CIA Support for Opposition

The Reformist daily Etemaad has covered a report published by the Ministry of Intelligence which claims that “opposition to the regime will never be unified.” The report is titled “The attempt of the spy organizations of America for unifying the defeated anti-revolutionary elements in exile.”

Among the key claims are that the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has been taking a leading role in funding opposition conferences across Europe (e.g., London, Paris, Stockholm), but also Washington and is trying its utmost to obscure the arguments and differences which continue to divide the Iranian opposition outside the country.

The report claims one opposition conference held at the Hampton Hotel in Washington and titled “Transition to Democracy” was funded by the Saudi Arabian monarchy and alleges further that it was the brainchild of the Iran Desk at the CIA.

“In sum, with the existence of manifest differences it seems that a unity, even apparent, will never materialize between the opposition and in truth this miserable dream of the enemy’s intelligence services will not be realized.”

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Qods Force Leader Calls Gaza Outcome ‘Predictable’

The elusive head of the Revolutionary Guards’ Qods Force, Brig. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, in the course of a memorial ceremony for soldiers of the Iran-Iraq war yesterday held in Qom, claimed that “the result of the Gaza war will be like the 33 day-war [in Lebanon 2006]”.

“In any war it is possible that extraordinary events occur, the example of which we saw in the 33 day and 22 day war and today the result of a war initiated by the occupying regime against Gaza is predictable.”

Referring to the religious aspect of wars, he said: “The Americans came to Iraq and Afghanistan when none of them can accept the religions of Christianity and Judaism or other religions, for these wars to be the sponsor of these religions.” This is in contrast to the Iran-Iraq war where “the Sacred Defense [one of the official terms used to the Iran-Iraq war] was the sponsor of our religion …The Sacred Defense was the only war where the most outstanding scholar and jurist and human being gave the seal of approval; according to the Supreme Leader the personality of Imam Khomeini was incomparable after the Infallibles [the Prophet Mohammad, his daughter Fatemeh and the 12 Imams].”

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