Iran Daily: Supreme Leader’s Top Advisor Steps Back from Challenge to Government

The military advisor to Iran’s Supreme Leader has retreated from his denunciation of the Rouhani Government, amid tensions over the critical economic situation and protests.

General Yahya Rahim Safavi (pictured) said, after the breakout of demonstrations in Tehran and other Iranian cities earlier this week, “Sometimes it seems the country would be managed better and in a more appropriate way without the government.”

But, after Presidential senior advisor Mohammad-Baqer Nobakht pushed back, Safavi issued a message of unity on Wednesday:

Now that the satanic triangle of United States, the Zionist Regime, and the Saudis try to weaken the Islamic Republic and create dissatisfaction and despair among people, it is the duty of all of us to strive to coordinate and help the government and other branches to solve the economic problems and defuse the enemies’ plots regarding economic and psychological war.

Nobakht had responded to Safavi with the command of Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic, that the military should refrain from intervention in politics.

Perhaps more importantly, President Hassan Rouhani assisted reconcilation with a nationally-televised speech in which he put the blame for Iran’s economic turmoil on a US-led “economic and psychological war”:

If there is hardship, we will endure it together and won’t give in, we will protect our historic dignity and defeat the United States in the fight of wills.

The words accompanied the Supreme Leader’s address to the judiciary on the same day, “We need to act firmly against the enemy, the spiteful, conspirators, and accusers.”

Iran’s fragile economy, facing expanded American sanctions after US withdrawal from the July 2015 nuclear deal, was further rocked last weekend by a 20% drop in the value of the Iranian Rial in less than 48 hours.

The devaluation spurred demonstrations in Tehran’s cellphone markets on Sunday. Protests in the Tehran Bazaar on Monday spread to the streets, with marchers heading towards the Parliament building before they were dispersed by police. Closures in markets and demonstrations were also reported from Tabriz in northwest Iran to Qeshm Island in the Persian Gulf.

Government intervention on Monday brought a short-lived recovery of the Rial, but the currency is sliding again. This morning it is reported at 85,000:1 vs. the US dollar, nearing its all-time low of 90,000:1 set last weekend.

The Rial has halved in value since January.

Scott Lucas is Professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham and editor-in-chief of EA WorldView. He is a specialist in US and British foreign policy and international relations, especially the Middle East and Iran. Formerly he worked as a journalist in the US, writing for newspapers including the Guardian and The Independent and was an essayist for The New Statesman before he founded EA WorldView in November 2008.

1 COMMENT

  1. They are already stabbing each other in the back like a pack of starving wolves. And the Egg Protests have only just flared up again.

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