Iran Briefing: Javad Mansouri, one of the first commanders of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Iranian senior diplomat, in an interview with the weekly “Ramz-e Obour” has claimed that Abbas Araghchi, an Iranian diplomat and the Deputy Minister for Legal and International Affairs, is also a member of the terrorist Quds Force.Abbas Araghchi
According to Tasnim (the Iranian diplomat), Araghchi, the Chief of Staff to pursue the implementation of Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA) and a senior member of Iran’s nuclear negotiating team, in an interview with the weekly “Panjereh” claimed: “He had formally quit the Iranian Revolutionary Guards since entering the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1989, but he has not been satisfied with this separation and so he has kept all his clothes during his time in the Corps.”
Javad Mansouri, the former commander of IRGC also said: “In addition to Abbas Araghchi, other Iranian diplomats are also members of the Quds Force and this selection procedure of diplomats has so far been continued at the inception of the Quds Force.”
Javad Mansouri continued: “Quds Force is one of the special formed forces and a subdivision of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in cross-border activities. The corps was called “Nehzat-e Azadi Bakhsh” (liberation Movement), founded in 1979 and was initially chaired by Mohsen Rafiq Doost; however, after “Mehdi Hashemi” (Ayatollah Montazeri’s relative) joined, it was known and named as an independent organization. In 1985, Nehzat-e Azadi Bakhsh was transferred to the Foreign Ministry on the order of Ayatollah Khomeini and the Ministry was responsible for its management. After a while, it was known as a subdivision of the IRGC named “Shakhe-ye Quds” (Quds Subdivision). The institute was established during the Iran and Iraq war but during the war, and up to this day, it still continues its activities throughout the world. Currently, Qusem Soleimani is the commander in chief of the Quds Force.”
Javad Mansouri believes that Abbas Araghchi and some other Iranian diplomats have been introduced to the Foreign Ministry by the Quds Force and are still members of the force. He also acknowledges the Iranian ambassadors in Iraq, Lebanon and Syria as the Force members saying: “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Quds Force has close relations with each other and they coordinate in the selection of ambassadors and diplomats.”
Releasing the interview, the governmental news agencies has quoted informed sources denying Abbas Araghchi’s membership in the Quds Force and mentioning Mansouri’s interview with weekly “Ramz-e Obour” , far from reality; he also stated that his remarks shocked him cold. Ramz-e Obour is one of the publications close to “Mahmoud Ahmadinejad” opposing with the government.
The presence of Quds Force members as ambassadors, members of embassies and diplomats, has a long history after Iran’s Islamic Revolution. In 1982, Commander Ahmad Motevaselian and three other members of the Quds Force were taken as hostages by Israelis militants in Beirut. Since Iran’s pursuit for their release, they have been introduced as diplomats. The destiny of these four members of the Quds Force, 35 years after being taken as hostages and transferring to Israeli territory, is still shrouded in mystery.
It is worth mentioning that “Ghazanfar Rokn Abadi”, the former Iranian ambassador in Lebanon who was killed during the Mena accident last year, was also a member of the Quds Force.