Alavi, a midranking conservative cleric, was appointed to his role in Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security in 2013 following the swearing in of President Hassan Rouhani. His remarks, likely intended to boost the role of the Intelligence Ministry within Iran, came on the heels of increasing U.S. pressure on the Islamic regime, including the State Department’s recent designation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), an arm of the Iranian government, as a terrorist group, as well as recent additional sanctions. He told observers during Friday prayers that his ministry had discovered agents working for both the CIA and British foreign intelligence agency MI6.
Meanwhile, Iran’s military appeared to be experiencing its own period of turmoil. On Wednesday, the website for the Islamic State of Iran Crime Research Center, an anti-regime Washington-based nonprofit, published an article claiming IRGC commander Brig. Gen. Ali Nasiri had defected and escaped Iran. A website affiliated with Lebanese militia group Hezbollah reportedly first posted — and then removed — news of Nasiri’s defection.
The Trump administration has ratcheted up pressure on Iran over the past year, including pulling out of the Obama-era Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, even though the International Atomic Energy Agency has said Tehran was complying with the agreement, which was designed to limit the regime’s nuclear development.
Critics of the nuclear deal say it is already effectively dead, and argue Tehran was ramping up missile testing and supporting violent proxy forces abroad long before President Trump pulled out of the agreement.
“Iran has only grown more belligerent,” wrote the editorial board of Bloomberg News on Wednesday. “If an agreement limited to nuclear weapons was too narrow in 2015, Iran’s actions since have made such a deal entirely insufficient.”
Iran Briefing | News Press Focus on Human Rights Violation by IRGC, Iran Human Rights
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