The Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) continued on Friday is campaign of criticism against President Hassan Rouhani, with a deputy commander saying that he is “echoing Iran’s enemies.”
IRGC Deputy Commander Hossein Salami said: “Some friends look us in the eye to congratulate us, but they are in fact echoing the voice of our enemy.”
“The IRGC does not fear those threats. It is not appropriate for friends to treat each other like enemies,” he said in an indirect reference to Rouhani.
Moreover, he attributed “internal attacks” against his forces to the “defeat of psychological wars against the IRGC.”
In addition, he made light of the growing poverty in Iran, saying: “You must not believe that the economic problems will lead the people to stray away from the regime.”
Salami instead accused his country’s “enemies” of seeking to cripple the economy.
“Those people wanted to show Iran as a backwards and poor nation.”
Iranian officials do not normally acknowledge deep divisions in their country despite the vitriolic rhetoric exchanged between them.
Head of the Basij force Gholamhossein Gheybparvar also indirectly responded to Rouhani’s criticism, saying: “The statements by some officials at public platforms does not weaken the IRGC.”
He attributed Rouhani’s recent remarks against the Guards to his “straying away from the Supreme Leader.”
“We must strengthen ties among ourselves as much as possible. We must be aware that we are all ultimately bound in the end to the Supreme Leader.”
He also defended the IRGC’s regional role, boasting of the “export of the revolution” beyond Iran’s borders.
Gheybparvar did, however, implicitly acknowledge the drop in the IRGC’s popularity on the Iranian internal scene, noting: “People abroad are more aware of the value of the revolution.”
This is owed to the IRGC, he stressed according to the Fars news agency.
Rouhani had earlier this week issued indirect criticism against the IRGC, by saying that the Iranian army has refrained from getting embroiled in “political games.”
He also slammed the IRGC’s economic role and hailed the military for not “tarnishing its image with corruption cases.”
“The military understands politics well, but it did not get involved in the political games,” he went on to say.
The IRGC was quick to respond to his claims, accusing on Thursday internal sides “harming unity and stoking division.”