Shabake-ye Iran which is tied to the government affiliated Iran Newspaper has criticized a number of high ranking members of the Revolutionary Guard and their criticisms of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, going as far as to say, “perhaps Iran is the only country where some of its military servicemen up to this level, at any moment they desire, can attack the highest office [i.e. the presidency]”.
The article also complains of the lack of oversight vis-à-vis the political manoeuvring of the Revolutionary Guards, even frontally attacking Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s representative in the Revolutionary Guards, Hojjat al-Islam Ali Saeidi:
“Apparently the investigator in the Revolutionary Guards is the person of Hojjat al-Islam Saeidi, but his position is clear. Perhaps Mr. Saeidi needs at times an investigator himself”.
Over the last year Ahmadinejad’s relations with a section of the Revolutionary Guards has noticeably deteriorated, to some extent paralleling the president’s uneasy relationship with Iran’s Supreme Leader. As a result some frank criticism and jibes being exchanged between the two.
Shabake-ye Iran also claimed that the previous Political Deputy of the Revolutionary Guards, Ali Ashraf Nuri, was cast aside because of his “moderate” positions regarding the government. His successor by contrast, Commander Rasul Sanai Rad, is a known critic of President Ahmadinejad and the incumbent government. It has been implied on numerous occasions by government affiliated outlets that his appointment was political in nature.
Mostafa Tajzadeh, former deputy minister of the interior and one of Iran’s leading Reformist figures, currently imprisoned in Evin jail, has written a highly critical letter addressed to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, stating, “the result of your support for [Bashar] Assad is a war between Shia and Sunni.”
Tajzadeh stated that Khamenei’s “absolute defense” of the Syrian president was his biggest mistake of the last two years, adding that continuing such a policy will result in the expansion of the war to Lebanon and Iraq.
Tajzadeh also stressed that the confrontation in Syria is not merely one of the United States and West against Russia and China, but has been transformed into an “arena of struggles” between Salafi forces and non-Salafis, Shia Syrians, Iraqis and Lebanese.
Tajzadeh, who has written a number of critical letters to Iran’s leader since his arrest following Iran’s 2009 presidential election, added that following the Arab Spring it is clear that the people of the region have rejected the Iranian model for emulation. He further argued that the Arab world’s rejection of the Iranian model is due to the “absolute power of a person over 70 percent of the powers” of the state, claiming that “such a regime is similar to authoritarian regimes like that of the Pahlavis, Mubarak, Qaddafi and Assad.”
Brigadier General Mohammad Ali Jafari, the head of the Revolutionary Guards, explaining the Guards’ role in the Persian Gulf stated: “The Guards are a pillar for securing stability and the movement of energy in the Persian Gulf”.
Jafari’s speech was delivered in the course of his visit to Guard military installations in the Strait of Hormuz, where he emphasized further, “this great defensive capacity can be developed in the path of securing national security and the defensive strategies of the regime…The Guards with its naval power as the bestower of order, is a lever of power in the Persian Gulf region, and pursues its obligations in the sphere of guarding the Islamic Revolution…Our defensive components in the sea are an assurance and deterrent and this power and assurance has always been guaranteed with the strengthening of spirituality in the Guards”.
Hossein Naqavi Hosseini, the spokesman of the National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, has claimed “the Americans don’t want calm to be established in Iraq, because [if there is calm] relations between Iran and Iraq will be strengthened.”
He continued: “The Americans through their investment in terrorist groups and equipping of these individuals with the latest weaponry, have the intention of creating insecurity in Iraq, so that Iranian pilgrims cannot enter Iraqi soil on the brink of Arabaein [the Shi’i ceremony which is commemorated 40 days after the martyrdom of the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, Imam Hossein] … In line with the government of Saudi Arabia in secret activities with covert and widespread financial support for Baathist elements, they have the objective of targeting the Shia, and evacuating Iraq’s towns completely of the existence of Shias.”
Sahar Beheshti, the sister of Sattar Beheshti, a blogger who died in captivity at the now infamous Kahrizak detention center, has told the Green movement-affiliated website Kaleme that her elderly mother was beaten by security forces while attending a mourning ceremony marking the 40th day since her son’s death. According to Sahar Beheshti, her mother was beaten “in such a way that her foot has been severely injured.”
Video: Sattar Beheshti’s mother shouts: “I am proud of my son.”
The Reformist daily Etemaadhas 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.”
All the major Iranian news agencies have reported the comments of Iranian Defense Minister, Commander Ahmad Vahidi, in reaction to the US drone allegedly shot down by Iranian forces over international waters.
Vahidi is quoted by Fars News explicitly rejecting the claim that the US drone was in international waters: “A week ago an unrecognized drone entered the Islamic Republic of Iran’s airspace in the Persian Gulf and through the timely, intelligent and decisive action of the armed forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran it was forced to flee. … This, as well as previous experience indicates that the Islamic Republic of Iran through necessary vigilance, precisely observes all the necessary motions and with effective strength will take decisive and timely actions.”
Revolutionary Guards Chief, Mohammad Ali Jafari, has stated in a meeting with a reported 20,000 members of the Alborz Basij that “a military attack against Iran isn’t underway”, calling such threats “hollow” and “empty”. He added, “When the leaders of the regime occupying Jerusalem speak of an attack on Iran, immediately the leaders in the White House object to it and say we will not support a military attack on Iran”.
This statement is clearly Jafari’s attempt to moderate his alarmist comments last week in which said “we must all prepare for war”.
Jafari also exhorted the authorities to ensure the “complete remedy of economic threats and make more effort so that the people aren’t embroiled in difficulties”.
Commander Mohammad Ali Jafari, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) delivered an important speech at a press conference on Sunday, which has been reported by virtually all of the Iranian news outlets. What follows below is a summary and translation of the key parts of the Commander’s speech and some of his answers to journalists’ questions. The speech should be regarded as significant and news of the press conference was announced on several news agencies a number of days in advance.