Iran’s IRGC is “decaying from within”
Iran’s IRGC is “decaying from within”
The unexpected sacking of Hossein Taeb, head of the Iranian regime’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Intelligence Organization, has been tantamount to an 8-magnitude earthquake that shook the mullahs’ regime to its very core with aftershocks continuing as we speak.
The importance and consequences of this sacking becomes all the more relevant due to the significance of the IRGC Intelligence Organization (IO), and the special position and influence enjoyed by Taeb among the regime’s senior elite.
It is common knowledge that the IRGC is the main pillar of the religious theocracy ruling Iran, and the IO plays a vital role in the IRGC. This very organization is described as the main entity behind the regime’s domestic crackdown and assassinations abroad, and in recent years the IRGC-IO has surpassed the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) in these fields.
Taeb himself had a special position in the IRGC and the regime in its entirety. Firstly, he held the post for 13 years. Secondly, he is considered one of the closest security officials to regime Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and his son Mojtaba. As a result, despite the fact that many senior IRGC official had come and gone through the years, Taeb had developed into a somewhat untouchable persona for himself.
Following Taeb’s sudden sacking, Iran’s political atmosphere has witnessed numerous other dismissals and shuffling among the IRGC’s senior ranks, each having their own consequences. Reports of the dismissal and imprisonment of Brigadier General Ali Nasiri, one of the former senior IRGC security officials and responsible for the protection of Khamenei and his family, have been massive to say the least.
While regime officials and state media have been busy denying these reports, experience shows that such denials are part of the regime’s modus operandi when confronting harsh realities. Furthermore, Nasiri’s sacking/imprisonment further signals the depth of this crisis for this regime, reaching the very officials and circles involved in protecting Khamenei himself.
Recent remarks from IRGC chief Hossein Salami shed further light on the growing dilemma before Khamenei and his regime. The current circumstances can be described as completely unprecedented for the IRGC, resulting from a series of setbacks during the past two years, and especially the past few months.
“The enemy wants to rob us of our self-confidence and decay us from within. This is the most dangerous and deceptive type of attack,” said Salami on June 30 in his speech during the inaugural ceremony for the new IRGC-IO chief.
“Our counterintelligence is engaged in a direct face-off with the most experienced intelligence and security agencies of the [West] that have a long record of crumbling many regimes,” he added.
“The IRGC counterintelligence will not allow our own forces to establish connections with the enemy, and the enemy to use evasive measures to establish connections with our forces,” Salami warned in remarks that have raised eyebrows.
The very fact that Salami as the IRGC chief makes public remarks about the enemy seeking to “decay us from within” and “the most dangerous and deceptive attacks,” along with voicing concerns about having the same fate of many other regimes that have been crumbled is telling and needs no further analysis.
One must also take into consideration Salami’s acknowledgement of infiltration into the regime’s senior ranks and files, parallel to the “enemy” establishing connections with “our forces.” Even more interesting is the fact that he spoke of the regime’s own forces establishing connections with the enemy, meaning senior IRGC officials are seeking to establish connections with the enemy, further proving the decaying from within.
However, the question is, which “counterintelligence” is Salami referring to when making claims about a barrier between the enemy and the regime’s forces? Is this the same counterintelligence that he himself significantly questioned, and its director has been reportedly arrested and imprisoned for spying?!
It is crystal clear that the scope of arrests is not limited to a few known IRGC officials. There are certain indications of a continuing wave of arrests among the IRGC and the regime’s entire security apparatus in the past few months.
For example, when Ghiam Sarnegouni, a cybergroup that supports the Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), disrupted and took control over numerous TV networks back in January, the IRGC and other intelligence community entities contained the TV networks’ employees and began a long series of interrogations. State media reports claimed the regime had discovered the “infiltrators” involved, signaling how their most sensitive apparatus were easily penetrated.
Ghiam Sarnegouni continued their efforts in disrupting and taking control over websites and servers affiliated to the regime’s Ministry of Culture and Guidance and the Tehran Municipality. The latter also involved taking full control a vast network of security cameras spread across the Iranian capital and even the mausoleum of Ruhollah Khomeini, the regime’s first supreme leader, on the anniversary of his death.
And this week, the group took over and wiped dozens of servers belonging to the regime’s Islamic Culture and Communications Organization (ICCO), the regime’s arm for establishing centers of fundamentalism and recruiting terrorists abroad.
A general glance shows signs and cracks in the IRGC as the main pillar keeping the mullahs’ regime intact. This is reminiscent of the months leading to the end of the Shah’s rule back in 1979.
The Shah’s last military chief of staff had said in the Military Command Council: “We will melt like snow.” And now, we are witness to the mullahs’ IRGC chief speaking of “decaying from within.”