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Who is really negotiating, the government or Sepah Pasdaran?

IMAGE634755426597135088“Iranian military forces will not accept any [nuclear] agreement which does not meet [their] principles.”

General Masoud Jazayeri, deputy chief of staff of Sepah Pasdaran




This is not the first time that Sepah Pasdaran commanders have commented on the ongoing nuclear negotiations or have warned the Iranian negotiators or their international counterparts about possible outcome.

In theory, the negotiations, like other international political matters, are supposed to be the responsibility of the Iranian diplomacy apparatus, i.e. the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. According to the constitution, the military and armed forces are strictly prohibited from intervention in political affairs.

But the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei seems to think otherwise. According to Hojjatoleslam Ali Saeedi, his representative in Sepah Pasdaran, “political activity is one of the duties of the Revolutionary Guards.”[1] This is clearly in breach of the constitution,

Yet it explains a lot in terms of who is to blame for Sepah Pasdaran’s considerable say in internal and international political affairs. It explains why Sepah commanders can say things like Jazayeri’s quote above with such self-confidence and defiance. [2]

And it’s not just in politics. The establishment and expansion of Sepah Pasdaran’s pervasive economic empire – while ordinary Iranians suffer economically more and more – is another aspect of the force’s power and impunity. Add to this Sepah’s free rein in repressing people in recent years, the imprisonment and torture of journalists and political activists and so on.

In fact, is there any aspect of Iranians’ lives in which Sepah’s hands are not at work? Who is really governing Iran after all, Sepah Pasdaran or the government?


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