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Rouhani Meets IRGC Senior Commanders to Diffuse Tension - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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London – Two weeks before the presidential constitutional oath and announcement for the new government lineup, Iranian President Hasan Rouhani continued his consultations with decision makers in the country.

The President met with five senior commanders of Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) in an attempt to diffuse tensions, stressing that unity among all forces and institutions is essential for the realization of the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s guidelines and serving the people.

As Iranians look forward to Supreme Leader’s position in the upcoming government, local media reported the meeting between the President and IRGC commanders including: Commander of IRGC Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani, IRGC Aerospace Commander Amir Ali Hajizadeh, Basij Commander Gholam-Hossein Gheybparvar, and Deputy Chief of Sarallah unit Esmael Kosari.

Over the past month, deep differences surfaced between the IRGC and the government. Yet, an official statement of the meeting reported friendly atmosphere without any further details on whether the government formation was discussed or not.

Since his election, Rouhani criticized IRGC’s policies describing guards as “the government with gun”, hinting that the IRGC is interfering in the government’s authorities.

During the presidential campaign, the President was very critical of the guards for revealing ballistic missiles’ warehouse saying they are attempting to hamper the government after the sanctions’ lift off.

He also accused the military officials of interfering in the elections to support his conservative opponent Ebrahim Raeisi.

The disagreement initially was about who gave orders to launch six ballistic missiles in addition to varying statements on the attack executed by Iranians belonging to ISIS on the parliament and Khomeini’s shrine.

In his turn, IRGC Commander General Mohammad Ali Jafari rejected Rouhani’s criticism of his forces’ involvement in Iran’s economy and defended his forces’ track record.

Jafari blasted the president’s remarks and emphasized that the IRGC is the main guarantor of Iran’s security and stability.

“A government without a gun is humiliated and ultimately forced to surrender,” he said, adding that the Iranian people need the IRGC’s help now more than ever.

In addition, Quds Force commander Qassem Suleimani warned against weakening the Islamic forces by “exposing them to various attacks”, adding that the IRGC has fought an “international war defending its allies in Syria and Iraq.”

Quds Force Commander said that had it not been for the Revolutionary Guard, the country would not have existed.

Rouhani is set to recite his oath and announce his government before the Parliament on August 5.

IRGC is currently pressuring to gain major ministries: defense, interior, and oil. Sources close to the matter suggested that current Defence Minister Hossein Dehghan is likely to remain in position, while other Iranian sources reported that Rouhani is looking forward to assigning an army commander instead.

During the meeting, Rouhani appreciated efforts exerted by the IRGC forces and hoped for armed forces attempts to serve the needs of people.

He also wished that armed forces will bolster their combat powers using modern technologies to safeguard the country. He also expressed hope that all institutions and responsible organs boost their efficiency with more clarity in their specialized fields and guaranteeing national security by increasing the IRGC’s and the Army’s combating power through modern technology.

He also hoped that, during the new government’s tenure, the coordinated efforts of all armed forces would quickly accelerate the fulfillment of the people’s demands and all responsible institutions and organizations, with full transparency in their field of expertise.

The Iranian president highlighted government’s support of IRGC services.

Meanwhile, IRGC Commander Major General Jafari congratulated Hassan Rouhani’s re-election as president. He also extended IRGC’s readiness to maintain all-out cooperation with the government in realizing Islamic Revolution’s objectives.

During the meeting, commanders praised the government’s support in reinforcing defense power and also fighting terrorism in the region.

Commander of Basij Forces Gholamhossein Gheybparvar was the only IRGC leader to congratulate Rouhani following his re-election.

In other news, 70 economic experts sent an open letter to Iranian president warning against falling under political pressures and bargains in the formation of his economic team of the new government.

The experts advised that some candidates for economic positions do not have the suitable requirements.

The signees, most of which are scholars and university professors, said that they do not support any certain party or group, but want a qualified economic team as part of the new government ready to face the economic challenges.