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Senior IRGC Commander Unleashes Harsh Attack On Rouhani

Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the head of the Guards’ aerospace force. File photo
Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the head of the Guards’ aerospace force. File photo

A senior IRGC commander has criticized President Hassan Rouhani and his top managers for "preventing the country's progress".

Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps' aerospace force said on Friday January 25 that those who obstructed Iran's progress by "making wrong choices" were "a handful of managers who are under Western influence."

This is the second time in less than a week that Rouhani comes under fire by his hardline critics. Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi earlier criticized Rouhani for his comments about lack of media freedom in Iran and for calling for stronger social presence by women.

Hajizadeh did not name any official in particular, but said that managers influenced by the West are "responsible for part of the country's problems," adding that "We should not expect the West to help us in solving our problems. We have tried them before."

He made it clear that by "the West" he meant the United States as he said: "The JCPOA [Iran's nuclear deal with the West] was an example. That unmasked the United States and showed us America's true face."

Hajizadeh was alluding to the United States' withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, also called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and the re-imposing of sanctions on Tehran.

Opponents and critics of the Islamic Republic ruling system often condemn the strong anti-Western and anti-American ideology of the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and his IRGC allies. They argue that it is this mentality that hurts Iran economically and diplomatically.

Almost without exception the critics also believe that IRGC’s role in helping to maintain and prolong authoritarianism and their its in the economy have cost Iran dearly.

Hajizadeh who was speaking in Fasa in Fars province, praised the first generation of Islamic Republic managers who ran the affairs of the state during the 8-year-long war with Iraq in the 1980s and "never said they were not able to manage the shortcomings and shortages, never called for importing foreign mangers and never said they cannot fight before the arms embargo against Iran was lifted."

Rouhani had asked during a meeting at the Ministry of Industries two weeks ago "Why we cannot have foreign investors or scientist while we have a successful foreign football manager?" Rouhani also called for the presence of foreign companies to supervise construction efforts in Iran.

Hajizadeh said, managers who cannot do their jobs should be replaced. He was possibly alluding to Rouhani and a number of his ministers including Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif who had said the continuation of banking and economic relations with the rest of the world depends on the approval of a set of bills against money laundering and funding terrorism as required by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). Rouhani had said at a meeting on Thursday that "Iran's friends are waiting for Tehran to ratify those bills."

Some of the four bills in question still await final approval by constitutional watchdogs although they have already been ratified by the Iranian Parliament (Majles).

Hajizadeh also charged that "some of the managers support America in public," and called "many of Iranian legislators" and city council members "insignificant individuals."

He said that those who bribe people to win their votes will inevitably sell their country.

He also criticized Rouhani for saying last year that "JCPOA removed the shadow of war looming above the country," and instead praised Iranian armed forces for their "military strength." Rouhani was also criticized at the time by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei for making that comment.

Adding that thousands of people are working on missile development research in Iran, Hajizadeh praised their managers and said that they did not get their positions based on relations.

Differences between the government and the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, in particular in the area of foreign policy, have emerged in recent years in the war of words between state officials and IRGC commanders; and Hajizadeh's remarks are still one more indication that they are continuing.