Iran Focus: Tehran, Iran, Dec. 08 There was confusion this week over whether a senior Revolutionary Guards commander staunchly allied to hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had stepped down from the influential post of Deputy Interior Minister. Iran Focus
Tehran, Iran, Dec. 08 There was confusion this week over whether a senior Revolutionary Guards commander staunchly allied to hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had stepped down from the influential post of Deputy Interior Minister.
On Thursday, the government-owned news agency Mehr reported that Brigadier General Mohammad Baqer Zolqadr had resigned from his position in the Interior Ministry.
Mehr said that Interior Minister Mostafa Pourmohammadi had accepted the resignation of Zolqadr, who was the ministrys number-two man with overall responsibility for internal security. The report did not state the reason for his departure.
Hours later, the news agency Fars, which is operated by the Office of Irans Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, denied the report.
Fars quoted an informed source as saying that Zolqadr had not shown up for work over the past 72 hours but continued to remain in his position.
On Friday, however, the same news agency retracted that report and carried a separate report which confirmed Zolqadr had submitted his resignation but that it had not yet been accepted.
It said that certain government officials were strenuously trying to convince the top general to remain as Deputy Interior Minister.
Zolqadr, who was once the deputy commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), is a protégé and trusted confidant of Supreme Leader Khamenei and has had a key role in the countrys security apparatus for years.
The United Nations Security Council has added his name to a list of senior IRGC commanders who are banned from travelled abroad because of their role in the countrys suspected nuclear weapons program.
Since Ahmadinejad became President, hundreds of senior officers of the IRGC have been seconded to government ministries and state institutions to prop up the countrys civil administration as the Islamic Republic continues to defy the international community over its nuclear program.
In September, Zolqadr’s former boss and the man who commanded the Revolutionary Guards for the past decade, Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi, stepped down as Commandant of the IRGC.