by Staff writer, SF
In a speech on April 18th marking Iran’s Army Day, President Hassan Rouhani claimed that Iran wants strong relations with neighboring countries and rejects interfering in their internal affairs. He said that “dialogue is the only means towards peace in the region.”
Rouhani commended the army for not interfering in political affairs. “Although the army understands politics well, it was not dragged into the political game and it remained committed to the imam’s will. We do not see the name of any army commander in corruption cases, and this confirms the purity of the Islamic Republic’s army,” he said.
According to several commentators, Rouhani was indirectly criticizing the interference by the Revolutionary Guards in the country’s domestic and foreign political affairs.
The Revolutionary Guards responded to Rouhani and said his remarks “destroyed unity, (incited) divisions and conveyed ingratitude.”
In fact, the commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Navy, Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi, fired back in an interview with the Persian-speaking Jamaran website on Monday.
Fadavi stated that the Revolutionary Guards’ activities “are not limited to Iran.” He noted the Guards’ actual name is Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps not Iranian. “Guarding the Islamic revolution does not only mean guarding one country and one government, i.e. Iran. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps does not have any appendage attached to it and these were the orders of Imam Khomeini.” He added, “Imam Khomeini named it as such because the Islamic Revolution is not limited to geography. And today, you can see how (people’s) passions follow the same context of the Islamic Revolution and how the Revolutionary Guards are present everywhere to protect it.”
The eight year Iraqi-Iranian war was the result of attempting to incite revolutions in neighboring countries, and relations between Iran and its other neighbors have been tense since 1979.
Fadavi called Iranian forces in Syria and Iraq, as well as Tehran’s support of militias in Yemen and Lebanon, “necessary” to defend the Islamic revolution. He said of the IRGC’s Navy’s presence in international waters, “We have been present in Gulf water and Sea of Oman for a long time, and in the future we will have presence in international waters.”
Regarding Rouhani’s remarks about the Revolutionary Guards, Fadavi said, “All I can say is that the Revolutionary Guards is a stable apparatus while others come and go. The Revolutionary Guards act according to the goals of the revolution. It’s unfortunate that some friends in Iran sometimes repeat what the US says, which is extremely hostile to the Revolutionary Guards.”
Ending the interview, Fadavi said, “During the sacred (Iranian-Iraqi) war, we were fighting the enemy in the city of Khorramshahr and in the midst of our homes but today we are fighting the enemy thousands of kilometers away from our borders.”