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.

Khamenei Finger-Wagging Threatens Rouhani with Impeachment

Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, shown at a 2009 clerical gathering, oversees an organization called Setad that has assets estimated at about $95 billion.

London- Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei reiterated his concerns on polarization taking a toll on the country over political rifts among officials, labeling the situation as grave.

Khamenei made clear threats on ousting former president Abolhassan Banisadr from Iranian politics.

Evoking the memory of the 1980 standoff with the US, when the president played a major role in polarizing the public street, Khamenei demanded that national unity prevails.

Khamenei’s speech also warned current President Hassan Rouhani that he can be simply impeached over a political incompetence.

The war of words between Rouhani and Khamenei has remarkably simmered after Rouhani’s re-election, however not for Khamenei’s part.

Khamenei’s batch of warnings followed statements made by Rouhani on the difficulty of upholding peace and the ease of getting dragged into wars. Rouhani had also recalled the former Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini’s acceptance of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 598 in 1988, saying that he accepted ‘poison’ for peace and the sake of advancing the country’s national interests.

UNSC Resolution 598 called for an immediate ceasefire between Iran and Iraq and the repatriation of prisoners of war, and for both sides to withdraw to the international border.

Rouhani’s comments were considered a direct response to Khamenei’s remarks on paying the price of challenging others as opposed to compromise, saying that it cuts losses. The Supreme Leader is believed to have been referring to implementing a full-fledged nuclear program instead of a limited one in exchange of relieving the country from sanctions as stipulated by the nuclear deal.

It is the first time that Khamenei vows to impeach Rohani, despite the two having been going through a rough spat for over two years now

Before Khamenei’s remarks, Rouhani spoke about his government’s economic achievements and made promises to improve the economy.

“The period of competition is over and the demands of the people must be fulfilled,” said Rouhani.

The pragmatist president championed a nuclear deal with the United States and five other powers in 2015 that led to the lifting of most sanctions against Iran, in return for curbs on its nuclear program.

But the deal has not led to normalization of ties between the two countries that Rouhani hoped for.

For his part, Khamenei said Iran had no intention of normalizing ties with the US.

Khamenei’s hardline loyalists, drawn from among extremists and the Revolutionary Guards, fear that normalization of ties with the United States might weaken their position.

Iran Blocks Telegram

Iranian women take part in a reformist campaign for the upcoming parliamentary elections in Tehran, Feb. 20, 2016.

It is not strange that Iran is the only country in the Middle East that blocks services which are considered essential now like Twitter, Facebook, and WhatsApp as part of its continuous blackout policy. Tehran even disturbs the signal of several broadcast channels blocking citizens from any external media access.

Of all international social media applications available, Iranians are only left with the messaging application Telegram.

Telegram was formed by two Russian brothers and is headquartered in Germany. Almost 40 million Iranians use its voice messages, while 20 million use the application for texting. Being the only application available, this precious service is in high demand among Iranians who amount up to a quarter of Telegram’s users across the world.

But then the government quelled Iranians’ sole source of joy by blocking most of Telegram’s services, precisely the voice messages under the pretext of protecting national security.

The truth is that the regime blocked the application fearing it would affect the course of the upcoming elections; a course that had already been engineered.

Thousands of local candidates are “filtered” according to the criteria of the “democratic Iranian religious clerics”. In the end, only those whom they are satisfied with are allowed to run for elections. It is not a secret system and, eventually, no one is allowed to win the elections or even run for it if the Supreme Leader doesn’t agree.

The 2009 elections caused a great embarrassment both domestically and internationally because those who diverted from the leadership were figures licensed by the leaders of the regime to run for the elections.

The supreme leadership decided that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would become president and forged the results accordingly. This angered the candidates who had the best chance in winning and led to the famous “Green Movement” revolution, during which many died or were injured and arrested. The memory of the uprising has been haunting the authorities that believe this massive antagonist movement wouldn’t have been possible, especially in Tehran, hadn’t it been for Twitter and Facebook.

Indeed, back then al-Arabiya Channel relied almost completely on the videos, photos and information it received from those two platforms to cover the Iranian events after the authorities shut down its office and expelled its correspondent. The results were astounding! The regime was in confusion after images of the protests, clashes, and injuries were broadcast on international media outlets.

After reading a report published about a month ago in the Los Angeles Times about the influence of Telegram inside of Iran, I sensed the regime’s fear and anticipated its next move. The report mentioned that the security authorities had already begun warning users of political messages and forced anyone who owned a channel with over 5,000 subscribers to obtain a permit from the Ministry of Culture. The government then began a series of arrests for active users on the application.

Iran has now shut most of Telegram’s services hoping to contain the atmosphere of the parliamentary and presidential elections, which are mostly an encore of the same charade. Results can be partially or completely forged, even after the filtration and suspension done during the early stages of candidacy.

The regime is really concerned with controlling the reactions of the Iranian street to avoid the repetition of the Green Revolution.

No surprises on the level of the presidential elections are expected because the approved candidates are just copies of each other.

Even former President Ahmadinejad, despite his importance and history, was banned by the Supreme Leader from running for this election. Ahmadinejad shocked everyone and announced himself a candidate with a series of clarifications and apologetic statements saying he didn’t disobey the directives of the Supreme Leader. He pledged to withdraw from the elections after the first round and said he only participated to support his friend, a presidential candidate, and give him the media and public attention.

Opinion: Iran and the Struggle Caused by Opening Up

Three ministers from Hassan Rouhani’s government have resigned as a result of extremists criticising them with regards to the conflict caused by Iran signing a nuclear agreement with the west and the government’s promise to start a new phase of opening up. Since Ayatollah Khomeini’s regime was established, Iran has been economically and socially closed off from the rest of the world and this has continued to the present day. After the agreement, the government gave young people reason to hope that Iran would open up and showed remarkable flexibility towards freedom of expression, allowed the use of social media networks, reduced its control over the internet, allowed women to participate in sports activities in public and attend concerts.

Despite what has been said about the Supreme Leader’s approval of the government’s decisions, a struggle for influence broke out between two teams within the regime; religious extremists on the one hand and the government led by Rouhani on the other. The Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has been subjected to a torrent of insults because of his promises to open up Iran to the world.

Not only do all the criticism and threats that caused the resignation of the Ministers of Education, Culture and Sports reflect the intellectual differences on opening up, but they also show that extremist forces use religious groups in the struggle for power.

The Revolutionary Guards and the religious forces that support it were surprised when two major banks refused to provide banking services to a group called Khatam Al-Anbiya which is linked to the Revolutionary Guards. The banks refused because of a pledge that the government made to international organisations to implement measures as part of the fight against money laundering. Ceasing to deal with banned internal organisations is an international condition for and the price of opening up. This has angered the most dangerous element of the regime, the Revolutionary Guard, which funds huge military activities outside of Iran through a series of suspicious banking operations.

The preacher Ahmad Jannati accused the Rouhani government of “wanting to provide enemies with our financial and bank details in the name of combatting money laundering and funding terrorism”. A government spokesman replied by saying that this subject should not be discussed in newspapers or from the pulpits of mosques. This means that the intense internal pressure on Rouhani’s government is not caused by the opening up of society, international women’s sports teams visiting and playing with Iranian teams and both women and women attending concerts. Rather, it seems that they are excuses used to put pressure on Rouhani’s government to end its international commitments.

There is a power struggle between two groups in Iran; Rouhani’s group that is described as representing religious liberalism, and radical clerics in the Supreme Leader’s court. The Supreme Leader does not seem to have made his decision yet as he wants to benefit from the nuclear deal with the west to break the embargo by buying 400 American and European aircrafts and procuring oil production technology from the United States. At the same time, he wants to control Iran, prevent opening up and protect his security and religious institutions from international supervision.

It is clear that the Leader is watching and waiting for what western trade with Iran will lead to, especially after the US elections which the Leader described as being “between bad and worse”. If the next administration in Washington fulfils the promises of the current administration, it is likely that Iran will resort to mixed solutions with few changes. It will curtail opening up and continue its illegal military and financial operations in the region.

However, if it turns out that the elected US administration will insist on testing Iran’s promises and cooperating with it according to whether it implements its promises, then the Leader may bury the agreement. It is also likely that he will not extend the presidency of Rouhani which ends in less than ten months.

Khamenei’s Orders Reflect Fears for Iran’s 2017 Elections, Rift

London-Two weeks after Iran’s government warned the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, of the country falling into a wide rift, he ordered a score of decrees prohibiting authority from interfering into issues concerning partisanship or polarization.

Iran now experiences rapid polarization, with the two main camps belonging to either President Rouhani’s government, which allegedly is moderate, or the ultra-conservative Revolutionary Guard. Political controversy is heating ahead of the upcoming May 2017 presidential elections.

Khamenei published on Sunday 18 articles, the stipulations mainly address general policies relative to upcoming polls. In the text, all three executive, judicial and legislative authorities are not to get involved in political and electoral campaigns.

State media carried election guidelines issued by Khamenei, who has the final say on all matters of state. They called for “setting the scope and type of expenses and sources of legal and illicit campaign expenses by candidate and increasing the transparency of resources…”

Khamenei’s instructions are based on Article 110 of the Iranian constitution, which stipulates the supreme leader’s authoritative power in Iran. The orders come at a time when the date for enlisting candidates for the May 2017 elections is right around the corner.

Khamenei’s orders on curbing government institutions from getting involved in elections present a new pressure factor playing into the hands of Rouhani’s government that already exchanges accusations with Khamenei’s ultra-conservative bloc on exploiting authority for partisan goals.

Election fraud is rarely reported openly, but the head of the Guardian Council, the top election watchdog, said after parliamentary elections in early 2016 that “vote-buying is becoming more common.”

More so, the controversial yet undisputable orders come ahead of debates storming Iran on the identity of the presidential candidates.

Political argument augmented namely after former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced plans to run for the position again.

Khamenei’s surprising commands reveal deep concerns in Tehran on upcoming election season, especially that the conservative bloc does not wish to repeat the 2013 election defeat.

Election season for Iran is reason to many fears among its authoritative bands, namely after the 2009 presidential election which witnessed protests that almost toppled the ruling regime.

Khamenei’s listed orders also banned any election activity from receiving foreign funding or employ foreign services to back any candidate.

President Hassan Rouhani will be seeking a second term to push ahead with reforms resisted by powerful hardliners.

Iranian Supreme Leader Promotes Boosting Offensive Military Capabilities

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on Wednesday made a statement that the nation is in need of boosting its offensive military capabilities.

Khamenei’s remarks raised concerns, especially with Iran’s military power being an extremely sensitive subject with respect to the nuclear deal recently struck with the West.

“In order to secure our population, our country and our future we have to increase our offensive capabilities,” he said at a military expo in Tehran where a number of top military officials gathered, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).

Khamenei also said that expanding defensive capabilities was necessary “so that oppressive powers feel threatened”, an allusion to the United States and key European allies.

The Shi’ite leader spoke a week after a U.S. Navy ship fired warning shots towards an Iranian fast-attack craft that had approached two U.S. ships, according to a Pentagon spokesman.

The Pentagon also said that Iranian vessels had harassed a U.S. warship near the Strait of Hormuz, a vital oil and gas shipping channel, early last week.

President Hassan Rouhani, a pragmatist and a self-labeled moderator, has presided over a limited thaw in Iran’s relations with the West, with a 2015 nuclear deal with six world powers his most notable achievement.
But Iran’s military and security services that answer to the hardline Khamenei continue to see Western states as adversaries.

At the expo, held to highlight the Islamic Republic’s defence industry, there were displays and presentations of Iranian-made missiles and drones as well as the Bavar 373 missile defense system, according to IRNA.

Rouhani Labeled as a Simpleton by Khamenei Representative

Rouhani

London- Disputes ran deeper among officials in Iran after Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani made clashing stances on the Iran nuclear deal.

Khamenei’s Mashhad representative, Ahmed Alm Alhoda, on Friday hinted that Rouhani is short to naïve when promoting Iranian “pride” drawn from the nuclear deal. Alhoda made his statements during a Friday sermon that tackled the political turbulence experienced by the country over the past week.

Disagreement between Iranian officials flares when dealing with the nuclear ‘landmark’ deal despite a year marking its signature and another six months marking its implementation.

Iran’s President Rouhani strongly defends the deal against criticisms made by Supreme Leader Khamenei . Speaking on two different occasions last week, Rouhani argued against the claim pushed by Khamenei on the deal not bringing about any benefit for Iran.

Rouhani on Tuesday said that the nuclear deal was a factor in restoring “pride” to Iranians after Tehran asking for a helping hand during harsh sanction times.

Following the deal implementation, Iran returned to the international oil market and started building economic affairs with other countries. Naval transport and car manufacturing have also been revitalized as economic factors in Iran. Rouhani pivoted his speeches to the grandiose trade benefits annexed to the deal.

Albeit Rouhani’s speech radiated with promises of economic prosperity, it was his government’s delay in fulfilling those promises that led those opposing the nuclear deal to throw in their full weights to smear the bright image painted by Rouhani.

The opposition also condemns Iran, Rouhani in particular, giving up on the country’s nuclear program.

Alhoda had said “a man is considered naïve when believing that pride is restored by the nuclear deal;”

“Is pride found in opening up our markets to Italian fashion products?”

In his sermon, Al Hoda said that Iran had gained nothing from the nuclear deal but the opening of hundreds of foreign retail agents that seek to ‘pervert’ Iranian youth off its traditional course.

Khamenei’s criticisms against the nuclear deal further intensified after the parliamentary elections during February. Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) officials also had downsized the nuclear deal.

The IRGC is a branch of Iran’s Armed Forces that acts solely under the direct commandership of the Supreme Leader.

Khamenei Rejects Iran-U.S. Coordination in Syria

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei poses before delivering a speech marking the Iranian New Year

London-Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei warned that any negotiation or cooperation with the U.S. regarding the Syria cause will be considered a direct threat to the Iranian regional role.

The Supreme Leader hinted that Washington’s inclination to coordinate with Tehran in what concerns Syria stems out of ulterior motifs, “we do not want this cooperation, since it is aimed at inhibiting the Iranian presence in the region.”

On the other hand, Khamenei demanded that the U.S. constrains its regional interference, claiming that stances taken by the Iranian administration are “rational.”

Two days ago, Khamenei spoke before a gathered mass of representatives of student associations in Iran. The meeting comes in context of a series of Ramadan-held assemblies which bring together the Iranian Supreme Leader with delegates from diverse official and popular sects and sectors. Khamenei’s speeches were given in a reportedly different and unprecedented approach.

Last June, Norway-held negotiations held between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif regarding Syria were made public. Afterwards, speculations rapidly arose doubting Iranian flexibility, especially after Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, the former Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs in Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was forced to resign.

Abdollahian was considered to be the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) godfather diplomat sent to the Middle East.

Moreover, Quds Force division chief commander Qassem Soleimani alongside the so-called “Hezbollah” Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah made threats on disturbing plans being prepared behind closed curtains.

Khamenei further reiterated his negative comments against the Iranian “landmark” nuclear deal with the West, saying that “the U.S., whether in congress or the administration, remains in feud with the people of Iran.”

He accused Washington of spurring strife in the Iranian government, sorting out officials as either good or bad.

At the meeting with the student associations, Khamenei was faced with discomforting questions posed by the scholars. A number of questions was on the Iranian regional role, the nuclear deal, the 2009 Iranian presidential election protests, social standings and the reeking corruption of the judiciary system and financial institutions.

A PhD law student at the University of Tehran, Ali Kamfirouzi, harshly criticized Khamenei. The academic scholar, in an undertone, argued that Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi have been unjustly denied the right to self-defense by citing legal articles on citizens’ rights — the two led what later came to be known as the 2009 presidential protests in Iran or otherwise, the Persian Awakening by western media.

Khamenei considers the protests to be an act of unwarranted sedition.

Kamfirouzi, receiving broad support from the public, criticized the current state-of-affairs of institutions affiliated to the Supreme Leader especially. Khamenei’s harsh dealing with press freedom that easily lands any journalist or editor-in-chief into the tedious brawls of controversial trials was a highlight of the reviews made.

Attorney General Montazeri Refuses to Answer to Rumored Arrest of Rouhani’s Brother

Zarif

London- Iranian cleric and judge and current Attorney General of Iran Mohammad Jafar Montazeri refused to confirm or deny media reports on the arrest of Iranian President Rouhani’s brother Hossein Feridon.

Iran-based Tasnim News Agency revealed that Attorney General Montazeri rejected making any statements on whether Rouhani’s brother was taken for accusations of corruption and managerial misconduct.

The agency did not circulate any details on Feridon’s arrest, nor did it name what led to or who took care of the incarceration.

On the other hand, well-informed sources at the Iranian presidential office denied all information published by IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) media on the subject of Feridon’s arrest.

Iranian news agency ISNA also refuted rumors on the alleged arrest.

It is noteworthy that Feridon represented Rouhani at the nuclear negotiations.

Moreover, sources exposed disputes running between Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and Rouhani early May. The disputes sparked of by the Rouhani administration crossing Supreme Leader-set boundaries.

Eventually, the conflict resulted in Feridon and the Chief of Staff of the President of Iran, Mohammad Nahavandian, being banned from attending cabinet sessions.

Iran-based opposition website Saham News reported that keeping Feridon and Nahavandian away was ordered directly by Khamenei.

Khamenei placed Rouhani before two choices; either Nahavandian and Feridon attend cabinet meetings or Rouhani maintains « good relations » with Iranian religious supremacy.

Sources point out that Khamenei ignored Rouhani’s attempts on reconciliation.

Moreover, the Iranian Supreme Leader condemned Mohammad Reza Noboukt, Nahavandian and Feridon – based on Intelligence and IRGC reports – for being involved in both corruption and hierarchy trespass.

Two weeks ago, an Iranian Hezbollah-inspired website, Ammariyon, questioned Feridon’s absence. The website assumed Rouhani’s brother being involved in a massive economic network for corruption which could have caused his disappearance.

Iranian officials over the past few months criticized leaks on disputes among Iranian authority which are being broadcasted by media. Rouhani specifically criticized IRGC media circulated rumors earlier this month.

Last February, conservative cabinet member Alireza Zakani directed harsh criticisms towards Rouhani, claiming to possess documented evidence on an economic mafia encompassing multiple Iranian ministries. Among the compromised ministries were the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Petroleum.

Zakani further accused petroleum minister Bijan Namdar Zangeneh of signing illegal oil deals. Zakani also estimated the losses to be somewhere around 50 billion dollars post Zangeneh legal violations.

Moreover, Zakani highlighted an intricate network of brokers at the Rouhani administration operating the economic mafia. The network includes Zangeneh, Feridon and former Iran representative at the U.N. Sirus Naseri.

Zakani also revealed his intentions on presenting documents to the Iran Ministry of Intelligence, corroborating his allegations.

Pro-government Iranian media attacked Zakani, considering his accusations wild and instigating controversy for electoral profit.

However, Zakani’s accusations were made at a time during which each of Feridon and Nahavandian were facing cabinet claims of running an economic mob in Iran.

Cabinet members stated that they will be presenting proof of stated claims to the Ministry of Intelligence. The evidence is said to verify the accusations of the Rouhani administration members exploiting the nuclear deal in order to strike illegal business accords.

Kurdistan: Iranian Missile Base under Construction

Irbil- Exposing regional plans of Iran, a Kurdish official revealed that the Iranian regime has launched its construction of the largest missile and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) base. The center is being established near Sayed Sadiq which belongs to the Sulaymaniyah Governorate located in the Iraqi Kurdistan.

The IRGC are considered Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard which is intended to protect the country’s Supreme Leader’s agenda, and answer to no one else but Iranian current spiritual Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. The IRGC have reportedly announced their mission bent on protecting the religious borders of Iran even on foreign grounds.

The official further revealed that the number of IRGC commanders and officers frequently visiting the location and supervising the construction are being present on a daily basis. Quds Force division had deployed a large number of unit400 members who are assigned with monitoring and dealing with Iran-backed Kurdish forces to the area.

Commanded by notorious Major General Qassem Soleimani, the Quds Force division acts as the IRGC’s special operations force, employing the crème de la crème of Iranian intelligence and acting as a nomad-styled force. The unit is exclusively responsible for their extraterritorial operations.

“The IRGC had started since May 7 its construction of a military base in the Syrian Coastal Mountain Range, inside Iraqi Kurdistan,” the official said.

“According to our information, the Iranian regime is working on founding a missile base in the region, given its strategic value. The location influences a majority of its vicinity. Iranian military helicopters consistently hover over the region; meanwhile IRGC soldiers and machines work on construction.”

“Brigadier general and commander of the IRGC ground forces Mohammad Pakpour had paid the area a visit twice in the last few days to inspect progress on base construction. Issa Habib Zadeh, another IRGC commander, primarily situated in the Marivan region in the Kurdistan Province, Iran; had visited the site for three days last week,” said the official.

“Abdeen Khorram, another IRGC commander, located in Urmia city, had visited the base twice,” he said.

The official then explained that with the redundant visitations of high-end IRGC officers, the base underway is of significant value to Iranian regional ambitions.

“Aside to the military base in progress, the IRGC is working on finishing the project on tunnel construction, which Iranian forces located in the Iranian-Iraqi area had started drilling during the 80’s war with Iraq; the tunnel would facilitate arms and troops transport into and out of the base,” the official added.

On the other hand, Chairman of the Peshmerga in the Kurdistan region’s parliament and a member of the Supreme Committee of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan office organizations Dler Mustafa denied the existence of any IRGC military base. Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, Mustafa said: “We do not have any information on the subject.”