Ahmedinejad Describes IRGC Intelligence Chief as ‘Psychologically Imbalanced’
In the latest in a wave of criticism against Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s close associates, former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad attacked Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Intelligence Chief Hossein Taeb, describing him as "psychologically imbalanced" and not fit for the job.
He accused the judiciary and the IRGC of fabricating cases against his aides over political differences.
In a video, Ahmadinejad lashed out against Taeb, saying that all he does is "fabricate cases,” revealing that during his presidency, he was opposed to him assuming his current post.
The former president asserted: “All state officials know that he is imbalanced and everyone knows what he has been up to."
Ahmadinejad said that "the fabrication campaign against him and his aides was launched by the Ministry of Intelligence and IRGC Intelligence in 2011 under Taeb’s leadership."
Furthermore, he also wondered whether "the use of state power is permissible in political disputes."
Ahmadinejad also revealed that Taeb, who served as deputy intelligence minister under former President Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, was removed from his post for sparking disputes among various officials.
"They kicked him out of the Intelligence Ministry, but they later violated the law and gave him a top post with full authority elsewhere," said Ahmadinejad.
In April 2011, the European Union included Taeb and 23 other officials on the sanctions list for "gross violation of human rights" of Iranian citizens. He is barred from entering EU countries.
Ahmadinejad's stances and criticism of the Iranian regime, coupled with growing public discontent as a result of the deteriorating economy and living conditions, have sparked widespread debate in the country. His opponents accuse him of adopting "populist" positions.
In another part of the video, Ahmadinejad stated that what he says is "not an insult or a propaganda against the regime... we want to reform the situation... we say that this is bad and damaging the regime, the Iranian revolution, and the people."
A few days ago, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, vice president, chief of staff, and senior aide to Ahmadinejad, was sentenced to six and a half years in prison on charges of threatening national security.
In March, Mashaei protested in front of the British embassy and burned a court sentence against former vice president and close Ahmadinejad aide, Hamid Baghaei, in a symbolic reference to accusations of "links" between the Chief Justice and Britain.
Commenting on Mashaei's charges, Ahmadinejad said it "distorts the image of the regime," while also criticizing IRGC intelligence service for setting up its own prisons.
Last week, a group of Ahmadinejad supporters published a video of Mashaei in which he speaks of attempts to assassinate him in prison. He also accused Taeb of working to force confessions from Baghaei, who is serving a sentence in Evin prison.
IRGC intelligence service is a parallel organ of the Ministry of Intelligence. Khamenei appoints its chief, who is therefore considered one of the most powerful figures in the regime.
The Guards' intelligence service is known for prosecuting senior officials accused of security violations. It is tasked with providing protection for the supreme leader and senior officials of state agencies, airports and nuclear facilities.
Ahmadinejad is not the first senior Iranian official to criticize the IRGC intelligence chief.
In recent years, current deputy speaker Ali Motahari and reformist opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi have sharply criticized Taeb and the IRGC intelligence service’s operation in parallel to the Ministry of Intelligence.
Among the most prominent arrests were Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's brother, Hossein Fereydoun, and brother of Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri, Mehdi Jahangiri, on charges of corruption.
Prior to the 2017 presidential elections, Rouhani had criticized the arrest of a number of activists on his electoral campaign by the Guards’ intelligence.