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In a new round of political muscle-flexing, President Hassan Rouhani has once again lambasted his conservative adversaries as a few “foulmouthed” who “unfortunately” and “unjustly” own “big loudspeakers.”

Rouhani, addressing a health festival on July 11, said, “We should not be scared of these few.”

Rouhani accused his opponents of implementing abusive language and insults in reaction to his government’s fruitful efforts toward serving the country.

“As our ultimate goal is the country, the Iranian nation and the Islamic regime, we should not be scared of a few people who unjustly have big loudspeakers. We should not be scared, for we are a great sacrificial nation who has not only been capable of standing on its own regardless of problems but has also been capable of helping other countries in the region,” Rouhani blustered.

Rouhani’s insistence on raising topics that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his conservative allies have labeled as divisive and polarizing of society is an indication of the widening rift between the two camps.

Rouhani, described as a moderate, has recently come under an intensifying barrage of conservative criticism over his comments against the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as well as his remarks on the Islamic roots of “Velayat-e Faqih,” or the rule of jurisprudence.

Furthermore, Rouhani’s government has faced bitter attacks for signing a 20-year gas development contract with major French oil company Total. The IRGC and other allies of the supreme leader have described the contract as a “colonial” agreement that fails to take the real interests of Iran into account.

Attacking the contract with Total has forced Rouhani’s oil minister, Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, into a defensive position.

Branding the contract as the “best ever,” Namdar Zanganeh called on opponents to abandon the “black and white” or “friends and enemies” approach and focus instead on Iran’s national interests.

Rouhani’s first deputy, Eshaq Jahangiri, also called on the government opponents to accept people’s votes and stressed that the cabinet is not going to change its course.

Jahangiri’s comment was echoed in Rouhani’s remarks on July 11.

“Let them say whatever they want. People should not listen to these inaccurate statements, for Iran’s current condition is better than what it was yesterday, and it will be better tomorrow,” he said.

Referring to the IRGC’s recent boasts of its role in attacking Islamic State (IS) targets in Deir ez-Zur, Syria, Rouhani pointed out, “They [the missiles] are made by the government and the Defense Ministry; it is the economic sector of the country that supplies the missiles.”

Earlier, Rouhani had proudly declared that it was the Supreme National Security Council (over which he presides) that decided to target IS positions in Syria with missiles and ordered the IRGC to carry it out.

The IRGC dismissed Rouhani’s comments and emphasized that it had attacked IS positions directly under the Supreme Leader’s orders.

Moreover, while the IRGC proudly gloats about its role in liberating Iraq’s second-largest city, Mosul, Rouhani reminded, “We helped the Iraqi people during their most difficult economic conditions; when we talk about helping the Iraqi people, some think it is only about life sacrifice; however, there are those who supply the weapons for soldiers; the government, while under sanctions, paid for all the weapons that Iraq needed to fight IS.”

This was a direct response to earlier comments made by Qods Force top commander General Qassem Soleymani on the question of weighing military against diplomacy.

“Some issues are not solvable through diplomacy as it could not account for the unity created by the sacrifice of martyrs in an oppressed nation,” Soleymani had maintained.

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