The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, IRGC has once again been accused of interfering in elections in Iran, but this time by one of its own close allies.
An ultraconservative close ally of the IRGC and one of Rouhani’s challengers in last May presidential election, Mostafa Mirsalim has accused the military elite of partisanship in electoral procedures in Iran.
During a gathering of Islamic Coalition Party (ICP) members in central city of Arak, a local newspaper reported on Saturday, July 29, Mostafa Mirsalim said, “If JAMNA (a Conservative front backing Rouhani’s main challenger, Ebrahim Raeisi) performed more consistently than ICP it was only for the fact that it used facilities provided by the IRGC.”
Though Hassan Rouhani had previously accused the IRGC of backing Raeisi, but Mirsalim was the first conservative heavyweight repeating the same accusation.
Meanwhile, Mirsalim went further and tacitly cautioned the IRGC, “People are ready to fully support and sacrifice themselves for a military organ that is fighting in battlefields, but if they recognize that the same armed body is going to run an office, they would reject it.”
Mirsalim’s comment was again reminiscent of Rouhani’s implicit remarks about the IRGC, “Nobody dares to compete with a government that is carrying a gun.”
Mostafa Mirsalim, educated in France and married to a French woman, is famous for wearing shenadoah beard, collarless tuxedos and dark calottes.
In May presidential election, he was placed third with receiving 1.17% of the votes. He is also a member of influential Expediency Discernment Council of the Islamic Republic.
The IRGC, JAMNA and Ebrahim Raeisi have not yet reacted to their ally’s comments.
Some analysts believe that Mirsalim’s comments are the first signs of a crack in the Conservative bloc of President Rouhani’s opponents.
The crack, if real, is similar to the ones that appeared in the conservative bloc when Mohammad Khatami, a reformist, crushed its favorite candidate and overwhelmingly won the presidential election in 1997.
However, within less than a year, the Conservative bloc, supported by the Supreme Leader and IRGC, regrouped and pushed Khatami back to the ropes and forced him to admit that [in the Islamic republic] “The President is not more than a butler, in charge of procurement [for the Supreme Leader].