President Hassan Rouhani’s surprising support for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has triggered negative responses on social media.
On October 11, Rouhani described the IRGC as “beloved” by the people of Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraqi Kurds.
During a cabinet meeting, Rouhani also insisted there’s no dispute between Iranian factions over confronting enemy plots.
The comments were made amid a possible plan by U.S. President Donald Trump to designate Iran's most powerful security force and economic player as a terrorist organization.
Rouhani warned, “If the United States wants to commit the next mistake and take action against the Revolutionary Guards, this is a mistake on top of another mistake; the IRGC is not just a military unit, but it has a place in the hearts of the Iranian people and has defended our national interests in times of threats to the country."
The unprecedented comments were followed by hundreds of questions raised on social media.
A user, Haj Saeid tweeted, “Today, Rouhani supported IRGC in a way that was unique in the past four years. Rouhani has either become aware of his mistake [concerning IRGC] or he has once again tried to deceive the public.”
Jan-i shefte remarked, “And he [Rouhani] said to himself ‘criticizing IRGC was for pre-election season’ to garner your votes.”
A former students’ rights leader, Ali Afshari regretfully said, “
Rouhani’s remarks today were a longer step to integrate into the Supreme Leader’s ‘enemy oriented’ foreign policy and join IRGC in a unified column. It is getting more difficult to accept people’s claim on being moderate.”
Ali Issmaeili also expressed his surprise against Rouhani’s coquettish remarks. “I was just watching the news. There was somebody sitting at the cabinet session who resembled Rouhani,” he wrote. “Yet, he was n-o-t Rouhani for he was mumbling very weird things.”
Referring to May’s presidential election, another user, Nejvay-i zamini, directly addressed Rouhani, saying, “If they [IRGC] were so close to the hearts of the people, the one would have been in your place who they brought him busloads of people.”
B. Behnam also addressed Rouhani, rebuking him, “You used IRGC as a tool for garnering more votes. Time and again, you shattered IRGC’s dignity, right in front of the cameras, forcing people to believe that it was not popular even among government officials -- Though, a show and fooling around, but, in the meantime it was also unwise.”
Aq Bahman is another Twitter user who derided Rouhani for describing the IRGC as popular and beloved of many nations. "The IRGC is so much loved and close to the hearts of people that, day in, day out, you were busy sarcastically attacking it to collect more votes,” he wrote.
Golsa Alavi agreed, saying, “Once upon the presidential election time, there was a Joe who battered IRGC as much as he could. Remember him?”
Self-exiled journalist Reza Haqiqat Nejad expressed his surprise by noting, “Hassan Rouhani who used to implicitly accuse IRGC of corruption now explicitly presents it as a savior. It is the day of judgment for [political] moderation.”
Aqay-i Mim admonishes his readers for being simpletons, reminding, “You do not understand; Hassan [Rouhani] is telling the truth. If you launch any business or company, you will feel that IRGC is deep into your heart.”
Hassan Rouhani who used to implicitly accuse IRGC of corruption now explicitly presents it as a savior. It is the day of judgment for [political] moderation.
Dochar, another tweeter, was on the same wavelength as Aqay-i Mim, saying, “You are not deep enough into the society and, therefore, you cannot understand. IRGC, deep down in the society, is everybody’s sweetheart. I, personally, am deep down there. I have even been several times drown there.”
However, while the real reason behind Rouhani’s surprising support for the IRGC is not yet clear, rumors have circulated on social media concerning a coup d’etat that may have taken place by the IRGC against Rounai’s government.
An outspoken researcher, Abdollah Shahbazi is among those who have predicted major developments in coming days in Iran.
“There will be major events in Iran, before the weekend or probably in first days of the next week. They want to create a heavy shock and, if they could, trigger chaos and revolt,” maintains Shahbazi on his Telegram channel.
Without referring to any specific political faction or formation, he suggested, “They are quite coordinated, inside and outside [Iran]. They are also coordinated with [Donald] Trump. Recent scandalous propagandas are also in line with the same scenario, and other events that have not yet occurred.”
An active member of Iran’s Hezbollah, Zahra Tabbakhi, also predicted unexpected developments, tweeting, “Mother of politics is pregnant like mother of autumn’s sky. Be [prepared and] equipped in coming and going.”
Tabbakhi is one of the few members of Hezbollah who regularly uses Twitter. Previously, she has directly or implicitly published confidential news and reports in her tweets.