Rezaee, who unsuccessfully ran for the presidency in 2009 and 2013, made these comments at a conference entitled “Jihadists of Sacred Defense and Construction of the Country”. He said that Iran could not rely on foreign governments to help Iran, mainly because of the extensive US sanctions that were reimposed on Iran last year.
The 64-year-old said: “People are asking who is going to think about us and help us? They are addressing this question foremost to the IRGC and [Basij] forces whose experience and glories could open roadblocks.”
Rezaee continued: “The bureaucratic and management system of running the country has gotten stuck in mud, and under the enemy’s economic bombardment, it is deteriorated and in chaos… We cannot stand idly by and surrender (to the enemy; i.e. the U.S.)”
Rezaee was appointed the chief commander of IRGC in 1981 during the Iran-Iraq war, despite having no military training. He is most well known for his use of human waves to cross minefields, a strategy that resulted in the mass loss of life, and many critics say that his lack of military knowledge prolonged the war to eight years. He was not replaced until 1997.
Many of those in the Iranian Regime who oppose Rouhani’s Administration, claims that the government is ignoring Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s principle of “economic resistance” in the face of the US sanctions and that Rouhani has taken no steps to address the sanctions. Rezaee is one of the most vocal.
He believes that the IRGC would be capable of running the economy because they can create a breakthrough in this economic war.
However, the IRGC, which already controls a massive economic empire in Iran, has been criticised by many who see their economic role as a major impediment to economic reform as well as a source of nepotism and corruption. In 2017, Rouhani called the IRGC, “the government with rifles”. It is likely that this would be a way for Iran to increase its military spending and reduce accountability.