NewsSpecial WireIran’s Revolutionary Guards take over key policy body

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards take over key policy body

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Iran Focus: Tehran, Iran, Sep. 27 – As part of a plan to bring Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) under the complete domination of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), several highly-placed commanders of the elite military organisation are filling the top slots in the key decision-making body on security and defence policies, Iran Focus has learnt. Iran Focus

Tehran, Iran, Sep. 27 – As part of a plan to bring Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) under the complete domination of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), several highly-placed commanders of the elite military organisation are filling the top slots in the key decision-making body on security and defence policies, Iran Focus has learnt.

The most significant changes include the expected entry of the second-in-command of the IRGC who will soon be named as the new deputy chief of the Supreme National Security Council, which is in charge of the country’s nuclear negotiations with the West and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

IRGC Deputy Commandant Brigadier General Mohammad-Baqer Zolqadr is expected to be appointed to the post in the coming days, according to several sources with first-hand information on the new build-up of the SNSC.

Iran Focus first reported on August 31 that in continuation of significant changes in the Revolutionary Guards high command, Brigadier General Zolqadr would leave his post to take up another senior position.

Zolqadr is a protégé and trusted confidant of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and has a key role in the country’s security apparatus. He has been close friends with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for years. His departure from the IRGC high command will be a significant change in the force’s command.

Another senior IRGC commander, Brigadier General Mohammad-Ali (Aziz) Jaafari, was confirmed on Sunday as the new head of the SNSC’s directorate for internal security.

In mid-August, Khamenei put Brigadier General Jaafari in charge of forming the “IRGC Centre for Strategy”.

The idea for the creation of the new centre for strategy came from Khamenei himself, who regularly receives the top IRGC commanders and closely follows their activities. He had asked IRGC Commandant, Major General Rahim Safavi, and his commanders to devise a new command structure and military strategy for the IRGC that would give the elite military force unlimited access to national resources and absolute priority over the regular army in case of a foreign military confrontation. The new centre will draw up the new strategy and implement the necessary changes to ensure rapid and efficient transformation of the country’s civilian infrastructure and resources to military footing under the control of the IRGC.

Another key Revolutionary Guards commander who will be entering the Supreme National Security Council is Brigadier General Seyyed-Ali Hosseini-Tash, a highly-placed source has told Iran Focus. Hosseini-Tash was the deputy Minister of Defence in the administration of Mohammad Khatami and according to the opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran, was the ranking defence official involved in Tehran’s suspected nuclear weapons program.

Several other senior Revolutionary Guards commanders have also been added to the SNSC rota including a radical hard-liner who was named in mid-September as the new chairman of the powerful foreign policy directorate of the Supreme National Security Council.

In his new position, Seyyed Ali Monfared will be the chief negotiator in Iran’s nuclear talks with the International Atomic Energy Agency IAEA and Western governments. He will replace Hossein Moussavian, a former ambassador to Germany.

Monfared is a founding father of Iran’s notorious secret police, the Ministry of Intelligence and Security, and was a senior officer in the IRGC.

He is not the only former Revolutionary Guards officer to have recently entered Iran’s nuclear team; his new boss, Ali Larijani, was recently installed as the Secretary General of the SNSC. Larijani, a former General of the Revolutionary Guards, is another protégé of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and a key ally of President Ahmadinejad, himself a former senior commander in the IRGC.

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