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Iran Guards Deny Suing Journalists For Army Interview Critical Of IRGC

Habibollah Sayyari, a senior regular army commander who indirectly criticized the IRGC in May. FILE PHOTO

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard has denied Sunday suing five IRNA directors and journalists for publishing an interview with a senior Army general criticizing the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps, IRGC.

IRNA is the Islamic Republic's official news agency, run by President Hassan Rouhani's administration.

A pro-reformist journalist claimed Saturday that security agents confiscated some of the personal effects of the five IRNA employees, in a series of tweets. The IRGC spokesman denied the news on Sunday, saying “This kind of fake news will not affect the unity of the army [Artesh] and the Revolutionary Guard.”

The pro-reformists journalist, Mehdi Mahmoudian also tweeted that IRNA's interview was conducted at the "Army's request," taped in the Army's studio, and supervised by the Army's public relations managers. All stages of the controversial interview were monitored and checked by the Army's officials, Mahmoudian insisted.

In unprecedented remarks on May 31, Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari had implicitly lambasted Iran's powerful Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) for meddling in the country's political and economic affairs.

The Coordinating Deputy of the Islamic Republic's Army, Rear Admiral Sayyari, bitterly expressed his dissatisfaction with the Army being ignored by the country's state-controlled media.

A few hours later, IRNA removed the interview and all sides tried to explain away the incident. The Army and IRGC spoke of unity and IRNA said the video of the interview was removed only temporarily to be reissued later.

During the interview, Rear Admiral Sayyari in a remark apparently aimed at IRGC said that the Army respects rules and does not step into political and economic activities, adding, "Does this mean we do not understand politics? Not at all. We grasp politics well, we analyze it well, we understand it well, but we don't get into politics since politicization is harmful and damaging for the Armed Forces."