Iran Guards Reject Criticism of Foreign Militia Deployment in Flood-Hit Areas
The Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) rejected criticism by parliament over the deployment of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) units from Iraq into the flood-hit region of Ahwaz.
Commander of the IRGC navy Alireza Tangsiri said that those objecting to the move “are either ignorant or affiliated to foreigners,” reported the Fars news agency.
The PMF had entered southwestern regions in Iran days after the Fatemiyoun militia had deployed in the Lorestan province.
MP Abdolkarim Hosseinzadeh questioned the PMF deployment, saying they did not obtain permission from the parliament and government.
“Don’t the IRGC and army have enough forces? Did we make a plea to the people that was unheeded, forcing the PMF and Fatemiyoun to deploy in flood-hit areas?” he tweeted, deeming the development a violation of the constitution.
Shiraz MP Bahram Parsaei demanded that Iran’s borders be respected, rejecting the deployment of “foreign military forces” without a legal permit even if they were part of a relief effort.
Their deployment must be approved by the parliament speaker, he demanded.
Tehran MP Alireza Rahimi had called on the Foreign Ministry to clarify the deployment, warning also that he may submit a request to debrief the interior minister if he was not “transparent” about controlling the activity of the PMF.
In contrast, national security council member Hossein Naghavi Hosseini said: “We had once presented support to Iraq and it must support us today. We should fear the presence of American, French and European forces, not Iraqi ones.”
IRGC-affiliated media had on Friday released images of PMF deputy commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis attending a meeting for the Ahwaz crisis cell, which was attended by the Guards’ Quds Force chief Qasem Soleimani. Muhandis’ attendance was deemed a violation of Iranian administrative laws.
Chairman of the National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, Hashmatollah Falahatpisheh defended the deployment, rejecting any criticism of the presence of the PMF and any foreign forces that are loyal to the IRGC.
These are “voluntary” forces from other countries and they are bound to the regulations of the Interior Ministry, he added. The regime granted them permission to enter Iran.
Meanwhile, four leftist opposition groups outside of Iran issued a joint statement that demands the evacuation of foreign militias from Iran, describing the “intervention” as “worrying.”
Pakistani Zaynabioun militia members and others from Lebanon’s Hezbollah had deployed in Ahwaz and Lorestan to help in flood relief.