Rising Tensions Among Iranian Officials Over U.S Delisting of IRGC as Terrorist Organisation
While many observers of Iran’s political landscape expected the Iranian regime to unite after Ali Khamenei, the regime’s supreme leader decided to consolidate his government by appointing Ebrahim Raisi as president, the latest facts show that he did not achieve his goal and, on the contrary, the regime is experiencing serious political discord among the ruling elite. As the Iran nuclear talks near completion, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has emerged as the main source of these disagreements in recent weeks. The regime has demanded that the IRGC be removed from the list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations by the US government (FTO).
Since the US government’s decision on April 15, 2019, it has caused serious problems for the regime’s financial support, and the regime has faced shortages in expanding its external activities, despite the fact that the IRGC controls the majority of the country’s economy. The IRGC has become one of the main topics of negotiations between the US government and the Iranian regime, with the regime currently participating in the ongoing nuclear talks.
In a TV interview on March 26, 2021, under pressure to clarify and accept a new JCPOA, the regime’s foreign minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, quoted some senior IRGC commanders as saying that the regime should not give the Revolutionary Guards priority in the negotiations.
“The IRGC’s high-ranking officials always remind us that the IRGC issue should not be an obstacle for you,” he said. In fact, high-ranking IRGC officials are displaying the highest level of self-sacrifice!” “The IRGC issue is part of our negotiations,” he added, “as are other issues that are still really going on between us and the Americans.”
This was done in order to clear the way for the negotiations to end and the regime to emerge from the impasse it is in. However, the threat of negative consequences, if the IRGC remains on the FTO, means that the regime must cease interfering in regional affairs, which would be a strategic blow to the regime.
As a result, some regime officials have expressed their displeasure with Amir-Abdollahian’s comments.
“You have mistakenly called surrender, ‘sacrifice’.” Hossein Shariatmadari, Khamenei’s mouthpiece in the daily Kayhan, told the state-run news agency Fars, which is affiliated with the IRGC. The IRGC Command is expected to correct the Foreign Minister’s remarks by issuing a quick and unequivocal statement.”
Regime MP, Ali Khezrian attacked Amir-Abdollahian in a tweet, saying, “Amir-Abdollahian’s remarks were wrong because they are ultimately against the interests of the state and complement the enemy’s plan to create a gap between the state and the people.”
Others, on the other hand, warned against criticizing Amir-Abdollahian’s comments. “Now the state is in such a predicament that requires the lowering of temperatures,” Rasoul Montajabnia warned, referring to the critical situation and deadlock the regime is facing. Officials must sometimes take a step back and, according to (Imam) Khomeini, drink from the poison chalice in order to solve problems.”
The regime is, in fact, stuck between a rock and a hard place. “This presence in regional issues is our strategic depth,” Khamenei desperately stated on March 10. This in and of itself is a tool to strengthen the system. How can we abandon this?”