The IRGC commander in chief reacted to Rouhani’s statement, saying, “If the government is ‘without a gun,’ it will be ‘humiliated’ and will ‘surrender’ to the enemies.”
On June 22, Rouhani continued the factional feuding in an implicit and tactical attack on the IRGC, He said, “Part of the economy was in the hands of a government ‘without a gun’ and we handed it over to a government ‘with a gun.’ This is not economy and privatization. They were already afraid of the gun-free government, let alone ‘a government with a gun’ to which we have given control of the economy, a government that also had the media and everything else and nobody dared to compete with it.”
Rouhani’s reference to the ‘government with a gun’ was directed at the government of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, former president of the regime, who let the IRGC to control much of Iran’s economy.
Mohammad Ali Ja’fari, IRGC’s chief commander, said in reaction to Rouhani’s statements, “We are not afraid of these rebukes,” and added, “They may introduce us as the gun-owners, yes we are gun-owners and more than that we own the missiles that break the enemy and we use them against the enemy to protect the regime, … and protect the Islamic Iran’s security. We believe that a government that does not have guns will be ‘humiliated’ and will eventually ‘surrender’ to the enemies.” He continued his attack on Rouhani by calling him unfair, and said, “The unfair attack on the Revolutionary Guards brings the idea to the minds that there are other objectives behind the attack but we just keep silent in order to maintain unity,” adding, “Messrs.… take memento photos with the development projects that IRGC builds while they owe billions of dollars (to the IRGC) for the projects and then they speak unfairly.”
Ahmad Khorshidi Azad, director of population servants of revolution, said in an interview with FARS news agency on June 27th, “Some don’t know that the government currently owes 32000 billion Tomans (~10 billion dollars) to (the IRGC’s) Khatam-ol-Anbiya construction headquarters and whenever they cannot finish their development project and become desperate they go to the headquarters.”
The factional feuding between the IRGC commanders and Rouhani occurred frequently during Rouhani’s first term. The IRGC commanders have repeatedly attacked the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreement, which Rouhani considers a great achievement that lifted sanctions, boostedthe economy, and increased security. During his presidential election campaign for his second term of office, Rouhani noted IRGC actions, and said, “Some came and showed photos of underground cities to disrupt the JCPOA. They wrote slogans on missiles to disrupt the JCPOA…”
New conflict between IRGC and Rouhani is the recent missile attack on Deir ez-Zor in Syria. While Rouhani stated that Iran’s retaliatory missile strike was “not the decision of an individual or a military organ,” but “such decisions are taken at the regime’s Supreme National Security Council,” the IRGC stated that the attack was “coordinated by the headquarters of the armed forces under the command of the Supreme Leader.” The IRGC commander continued, “In a situation where the nation of Iran more than ever needs the sacrifices of their soldiers and the power and authority of their guns and missiles, the unfair attack on the Revolutionary Guards brings the idea to the minds that there are other objectives behind the attack but we just keep silent in order to maintain unity. We feel that such statements are aimed at creating false bipolarity, evasion and running away from obligations, while these methods will no longer work.”
In the meantime, in an interview with FARS news agency referring to the new U.S. Senate bill, Ali Akbar Kalantari, member of the regime’s Assembly of Experts, said, “Experience has proven that whenever we back off, the enemy becomes embolden and more rude in their action.” Kalantari then attacked Rouhani, saying, “For example, the IRGC’s recent attack against Daesh (ISIS) will make the enemy passive for a long time. The country’s diplomacy men should also consider this point that if they back off against the enemy’s greed and become passive, they will take advantage of this passivity and hit us.”