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Iran Hardliner Says Give The Economy To Revolutionary Guards

Mohsen Rezaee, in uniform (C) and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. May 2015. File photo
Mohsen Rezaee, in uniform (C) and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. May 2015. File photo

A top Iranian conservative politician has indirectly attacked the government of President Hassan Rouhani, saying Iran’s government management system is “stuck in mud” and has demanded economic affairs to be delegated to the military.

The secretary of the influential Expediency Discernment Council (EDC) and former chief commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, Major General Mohsen Rezaee who unsuccessfully ran for the presidency in 2009 and 2013, has called for entrusting economic affairs to the IRGC and its voluntary militia, Baseej.

Speaking to a group called "Jihadists of Sacred Defense and Construction of the Country", Rezaee referred to extensive U.S. sanctions reimposed on Tehran and said on Sunday, January 13, "In such conditions, we cannot rely on the assistance of foreign governments."

Furthermore, the 64-year-old, a controversial commander of the Iran-Iraq war, maintained, "People are asking who is going to think about us and help us? They are addressing this question foremost to the IRGC and Baseej forces whose experience and glories could open roadblocks."

Rezaee was appointed chief commander of IRGC in 1981 during the Iran-Iraq war, with no prior military training. He mainly used human waves cross minefields and against well dug-in Iraqi forces. Critics say that it was mainly his lack of military knowledge that prolonged the war to eight years, while he staged many "final offensives" without any breakthroughs. He was replaced in 1997.

The so-called "principlists" and conservative opponents of President Hassan Rouhani's Administration believe that he and his team, faced with U.S. sanctions, are ignoring the principle of "economic resistance" promoted by the Islamic Republic's Supreme Leader, and have not taken any steps to address the sanctions.

Rezaee is one those opponents who have repeatedly bombarded Rouhani and his cabinet with bitter criticism.

Once again, targeting the government, Rezaee maintained, "The bureaucratic and management system of running the country has gotten stuck in mud, and under the enemy's economic bombardment, it is deteriorated and in chaos," Rezaee cautioned, adding, "We cannot stand idly by and surrender (to the enemy; i.e. the U.S.)"

Moreover, Rezaee has reiterated that in the heat of a tense and tight economic war, the forces capable of managing affairs during the peacetime cannot be effective, and it is up to revolutionary forces to open up the way and create a breakthrough.

The IRGC already has a vast economic empire in Iran, which has been criticized by many, including Rouhani, who in 2017 called the Revolutionary Guards “the government with rifles”.

Critics see IRGC’s economic role as one of the impediments to economic reform and a source of nepotism and corruption.