PHOTO: Chief of State of Iranian Armed Forces, General Hassan Firouzabadi


The head of Iran’s military, General Hassan Firouzabadi, has endorsed the July 14 nuclear deal with the 5+1 Powers.

Firouzabadi, listing 16 advantages of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, said he was supporting implementation despite concerns about possible “misinterpretations” by US officials that could lead to non-nuclear-related sanctions.

Firouzabadi said that the agreement with the 5+1 (US, Britain, France, Germany, China, and Russia) had recognized Iran’s right to enrich uranium, and praised the removal of sanctions on Tehran. He added that other advantages had been overlooked, such as the encouragement of non-military cooperation between Iran and other countries.

The General lauded members of the Iranian negotiating team for their “honesty and sustained efforts”.

Most members of the Iranian regime are supporting approval of the deal, but there has been resistance by some hardline MPs and clerics.

See Iran Daily, August 8: Leading Cleric — “Nuclear Deal Violates Supreme Leader’s Red Lines”

And in a sign of their criticism — if not open defiance — of the agreement, the Revolutionary Guards put a far different emphasis on Firouzabadi’s comments in their outlet Fars News: “Iran’s Military Chief Voices Concern about West’s Misuse of Vienna Deal”.

The article never refers to Firouzabadi’s statement of support for the deal.

Rafsanjani Clash With Hardliners Escalates

In the latest battle between former President Hashemi Rafsanjani — the mentor of President Rouhani — and hardliners, Rafsanjani has responded to critics:

Some people before the Revolution had their own life in their “villages” and did not care about politics and revolution and Imam [Khomeini]. Now all of a sudden they have become more revolutionary than the revolutionaries.

Hardliners quickly replied. MP Rouhollah Hosseinian demanded that Rafsanjani apologize for his remarks and said the former President should not forget that he was a villager once. MP Mohammad Reza Amiri said, “Rafsanjani’s remarks are not in interest of the revolution….He must change his manners”

Hamid Reza Tarraqi, a senior member of the conservative Motalefeh party, said that Rafsanjani had insulted villagers, who would react to his remarks. Hardliners followed with the online campaign, “I am a Villager”, condemning the former President.

In the harshest attack, MP Karimi Ghodousi said in Parliament and said that Rafsanjani should sit at home and not interfere in politics: “Our people have not forgotten that Rafsanjani and his family were at the center of the 2009 ‘sedition’ [mass protests after the disputed Presidential election].”

The argument flared as Rafsanjani’s son, Mehdi Hashemi, began serving his 10-year sentence in Evin Prison. Writing on Facebook just before going into detention, Hashemi asked for public trials and referred to his father’s imprisonment under the Shah: “Evin is eternal and is not destroyed. Once it hosted my father and now I’ll be its guest.”

The Rafsanjani-hardliner battle is likely to become more intense as Iran moves towards two important elections in early 2016. In February, the Rouhani-Rafsanjani bloc, probably in alignment with reformists, will hope to chip away at the hardliner power in Parliament. Weeks later, Rafsanjani will try again to win the chair of the Assembly of Experts — the body which chooses the Supreme Leader and which the former President headed from 2007 to 2011 — after failures in 2011 and March 2015.