Following the presidential elections in May, there has been another harsh attack on politicians who are seen as moderate and supporters of President Hassan Rouhani.
The Supreme Leader’s representative to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, IRGC, has warned, “peaceful coexistence with the West is an idea that has been nurtured by the Niavaran Circle during the past decade”.
Niavaran Circle implicitly refers to President Rouhani and his close circle who were teamed up in the Center for Strategic Research, CSR, for more than two decades. CSR’s headquarters, headed by Rouhani (1992-2013) is located in the Niavaran neighborhood, north of the capital, Tehran.
Ali Saidi, the Supreme Leader’s representative to IRGC, asserted: “When the concept of détente and peaceful coexistence with the west was implemented in the USSR, it led to the collapse of Soviet Union.”
“Nevertheless”, Ali Saidi remarked: “The members of Niavaran Circle have been propagating the same concept in Iran for the past decade and the presence of the idea [in Iran, today] is the outcome of their efforts.”
Elaborating furthermore, he explained: “They believe that we should not confront and challenge the West,” and sarcastically added, “[Nikita] Khrushchev and [Mikhail] Gorbachev had the same belief and started an interaction with the West which led to the collapse of Soviet Union.”
Ali Saidi’s speech in Isfahan, on Sunday, 4 June, was delivered exactly on the same day that ayatollah Khamenei declared: “Challenging the West is less costly than compromising with it.”
These comments are presented in an atmosphere where fresh election results show a big majority backing Rouhani’s promises to establish better relations with the rest of the world and less repression at home. It also comes at a time when President Donald Trump’s administration, the majority in the U.S. Congress and many Middle Eastern countries are indicating readiness for a tougher stance against Iran.
Saidi, who was speaking on 28th anniversary of ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini’s death, referred to him as “the Imam” and reminded his audience: “There are some groups in the Islamic Republic who are active under the label of Imam’s Line, but their discourse, function and beliefs are in contrast with ayatollah Khomeni’s ideals.”
The movement of Imam’s Line goes back to the seizure of the American embassy right after the Iranian revolution. But over the years, members of these groups have come to advocate better relations with the rest of the world and more moderate positions.
According to Saidi, “Sweeping away the revolution”, moving towards free market, serious efforts for rapprochement with the U.S.A., obeying Vali Faqih [the Supreme Leader] on the bases of their own personal choices, dealing with Vali Faqih concept through hypocrisy” and “dismissing the role of the religion, as well as denying its role in managing the society” are included in the features of those groups branded as Imam’s Line.
This kind of tough rhetoric is often heard from the conservatives, the Supreme Leader and his close allies, including commander of the IRGC, Mohammad Ali Jafari.
He has said, “The main danger threatening the country is the existence of anti-Islamic outlook and thoughts. Yet, many of the [Islamic Republic] officials have non-revolutionary, liberal and Western views. These officials are even proud of being educated in Western universities.”
Previously, General Jafari had also talked about the “realization of Islamic civilization” and the “establishment of international Islamic Society”.
Almost two years ago, he claimed: “We are moving toward a great Islamic civilization and the time for exporting Islamic revolution is ripe.”