By Pooya Stone
Questions asked in Iran’s state-run television Channel 5 from Abolfazl Shekarchi, Spokesman and Deputy Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, about the role of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and Iran’s meddling in the Middle East is just one of the examples of the regime’s miserable situation. His defensive stance in this interview was remarkable. These questions raised skeptics in the regime after the call by Iranian opposition leader Massoud Rajavi for the “Dissolution of the IRGC” and to allocate its budget to counter the coronavirus and support the Iranian people.
Moderator: “The suspicion that every country should have a single armed force, you say that this is true in our ideological debate, now what about the protection of borders?”
Shekarchi: “Protecting the ideological borders of the holy system of the Islamic Republic and the Islamic Revolution, in addition to being with all institutions and devices and even the army, is its inherent mission with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.”
Moderator: “And do their works not interfere which each other?”
Shekarchi: “No, they are perfectly compatible with each other. This is the difference between our armed forces and the of the other countries in the world.” (State-run TV Channel 5, 21 September)
The Iranian people do not need the Revolutionary Guards. This force was created from the first day with the aim of preserving Velayat-e-Faqih (supreme clerical rule), carrying out assassinations outside of the borders of Iran, as well as suppressing the people and the opposition forces. Its logo does not show any sign of Iran and Iranian nationality.
Organizing a series of failed operations in the eight-year war, after Iraq’s withdrawal from Iran, is another crime committed by the IRGC. Operation Wal-Fajr to occupy Iraqi territory with the tactic of human waves on the northern fronts in Iraqi Kurdistan to the southern fronts in Faw inflicted heavy casualties on the Iranian population.
In Operation Karbala 4, operational plans had already been leaked, but despite this, the regime carried out the operation and thousands of young Iranian men died.
Sending students as ‘disposable soldiers’ is another aspect of the Revolutionary Guards’ crimes. According to former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, nearly 36,000 school children lost their lives on the battlefields. (31 October 1997)
The terrorist IRGC Quds Force, led by the eliminated general Qassem Soleimani, has played a key role in igniting proxy wars in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen. The purpose of this force was to export terrorism to neighboring countries and to create strategic depth for the Velayat-e-Faqih system.
The IRGC commander called this, “the Protection of the ideological borders of the Islamic Republic” and added: “Religious sovereignty does not really to any land, practically include all nations and all people. We see today that we are defending the oppressed people of Yemen, with the same thinking, we are defending the oppressed people of Palestine, and now with the same thinking we are protecting Non-Muslim nations, from the Black people in the US who are now dying under the boots of the oppression, we are defending them.” (State-run TV Channel 5, 21 September)
The functions of the Revolutionary Guards for the supreme leader Ali Khamenei, in addition to exporting terrorism, are to play a role in domestic repression. The establishment of the large ‘Sarollah’ base to suppress the uprising in Tehran is another aspect of this role. This is what Shekarchi calls ‘internal security’ in his televised interview.
Questioner: “You said that the IRGC is an ideological border. Where is our ideological border? You mean the ideological border is once Palestine, and once Yemen, does it not interfere with defending our geographical border?”
Shekarchi: “You see, it is not that the IRGC has no mission inside the country, it certainly has a mission. But we must prevent the infiltration of foreigners, deal with the hypocrites [the regime’s derogatory label for the opposition Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK/PMOI)], ensure the internal security of the country. These are all missions of the IRGC.” (State-run TV Channel 5, 21 September)
Shekarchi’s remarks only reaffirmed the contention that the IRGC is an unnecessary force with malign activities and is wasting the people’s resources.