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IRGC Joins 'War With Soaring Prices'

IRAN - A handout photo made available by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) website; Sepah News shows, Iranian revolutionary guard chief Hossein Salami during a war game in Strait of Hormuz, southern of Iran, 29 July 2020

Chief Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), Hossein Salami, announced a new "headquarters" on Wednesday to combat soaring prices in Iran.

In a speech a day earlier, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei had raised concern over the skyrocketing cost of essential commodities and called on the IRGC's Basij Force to step in and rein unaffordable prices in coordination with President Hassan Rouhani's administration.

The Basij or the "Mobilization Resistance Force" is one of the five forces of the IRGC and a paramilitary volunteer militia established in Iran in 1979. It initially consisted of civilian volunteers urged by the Islamic Republic founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, to fight in the Iran–Iraq War.

However, after the devastating war, Iranian authorities unleashed Basij members to suppress anti-regime protests.

Per Salami, following Khamenei's remarks on the ever-increasing cost of essential goods in Iran, the IRGC held a joint meeting with the Ministers of Agriculture Jihad, Mines, Industry, and Trade, Justice, the Islamic Republic Prosecutor-General, and the representatives of the country's police, and all other relevant monitoring and intelligence services.

The officials decided to combine the IRGC and Basij's influences with other state entities' capabilities to control essential commodities' prices, Salami said, and a "headquarters" for combating soaring prices was proposed.

"The IRGC has a variety of capabilities that it will mobilize to assist the two ministries," Salami said, praising the potential of coordination between Basij, MIMT, and Ministry of Agriculture Jihad.

The establishment of various headquarters by the IRGC or in tandem with other state-run entities is one of Iran's methods whenever the nation confronts a critical situation.

Most of these headquarters are established by Khamenei's direct orders, though a clear final report on the headquarters' activities, performance, and achievements is not published in most cases.

Referring to the people's economic situation in Iran, Khamenei said on Tuesday that "many of the current economic problems are not related to [the U.S.] sanctions."

He called the high price of products, including meat, poultry, tomatoes, and baby diapers, "unjustified and unwarranted," adding, "All these soaring prices and issues can be addressed with the coordination of different departments. Such hurdles must be removed from the people's path."

"There is no doubt that with the decisions made at the meeting, we will have significant changes in the prices of essential goods next week," Minister of Mines, Industry, and Trade, Alireza Razm Hosseini said.

Kazem Khavazi, Minister of Agriculture Jihad, also said, "In line with the leadership's speech today, the Ministries of Industry, Mines and Trade (MIMT), Agriculture Jihad, Central Bank of Iran (CBI), and the Islamic Republic's Customs succeeded to become very well coordinated. The Economic Coordination Headquarters also passed very crucial resolutions."

However, none of the Ministers explained that, with Iran's people having long complained about unaffordable prices, why such decisions had not been made earlier.

Over two years have passed since Iranians were saddled with skyrocketing prices when Washington re-imposed batches of devastating economic sanctions on the country, and the value of the Iranian national currency, the rial, dropped sharply against the dollar.