April 25, 2011
General Mohammad Ali Jafari, commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), has admitted that he was taken by surprise by the sheer “magnitude” of protests that erupted following the announcement of the 2009 presidential election.
Speaking to the semi-official Fars news agency on the anniversary of the formation of the elite fighting force in April 1979, the IRGC commander said that in guarding the revolution “we do not have any constraints or limitations.”
Jafari argued that his organisation’s role was not limited to military activities, while adding, “the IRGC is not merely a military organisation, but a security, cultural, ideological, political and military one, which means that the IRGC is expected to have many types of functions in order to be able to protect the Revolution and its results in the domains of culture, politics, economics, society, security and intelligence.”
Speaking about the Green Movement—or “sedition” as referred to by regime officials—the commander continued: “Imam [Khameini’s] efforts were directed at placing Velayate faghih [the leader] above everything in the Islamic system, but it’s very clear that the 2009 sedition’s opposition was towards Valayate Faghih, and this was very evident in their disregard for the decisions of the leader who should have the final say.”
The General also claimed that the aftermath of the rigged 2009 presidential was “foreseeable … but nobody predicted it to be in this form, shape and magnitude.”
“Our goal was to inform the people and to put the leaders of the sedition [Mousavi and Karroubi] on trial, because they were doing their best to influence the opinions and beliefs of the people. Therefore confronting them with firm judicial action would not have made their supporters, who had accepted them, to see the light and would instead have backfired.”
Jafari argued that “firm judicial action” against the leaders of the Green Movement would go against the principles of fighting what he called a “soft war,” adding: “perhaps in the beginning, a share of the people, who accepted the framework of the regime but were against certain policies and methods [adopted by the government], supported them [Mousavi and Karroubi], but these did not constitute more than 10 to 15 per cent; however, following the events of [the Iranian year] 1389 [21 March 2010-21 March 2011], this section of the population also ceased their support, and in reality, this was the outcome of a good and appropriate measures against this soft war.”
“In a city like Tehran with millions of inhabitants, it’s not so surprising to find two or three thousand individuals who are in essence either anti-revolutionary, or members of the Mujahedin Khalgh Organisation (MKO), communists, their remnants, monarchists or Baha’is.”
During the interview with Fars, Jafari acknowledged the role of the internet in organising the post-election protests and the opposition Green Movement’s actions, and spoke of the IRGC’s increased efforts in cyber space for quelling dissent in the country.
Regarding the military threat against the country, Jafari, who also is also a member of the Supreme National Security Council, pointed to the massive military buildup of the trans-regional forces during the last eight years (since the wars on Afghanistan and Iraq), and said during the same period Iran has been able to prepare itself and promote its capabilities, specially in military arenas.
“Now and at the end of this eight-year period we are in such conditions that many people, including our enemies, have realised that posing a military threat against Iran is no more effective,” the IRGC commander stressed.
“The cause of this deterrence is the high speed of our increased capabilities, including our missile capabilities,” Jafari underlined. He pointed out that the IRGC has increased the range of its missiles so much that it can now confront trans-regional enemies. “Although we are capable of increasing the range of our missiles, we don’t think it would be necessary because today our main trans-regional enemy, that is the Quds occupying regime (Israel) is within the range of our missiles,” Jafari reiterated. “And if the US wants to back up Israeli threats, a major part of its forces are even closer to us and are within the range of our firepower as well,” the IRGC commander added.
Last week, the commander of the Iranian army’s ground force warned that attacking Iran would be suicidal. “Today no enemy has the requirements and the desire to carry out a military attack against the powerful Iran and military aggression against Iran is highly unlikely and even impossible and is synonymous with the suicide of the aggressor,” Brig. Gen. Ahmad Reza Pourdastan was quoted as saying on Tuesday.