Iran, Sept 21: The Revolutionary Guards Under Pressure
LATEST: Journalists Call for Relaunch of Association After 2010 Shutdown
SUMMARY: Days after President Rouhani told the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps to stay out of politics, the Guards found themselves under pressure on Friday…and from an unexpected quarter.
Rouhani was careful in his speech to the IRGC to say it could retain its large economic interests, but Tehran Friday Prayer leader Ayatollah Jannati, who is also head of the Guardian Council, was not so reassuring from the pulpit yesterday: “IRGC commanders must maintain the current spirit so greed does not emerge in them, because if they pursue money they will no longer be considered Guardsmen.”
The Guards, who are on the back foot in a political battle with Rouhani over authority, tried to set up a defence line with statements about their power and protection of the Iranian people. Deputy Commander Hossein Salami proclaimed:
The IRGC is the only institution that was able to change the military and security calculations and formulas of humanity’s greatest empire. The IRGC is the only institution that was able to block the path of Arrogance’s domination over the Islamic world and intelligently identify the revolution’s future opportunities and the evolution of combat with Arrogance.
The Guards’ Socio-Cultural Deputy, Hamid Reza Moghaddam Far, in convoluted fashion, replied to Rouhani’s attempt to keep the IRGC out of politics, saying that the creation of the IRGC as a force created to preserve the Revolution is “not the whole truth“:
The IRGC cannot be summarized like this. Because it is possible that it can be imagined as a conservative force, for the IRGC to just sit and watch when a threat and attack emerges against the Revolution for it to defend against it, while if nothing happens it will stand on the side and not do anything. Therefore, this outlook is within the conservative and threat central complex.
And a Commander of the IRGC’s engineering and construction branch, Khatam ol-Anbia, Ebadollah Abdollahi, defended the Guards’ economic activities:
The IRGC is never a competitor and has never made the scene tighter for the private sector. It only conducts its duty based on its message….
Some discussions are unfair and an extortion of the IRGC complex. We enter the construction field based on duty and have never been a private sector competitor. IRGC and Khatam ol-Anbia is a security umbrella to defend the private sector.
Journalists Call for Relaunch of Association After 2010 Shutdown
Iranian reporters have called on ministries to approve a relaunch of the Association of Iranian Journalists.
Badrolsadat Mofidi, a member of the Association, said a letter was sent three weeks ago to the Ministries of Intelligence, Employment, and Culture to re-establish the independent organization.
Mofidi said there were no formal orders to dissolve the body, shut down in 2010 by Ministry of Intelligence amid protests after the disputed re-election of President Ahmadinejad.
Senior Official: Don’t Get Too Excited Over Release of Political Prisoners
A “senior judicary official” has damped down excitement over this week’s release of 16 political prisoners, telling Mehr that there are no further release lists and that those who have been freed were let out conditionally, for example, because their jail term was ending.
Getting Excited Over a Rouhani-Obama Meeting?
How excited are Iranians about the prospect of high-level contact with the US?
Aftab’s front page on Saturday envisages a meeting between Barack Obama and Hassan Rouhani at the United Nations next week:
A New Political Prisoner
In the week that 16 political prisoners were released, another activist has been put behind bars: dissident writer and blogger Ahmadreza Najdad was arrested while leaving Iran.
Rouhani Government Praises Supreme Leader’s “Heroic Flexibility”
Unsurprisingly — given Ayatollah Khamenei’s implicit endorsement of President Rouhani’s authority to negotiate on issues such as Iran’s nuclear program and Syria, as well as to sort out the economy — leading Rouhani advisor Akbar Torkan praised the Supreme Leader’s declaration of “heroic flexibility” this week: “Heroic flexibility does not mean retreating against the enemy, but rather achieving the system’s interest by relying on principles and values.”