Political Mobilization as Concerns over Blacklisting Revolutionary Guard Grow

London- A number of options is lined up at US President Donald Trump’s desk on containing the ever-expanding threat Iran poses against regional and international security. Counter-actively, Tehran spares no time in preparing responsive scenarios to the anticipated change in Washington policy. 

On Wednesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani kicked of the national cabinet meeting by issuing an explicit warning on the widespread concerns of the Revolutionary Guard being blacklisted and the nuclear deal scrapped.

The US president is expected to “decertify” Iran’s nuclear deal with global powers this week and add its Revolutionary Guards military force to Washington’s blacklist under a strategy to increase pressure on Tehran.

Foreign Minister Mohamed Javad Zarif discussed behind parliament’s closed doors multiple possible scenarios to confront any drastic change in US policies towards the nuclear deal, and White House’s attempt to restrain Revolutionary Guard’s regional interference.

Tehran’s confusion and political state of top alertness comes at a time when several international parties have jumped into consultations, in an attempt to persuade Trump to uphold the Vienna nuclear agreement, 21 months after it going into force.

Rouhani, despite being cited to have controversy with the country’s conservatives, gave a full-throated defense of his one-time rivals in the Revolutionary Guards, as the country’s pragmatist and hardline factions rallied together in the face of threats from Trump.

“If someone backs out of an international deal, he’s the loser, not the one who doesn’t,” Rouhani said during the cabinet meeting.

He said US action against the Guards would be a “mistake beyond mistakes”.

“Sticking to a deal shows the dignity of a state and to what extent its government is trustworthy,” he added.

“They think that the Guards are a military entity. The Revolutionary Guards are not a military entity. They’re in the heart of the people. The Revolutionary Guards, in all the days of danger, have defended our national interests,” he said.

“We’re one society. We’re Iran. There are no differences between differentfactions in confronting the plots of our enemies,” he added.

During an unprecedentedly bitter campaign, he repeatedly spoke out in public against the political influence of the Guards, accusing them of backing his hardline opponent to defend their economic interests.

In recent days, however, the threat of new action from Washington has prompted a public display of unity from the rival factions among Iran’s rulers.

“Today, the president of America has created conditions where Iran is more united than ever. Today, those who oppose the nuclear deal and those who support it are side by side. We all have one voice,” Rouhani said.

Trump is expected to unveil a broad strategy on confronting Iran this week, likely on Friday. There was always the chance he could still have a last-minute change of heart and certify Iran’s compliance with the 2015 accord, which he has called an “embarrassment” and the “worst deal ever negotiated.”

Tehran Studying Entry of UN Inspectors into Iranian Military Bases

London- Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Sunday that his country’s cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) must not surpass Iran’s red lines.

“We will pursue our course of cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency within the framework of our past obligations and we will surely not surpass the Islamic Republic of Iran’s red lines,” he said.

Qassemi warned that his country would not “surrender to the excessive demands of certain governments,” adding: “The agency, considering its level of independence and (role to have in) safeguarding its international stature, is unlikely to give in to the illogical and unrealistic demands that others may (try to) force on them.”

He went on to say that Iran would not “permit any entry into the zones forbidden under the JCPOA.”

“The agency’s inspections will for sure be conducted within the frame of our internal policies,” the spokesman added.

This came in the context of Iranian reactions to the visit of US Ambassador Nikki Haley last week to Vienna, which Tehran described in a letter to the IAEA Director as “a violation of the nuclear agreement.”

Haley said following the visit that she had pressed the IAEA to seek access to Iranian military bases.

“We are encouraging the IAEA to use all the authorities they have and to pursue every angle possible,” she stated.

For his part, Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, told reporters on Sunday that his country was trying to call a meeting of the foreign ministers of the 5+1 group – the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany – to address the US administration’s policy towards the nuclear deal on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly Summit in New York, to be held September 12 to 25.

“Our foreign minister is likely to take action over convening a meeting of the foreign ministers of Iran and 5+1,” Salehi said.

Commenting on the US request to search Iranian military sites, Salehi said: “Some are trying to damage the nuclear agreement.”

The Iranian official said he believed the US administration was suffering from “strategic confusion”

“This confusion will harm the Americans before hurting the Iranian side,” he warned.

Soleimani Warns against Sectarian Sedition in Iran

London- Iran’s Quds Force chief Qassem Soleimani admitted on Sunday to allies inside Iran and abroad criticism on his division’s participation in Syria.

Soleimani said that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has taken the decision with the country’s best interest in mind, regardless whether the intervention was defending a dictator or not.

The Quds Force is a special forces unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards responsible for their extraterritorial operations. The Quds Force reports directly to Khamenei, and its commander is Soleimani.

Speaking in Tehran, Soleimani for the first time made note of an internal opposition on an official level concerning the military intervention the Revolutionary Guard is leading in Syria and Iraq.

“High-end friends on the inside and the outside had asked for us not to interfere in Syria and Iraq, and had defended the revolution in a respectful way,” said Soleimani.  

“Do we consider our relations with other countries as to who is a dictator and otherwise, or must we choose interests?” Fars news agency, Revolutionary Guards mouthpiece, cited Soleimani as saying.

Referring to Iranian military forces staging missions in Syria and Iraq, Soleimani claimed that his country takes credit for allegedly “linking Sunni and Shi’ite sects,” stressing that his country “reached unprecedented strength” because of what he saw as Khamenei’s “influential” role.

The Quds Force has been leading a coalition of Iranian, Afghan and Pakistani fighters as well as Lebanese Hezbollah and an Iraqi militia in Syria for six years.

Soleimani denied that his country had advanced its interests over those of Iraq’s or had sought control over oil wells and the Iraqi cities of Mosul and Kirkuk, and also repudiated information on his forces getting paid for their participation abroad.

“The Shi’ite crescent is not political but economic, the most important issue in the world is economic,” Soleimani had said on March 29, 2014, during a speech in which he defended the role of his forces in the region.

Since reports started coming in on Revolutionary Guard fighters being killed abroad, Tehran has denied the presence of troops in Syria, but later said that its military forces are taking up an “advisory” role in Iraq and Syria at the official request of the governments of both countries.

Responding to accusations directed towards Iran for destabilizing the region, Soleimani said “we through sects have prevented sectarian war, not military force.”

However, for six years, the Revolutionary Guards have refused to reveal their losses abroad, whether in fighters or expenses. Last month, Soleimani said defense ministry factories manufactured weapons around the clock to arm Tehran-allied Iraqi forces.

Although Soleimani stressed the “linkage of Shi’ite and Sunni sects” in Syria and Iraq, he warned at the same time of the “danger of sectarian strife” inside Iran. He called for activating the role of mosques in Iran to “rehabilitate” fighters.

Tehran Seeks to Boost Quds Force, Ballistic Missiles Spending

London- Iran’s parliament voted yes on Sunday to a bill increasing government funds backing the Revolutionary Guards’ paramilitary unit, Quds Force, and the national ballistic missile program.

The increase is meant to counter recent US sanctions imposed against the Guard.

If the Guardian Council approves the bill, which is expected to do, the Iranian foreign ministry, the defense ministry, the Guards and the army will be asked to provide a “comprehensive and strategic program” to counter US threats and “anti-Iran activity.”

The plan should be presented within six months at most. A parliamentary committee is also tasked with monitoring US government and Congressional moves and proposing appropriate reciprocal measures to the Parliament.

Under terms of the bill, some $700 million will be put toward several projects, including the defense ministry and its intelligence agencies.

Among the agencies receiving money would be the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds force, an expeditionary force run by Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who has been advising forces in Syria and Iraq.

The Guard, separate from Iran’s conventional military forces, answers only to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

Visas for American officials involved with the Iranian exile group called the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq will be banned.  

Gulf Cooperation Council Assistant Chief for political affairs and negotiations Dr. Abdul Aziz al-Owaishek told Asharq Al-Awsat that the GCC will soon sit over a US-held meeting to discuss ways to “deter Iran and Hezbollah activity,” adding that the they will mull future approaches on dealing with those blacklisted.

State-run IRNA news agency also said the bill referred to the money being used to improve Iran’s defense against a nuclear attack and develop nuclear propellers. In December, Iranian President Rouhani ordered officials to draw up plans on building nuclear-powered ships, something that appears to be allowed under the nuclear deal, over an earlier dispute on US sanctions under the Obama administration.

IRNA reported that 247 lawmakers attended the voting session, with 240 approving the spending plan and one lawmaker abstaining.

Iran denies that it had violated a UN resolution which endorsed Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal, preventing them from conducting activities related to ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons.

Seflies with Mogehrini Stir Criticism in Iran

Iranian Deputies try to take selfie with Federica Mogherini

London – Iranian lawmakers came under fire after a number of members of the Parliament rushed to take photos with EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini.

Mogherini visited Tehran on Saturday for the country’s presidential inauguration of President Hasan Rouhani’s second term.

Shortly after the ceremony ended, the top diplomat was surrounded by several MPs snapping pictures with their phones.

Social media users expressed their surprise for the situation after the pictures circulated online showing the politicians around Mogherini as Deputy Foreign Minister for Consular, Parliamentary, and Expatriates’ Affairs Hasan Qashqavi was trying to take a group photo.

Twitter users remained critical, with one replying that the MPs had “embarrassed the nation”.

Tasnim News Agency was the first to post the pictures, prompting social media ridicule and many users labeled their actions as “humiliating”. Social media users took the opportunity to shed light on the issues women suffer from in Iran.

Fars semi-official news agency, considered close to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), described the MPs’ behavior as “strange” and used the “selfie of shame” hashtag.

MP Alireza Salimi called the behavior “self-surrender to the West” and told Mehr News Agency that a committee on the conduct of members may probe the incident, especially if other MPs complain that the selfies caused “contempt” for Parliament.

This isn’t the first time that a picture of the Iranian parliament stirs controversy. In 2012, media outlets posted images of members of parliament sleeping during a session. The incident led to a vote on limiting the access of photojournalists, which didn’t receive enough votes to pass it.

Before heading to Iran, Mogherini received criticism from several human rights groups as Amnesty International called upon the EU to address the human rights’ violations in the country.

Some tried to use the presence of Reformist lawmakers around the EU official to attack the Reformist movement, while others considered that Mogherini’s political status was the reason behind the MPs’ interest.

Several political figures and artists commented on the matter, while Rouhani’s cultural adviser Hesam Ashena said that this is a cultural matter and not a political one, adding that: “every one of those esteemed MPs in that selfie should be interviewed seriously.”

An advisor to Iran’s former president, Sadegh Kharraz, said parliament members should attend “a training course on codes of conduct and universal moral values,” the BBC reported.

The incident also became an occasion for online users to generate funny photos and joke with several cartoonists drawing Mogherini and the lawmakers.

Twitter users compared pictures of the incident alongside that of Monica Belluci in the film Malena, in which the actress is surrounded by men offering to light her cigarette.

Iran’s reformist MP representing Shiraz Farajollah Rajabi apologized for the selfie which was an “inappropriate behavior of the representative of the people”, adding that it was done informally.

A Twitter user said that Mogherini will write in her memoir that she went to a country and didn’t see any female member of its parliament.

Rouhani Proposes Shamkhani for Prime Minister

Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani

London – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has proposed secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani for the position of minister of interior, according to knowledgeable sources.

Iranian government spokesperson Mohammad Nobakht stated that the formation is in its last stages, while ILNA news agency reported that Rouhani could change half his current government and only nine will keep their positions including that of foreign affairs, intelligence and petroleum.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is expected to sign Rouhani’s presidential decree for the second term and he will be sworn in before the parliament next Saturday, amid unprecedented security measures in Tehran.

Sources close to the matter told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that Rouhani is discussing with Shamkhani the position of an interior minister. Shamkhani was a former defense minister during the presidency of reformist President Mohammed Khatami.

Choosing Shamkhani for the ministry will be welcomed by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and would convince the Speaker Ali Larijani to drop his candidate.

Mehr news agency reported current Minister of Interior Rahmani Fazli saying that Rouhani had discussed with him the government’s formation. He didn’t, however, reveal whether he asked him to remain in position or not.

ILNA news agency reported that current vice president for executive affairs Mohammad Shariatmadari is the president’s candidate for the position of minister of industries and mines.

Office of Iran’s Supreme Leader issued a statement last Friday saying that the president is consulting the Supreme Leader about several names suggested for the ministries of security, defense, and foreign affairs without referring to the ministry of interior affairs.

Secretary of the Supreme National Security is considered one of the top official positions named by the Supreme Leader. Former Iranian reports suggested the transfer of current minister of defense Hossein Dehghan to the Supreme National Security Council.

Meanwhile, ILNA published a report saying that Rouhani agreed with Iranian Deputy Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami that he will be named as defense minister instead of Dehghan, whereas Minister of Intelligence Mahmoud Alawi will remain in his position.

Rouhani will most likely assign the current minister of information and communications technology Mahmoud Vaezi as his chief of staff, with reports saying that Vaezi will step down from office and assign one of his deputies instead.

ILNA also stated that the current ministers of justice and culture will be changed, with only nine ministers remaining in their positions including foreign affairs, intelligence, petroleum, and health.

Reformist MP Elias Hazrati stated earlier this week that the President will most likely announce the new government after his swearing-in ceremony.

Iranian government spokesperson Mohammad Nobakht said that the president has heard different opinions about the cabinet and he himself will make the final decision, adding that the president is committed to the demands of the people and invites the best and most appropriate figures.

Nobakht continued, “Instead of responding to the demands of certain political currents, Rouhani considers himself responsive to the demands of the people, while not forgetting and respecting the efforts and services of the political currents.”

Rouhani Meets IRGC Senior Commanders to Diffuse Tension

President Rouhani meeting with IRGC commanders

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.

Formation of Iranian Govt. Sparks Dispute between Rouhani, his Reformist Allies

Rouhani

London – Head of the Iranian reform policies committee Mohammed Reza Aref revealed deep divisions between the reformists and President Hassan Rouhani over the formation of the country’s new government.

The revelation was made weeks before the president is set to be officially sworn in to office after being elected for a second term earlier this year.

Intense efforts are being made to form a new cabinet. Aref has meanwhile demanded from Speaker Ali Larjani to urge Rouhani to “be open with the people over the country’s financial situation.”

He stressed that selling oil and gas does not comply with the Iranian budget.

Commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Mohammed Ali Jaafari also refused to stop his forces’ economic activity, saying that he cannot “stand idly by to the needs of the revolution and people.”

Aref directed a strongly worded rebuke to his “moderate” reformist ally Rouhani, saying that he “condemns the reformists for winning a second term in office” and demanding that consultations be made with the higher reform policies committee to form a new government.

He denied that his reform bloc was seeking a share of the government from Rouhani, adding however: “There is no doubt that his victory condemns the reformists. We want him to coordinate with the ‘Amal’ reform bloc to form a cabinet.”

“Some win victories, but forget those who toiled for him,” he said in an indirect reference to the reformists’ dispute with Rouhani.

The pro-Rouhani political “Intikhab” website noted that Aref’s change in stance towards the president came two days after meeting with him to discuss the formation of the new government.

It described Aref’s tone as “going against norms and ethics,” denying that the higher reform policies committee represents all reform forces.

“The committee is at the core of disputes among reformists,” added the website.

This is the first time that disputes between Rouhani and his reform allies are aired out in the open to such a degree, which indicates the reformists’ “quiet” return to political life after the 2009 elections. Aref said that his movement succeeded in regaining the trust of the public in wake of the 2013 polls. Aref had withdrawn from the presidential race that year in Rouhani’s favor.

Moreover, he defended the reformists’ rhetoric, adding that there are no disputes between them and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

Cracks between Rouhani and his reform allies started to appear before the parliament speaker elections that were held last months and two weeks after the announcement of the presidential elections results.

The Amal bloc had at the time accused pro-Rouhani ministers of orchestrating a campaign at parliament aimed at ousting deputy Speaker Ali Motahari.

The bloc even threatened to end its government alliance with Rouhani if the president’s ministers attempted to create confusion among the reform current at the parliament presidential authority.

In addition, Aref defended on Thursday the 2005 formation of the higher reform policies committee, denying the existence of any dispute between him and former President Mohammed Khatami.

The committee is trying to work on achieving reform away from partisan and individual interests, he stressed.

His statements were made in wake of demands made by a number of reform figures over the appointment of ministers who adhere to Rouhani’s slogans on economic and political reform and improving public freedoms in Iran. These slogans gave the president an edge against conservative candidates in the elections.

Reform MP Gholam-Ali Jafarzadeh rejected the criticism against Rouhani, saying Aref’s remarks on the reformists’ influence on the results of the May presidential elections “harm the elected president.”

MP Ayman Abadi criticized how Rouhani’s role in the elections was being ignored, warning reformists against “thinking of obtaining a share in government.”

Meanwhile, Jaafari rejected on Thursday Rouhani’s criticism of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards role in Iran’s economy.

He said: “The Guards cannot ignore the needs of the revolution and the people.”

“We are prepared to carry out revolutionary work to help the people in order to give a chance to the private sector,” he added.

Earlier this year, Rouhani had stoked the anger of the Revolutionary Guards when he described its military wing as a “rifle-wielding government.”

Rouhani Calls for Activating Foreign Policy to Face USA

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Reuters

London- While Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani has called on Iranian President Hassan Rouhani “to make revolutionism his fundamental criterion,” the latter said that “being revolutionary means isolating the United States.”

Rouhani pointed out the need for the government to adopt an active foreign policy to face US policies.

For his part, Judiciary Chief Sadeq Larijani said that officials should identify their enemies’ policy, warning from the threat of infiltration and “extending a hand of friendship to the Americans while Washington calls for regime change.”

Meanwhile, the parliament speaker called for facing US policy and the new Senate law “confronting Iran’s destabilizing activities,” and warned against the judiciary’s entry into “internal conflicts,” noting that the economy is the country’s main issue.

The heads of the three authorities (Parliament, the judiciary, and the government) participated in the annual conference of the judicial system at a time when the country witnessed a dispute between Rouhani’s administration and the judiciary authority.

Rouhani defended his government’s policies in concluding the nuclear deal and the foreign policy in general, after the indirect brawl that took place in June between him and Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on the foreign policy.

“Enemies are trying to invent new stories and series every day to keep the government from solving the basic problems and occupy it with marginal issues, Rouhani said, explaining that the current problems in the country are not related to his government, but the problem is in the whole regime, the country, and the people.

Iran Judiciary Spokesman Says Spat between Rouhani, IRGC Indicates Growing ‘Sedition’

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a news conference in Islamabad

London- Iran Judiciary spokesman Mohsen Ejei said on Saturday that recent disputes registered across the national political and administrative figures point out to a looming threat of sedition. He also evoked the memory of ousted president Abolhassan Banisadr overlying on his popularity to attack ‘revolutionary’ powers in Iran.

“Banisadr was selfish and proud of the majority vote he had garnered,” Ejei said, a tacit reference to Rouhani’s groundbreaking vote of near 24 million this May that kept him for another four years in office.

Ejei, a representative of the conservative political wing, has said signs of “sedition” are seen on the horizon.
His remarks come as a veiled hint at criticism directed by the recently reelected President Hassan Rouhani against the Revolutionary Guard.

“Experience has shown that any act of sabotage against the IRGC and some revolutionary entities has been followed by some dangerous move,” Ejei said, IRIB news agency reported June 30.

The IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps) has been put under pressure recently both in Iran and from outside the country. President Rouhani recently said the IRGC should recognize its place as a non-partisan entity serving the nation, bidding it away from political and economic activities.

For his part, the Parliament’s Second Deputy Ali Motahari urged that any internal strife be tackled with direct dialogue instead of the war of words being exchanged via online platforms.

But the revolution forces also met harsh treatment from the United States last week when the Senate voted for a legislation that would impose new sanctions on it for its missile program.

Experts believe that the recent clash between Rouhani and the IRGC is, in fact, a campaign he has launched to garner the position of leadership after the 77-year-old Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei passes away.

Khamenei has been the single staunchest supporter of the IRGC and paved the way for it to capture the core of various sectors in Iran, ranging from culture to economy and homeland security.

Quds day marches hailed Rouhani with slogans drawing on Banisadr’s legacy.

In Iran, the government sponsors and organizes the International Quds Day’s rallies, and its celebration in that country has had a decade-long tradition of voicing anti-semitic attacks.

Quds Day is also held in several other countries, mainly in the Arab and Muslim world, with protests against Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem. Rallies are held in various cities by both Muslim and non-Muslim communities around the world.

On the other hand, IRGC Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari called Rouhani’s statements as biased, accusing the government of compromising its undertakings for funding the revolutionary guard.

Jafari stressed that the Revolutionary Guards will rely on their missiles, saying that arms power is vital to securing a regional role and facing enemies.