IranBriefing Exclusive; by [email protected]
President Rouhani’s Speech During IRGC Annual Convention:
Continued from a Part I:
The President emphasized: The IRGC is not an army or an armed force as it exists in all other countries. The IRGC which was created for the protection and defence of the Islamic Revolution has two special types of capital which are seldom seen with the other armed forces. Although the IRGC possesses human capital and military hardware and software like other armies, but from the very beginning they have had the most important spiritual and social capital.
Continuing his address, Rowhani pointed out: Their spiritual capital was that the night of their operations, before looking on the plan of action, they looked at the map of the routes for pilgrimage to Karbala and before learning the code of operations they shouted “Ya Hussein” and “Ya Zahra” and kept chanting those words. The spiritual capital of the IRGC is not in the sense of the ideological armies of the East, but it is in the sense spiritual and religious motives which are rooted in the history of 140 of 0 years ago and to the meeting place of the Prophet and his companions and to the desert Nainava of Hussein Ibn Ali, who camped there with his supporters.
Rowhani stated that the spiritual capital of the IRGC is deeply rooted in the banks of Euphrates and the loyalty of the Qamar Bani Hashem (AS). It is the spiritual capital of the Guards which has led to their endurance. If this spiritual capital erodes and some people begin to doubt the dedication of this most loyal force of the Revolution then it will no longer remain the same Guards about whom the late Imam had said that ‘I wish that I too were a Revolutionary Guard’.
He added: The IRGC with its spiritual capital which has been preserved up to this day, and shall be preserved till the end, enjoys a distinction and superiority over other armed forces.
The President asserted: What caused the enemy to fear the IRGC is not its jet fighters, missiles, submarines, frigates, tanks and other equipment as these are also possessed by other armies. However, what makes the enemy afraid of the IRGC is its morale, spiritualism, sincerity and devotion to the household of the Prophet and the bonds of the troops of IRGC with fighters such as Badr and Karbala.
Pointing out that he is not against the high aspirations of the IRGC, he said: This is a great distinction for the IRGC and they have preserved it, but they have to promote it further because they have acquired great experience from the ups and downs of the developments of the past thirty plus years.
Adding that the other capital of the IRGC is its social capital, the President expressed: I mean that the IRGC is in the hearts of the people and operates beside them. The IRGC ought to be the strong gate and the refuge of the masses; whether Muslims or non-Muslims, Shi’as or non-Shi’as, city-dwellers or country-folk. All people, when they see the IRGC or even a single Guard, must get a feeling of peace and security. That is, all citizens must see that the existence of their civil rights and the recognized rights of their Islamic society depend on the armed forces, particularly the IRGC. Declaring that the IRGC is the jewel of the system he emphasized: Security is ensured through the IRGC and the IRGC provides the social capital of 20 million Revolutionary Guards and some 10 million Baseej [Volunteers].
Pointing out that the late Imam [Khomeini] had directed that the armed forces should not engage in political activities, Rowhani said: This means that the IRGC is above politics and should not be involved in it, neither on the sidelines nor in direct participation. The estate of the IRGC belongs to everyone and this point was made clear by the late Imam, who during the war and from the very first day, declared that the IRGC should not engage in political activities, since the IRGC has to belong to the whole Iranian nation. And if someday the need for mobilizing the whole population arises, it is the IRGC which can bring them as volunteers under the banner of Islam and the entire country.
He continued: If God forbid some danger arises someday which calls for the mobilization of the religious and sectarian minorities to become volunteers, then all those who are interested in defending the country will join together. The volunteers [Baseej] belong to the people. We should not confine them to narrow groups which would land us into a narrow alley. We have to confront the enemy in an open field.
The President declared: The present time is of great sensitivity for the region and Iran; and the force that is in the frontline and which stands and ought to stand in the first rank against all the conspiracies, is the Islamic Revolutionary Guards. This is a declaration from my heart.
He added: Our first priority should be to identify the threats. Such threats emanate every day in one form or another. On 31 Shahrivar 1359 HS [22 September 1980] when the enemy invaded our country, the threat was primarily a military threat. Therefore, at that time the IRGC got converted from a security and police force into a paramilitary force.
He continued: Behind each military threat exists a political threat. In those days they were after changing the system itself. Thereafter, when Saddam wanted to invade and occupy Kuwait, the threat was of another type. Saddam thought that by capturing the oil in Kuwait he would become the biggest power in the region. It was in this context that, before invading Kuwait, Saddam had written to Iran that they both have 800 kilometres of common borders.
The President emphasized: At that time, we discussed this subject in the Supreme National Security Council. Different interpretations were presented; one of which was that Iraq wanted to expand up to the border of Oman. This indicated that the threat had come in a different form. Likewise, when America invaded Afghanistan and Iraq the threat was of a different type and is still so, even up to this day when invasion of Syria is being debated.
Rowhani said: It will be greatly dangerous if we commit a mistake in assessing and identifying the threat. We have to identify the threat clearly and determine what the first and foremost threat is. After that, we should map out the correct plan and strategy to face it. In the end, we should also formulate our ultimate objectives taking into account the existing possibilities, because we have seen that the Americans made a mistake by invading Afghanistan and Iraq and the same is the case of Syria.
Opining that Syria was an important problem for the whole region and may perhaps have global repercussions, the President said: Syria is located in a volatile region. The matter is not about one individual continuing as a president or one sect. The problem transcends that. It is clear to all of us that the West has a design for the whole of our region and it does not like our region in its present form. It is the same design that the British and French have had for years, to come back to our region.
He pointed out that an analysis of the conditions in Libya, Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq and Syria indicates that the West counts them as links of the same chain and wants to strengthen Israel and weaken their resistance. The problem of Syria is a problem of the future of a great region and it may contribute to the reshaping of the future of the world as well.
Referring to the chemical weapons of Syria as a pretext for America, he said: The position of the Islamic Republic has always been very clear. We are opposed to all weapons of mass destruction. However, the West mistakenly believes that the Islamic Republic is seeking an opportunity to impose its military domination over the region. But we are not seeking that. Our power is the authority of our word in the whole region.
He added: The IRGC is not a fighting force in the region. This is a force meant for maintenance of peace and security [within the country]. If the military threats of world arrogance are removed from the region, the IRGC would never wish to seek military authority in the region. Our policy is a policy of maintaining popular sovereignty, stability, brotherhood and of combating terrorism in the whole region.
Indicating that the Islamic Republic itself has been a victim of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction including chemical weapons, the President said: Our armed forces are the armed forces for the peace, stability, and tranquillity in the whole region. It would be best if the uninvited guests leave this region now and desist from threatening Iran and transgressing against her. Our call is a call for popular sovereignty. If the people of Egypt want popular sovereignty, the West need not feel discomfort about it. This is to be decided by the will of the Egyptians themselves.
Rowhani continued: In Syria, Iraq and all countries including Palestine; the will of the people should be supreme. Our Leader’s assertion that all displaced Palestinians should be allowed to return to their country and cast their votes, indicate that our policy is in favour of popular sovereignty.
The President emphasized: Anybody who uses chemical weapons anywhere is damned and condemned by us. We also condemn civil wars and massacres. Syria ought to return to stability. Thereafter, whosoever is voted by the people is acceptable to us.
Referring to the military threats from America and Europe to Syria he said: The Americans and Europeans while beating the drums of war feel that a war in this region shall have undesirable consequences. Therefore, they have said that this will be a limited war and they even asked others to pay for the expenses of this war. All this indicates where the Achilles heel of the enemy lies.
Rowhani clarified: We do not want the break out of any war; and the Islamic Republic with all its power shall prevent a war in this region. But Syria is important to us and the states and nations of the region shall not remain indifferent to the Syrian problem. Likewise, the Islamic Republic is not and cannot be indifferent towards this decisive issue. We shall do our duty and God will also grant success to the countries of the region in the face of the conspiracies of others.
In another part of his speech, referring to the point that the enemy has targeted the livelihood of the people, Rowhani said: All sanctions imposed which are unjust, illegal and supported by false reasons are directed towards this end. They know very well that Iran is not after nuclear weapons and when the Leader of the Revolution has himself unequivocally proscribed the nuclear weapons, Iran will never go for them.
He added: Sanctions against the sale of crude oil and banking transactions are aimed at putting pressure on the life and livelihood of the people. We ought to defeat the conspiracies of the enemy because, behind the economic pressure of the enemy, lies political pressure so that people are diverted from the Revolution. But our nation understood it well and gave a befitting reply to them in the election. This was one of the best elections which did not face any objections or protests and was the first strike against the enemy.
Rowhani continued: The second strike which has to be launched against the enemy is in the economic struggle which has to be carried on with the participation and alertness of the people and the IRGC may prove itself very effective in this field.
The President said: The IRGC has great potential in human resources and in the economic and cultural fields and whenever the system is subjected to pressure the IRGC complements and supports efforts to meet the situation.
Rowhani emphasized: I do not believe in the rumours spread about the IRGC’s activities in the economic sphere. The IRGC is not a competitor with the people or the private sector and is not like ordinary contractors. The IRGC needs to take up various projects which the private sector does not have the resources to finance and manage.
The President said: I have spoken with the Commander-in-Chief of the IRGC to take the burden of a few national projects on its shoulders to maintain its reputation. In view of sanctions, the IRGC needs to become active and take up three or four big national projects. The IRGC is fully conversant with the situation of the country and the government. The country which exported 2.5 million barrels of crude oil is now selling less than one million barrels. On the other hand, it has to import 7.5 tons of wheat. This indicates the general economic condition of the country.
He continued: We want the IRGC to take part of the burden of not only the government, but also the system, on its shoulders. Another problem is that of the smuggling of goods into the country which is another calamity for the country’s economy. The IRGC may help in combating this menace so that the smuggling of goods may be prevented.
Rowhani appealed: As the President of the Republic, I want the IRGC to give a helping hand and swing into action in the two sectors in which the government is facing difficulties so that the people may be witness to the sincerity and selflessness of the IRGC in defeating the enemy in the area of people’s livelihood and production.
Towards the end, referring to the difficulties of the government and the condition of stagnation he said: In this situation, we are hopeful that with divine help and cooperation of the IRGC we will be able to defeat the conspiracies of the enemy.
If IRGC is not removed totally from Iran’s politics and economy and its military domination and expansion is not restricted and its top 100 commanders were dismissed or retired as soon as possible and like the United States, if Iran’s military was not run by civilian officers, the whole world including the Iranian people are going to pay a heavy price for its destructive and hegemonic power. IRGC might make some heavy concession to the West in order to survive in the short term, but sooner or later its brutal ambition will cost many lives all over the world. Iranian people inside Iran will suffer the most sooner the the Western society.
An alternative to regime change in Iran, if we are seeking peace in the Middle East and the world, might be to install a civilian body to oversee and appoint IRGC commanders, as is done in the United States military, in Turkey, and in other democratic nations. And to ensure a permanent solution, the concept of Velayat Faqih (Leadership of Jurist) must be abolished from the Iranian constitution.
Read Part 1 here