Iran News Round Up - Special Edition - July 23, 2013

The Critical Threats Project of the American Enterprise Institute recently published a report entitled, “The IRGC Command Network: Formal Structure and Informal Influence.” This report examines the formal structures that comprise the IRGC’s senior leadership and the informal influence networks that dominate these structures in order to identify and describe the networks that actually control Iran’s most powerful organization.

To coincide with this publication, we are publishing a special edition of the Iran News Round Up. The following is a full translation of IRGC Public Relations Deputy Brigadier General 2nd Class Ramezan Sharif's recent interview with Shargh newspaper. Sharif is the IRGC’s official spokesman, and though he regularly comments on IRGC affairs, it is extremely rare for him to give an interview of this depth.

Authors: AEI Critical Threats Project Iran Analyst Will Fulton and Iran Intern Amir Toumaj

In this interview, Sharif discusses at length important topics, such as: the IRGC’s future relations with the Rouhani government; its relationships with the Ahmadinejad, Khatami, and Rafsanjani governments; its role in the 2009 post-election unrest, and; its controversial role in the Iranian economy and political sphere. Sharif attempts to downplay the role of the IRGC in economic and domestic political affairs, claims that the IRGC made no mistakes in 2009 and, in fact, had no role in suppressing the post-election protests, and asserts that the IRGC had more problems with the Ahmadinejad administration, particularly in the Supreme National Security Council, than with any other administration. The interview appears in full below.

IRGC Spokesman in a conversation with Shargh

Originally published by Shargh newspaper on July 22, 2013

From the victory of the Islamic Revolution until now, the IRGC has been one of the most powerful and influential organizations in Iran, whose primary duty has been defined as “protecting the Revolution and its achievements.” Although the IRGC is known more as a military-security organization, it has also defined economic, political, social, and cultural missions for itself. The IRGC’s entry into economic areas after the eight-year [Iran-Iraq] war, and further into the political realm after [2005], and especially after 2009 and onward, has been controversial. In this regard, we discussed the criticism of the IRGC’s performance with Brigadier General [2nd class] Ramazan Sharif, fellow comrade of IRGC Quds Force Commander (Qassem Suleimani), who has spent most of his career with media and journalists. Commander Sharif has held the post of IRGC Public Affairs Spokesman and Director for five or six years, and he is, perhaps, one of the few people who have been able to establish good relations and coordination between with the media regarding activities in a security establishment.

How have the IRGC’s relations been with the [different] administrations from the beginning of the revolution until now?

The answer to this question requires an introduction. All that we have observed today is the result of the Imam [Khomeini’s] knowledge, and deep insight, and deriving a way of thought from the ideology of Islam and the culture of the ahl-e bayt [literally, House of the Prophet], and also his knowledge of the enemies of Islam and the revolution, which enabled the implementation of a new discourse in modern history based on the discourse of the Prophet and ahl-e bayt. If we pay attention to the time of the Islamic Revolution in [1979], we faced two dominant discourses which had divided the world between themselves. One was the discourse of the West with American leadership and the other was the discourse of communism under the command of the former Soviet Union. The emergence of a third discourse was an innovation of that era. This discourse, in addition to fundamental differences with the two dominant discourses, was not just a [territorial] desire of Iran or even a [territorial] desire of the Islamic ummah, but rather, was the [requirement] of divine values and compatibility with the culture and nature of all humans.

With the victory of the Islamic revolution and emergence of a new discourse, the pervasive owners of the other two discourses felt that they were facing a fundamental and serious issue. Therefore, with special interests and reasons, these two…attempted to either prevent this discourse from forming or to at least prevent it from surpassing the country’s geographical borders and transforming into a global discourse.

But the Imam, with his in-depth knowledge of the enemy’s complicated tricks, in order to protect the revolution...created the IRGC; that is, one of the institutions that was born out of the revolution. The Imam always had a stable outlook regarding the IRGC as an institution, that the IRGC is responsible for protecting the Islamic revolution and its achievements, and he did not limit this duty to specific threats or areas. It is interesting that, unlike the media imagination and propaganda that has transformed into lies, the IRGC is the most law-abiding institution of the Islamic Revolution.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps has unique experience, meaning, it was fulfilling its duties while it was still forming, training and organizing itself, and while simultaneously facing the country's various issues, such as the unrest in Kurdistan and Turkmen Sahra and the confrontation of anti-revolutionary groups. The apex of [this] experience was Saddam’s invasion and the IRGC's entry into the eight years of Sacred Defense.

At the beginning of the IRGC's formation, the majority of its work was cultural and in the path of spreading the discourse of the Imam and the Islamic revolution, toward organizing structures to reinforce the Islamic Republic’s position, and changing the monarchy’s bureaucratic system. Of course, in this path, some institutions and other organs were also played a role in accordance with their own circumstances and capacities.

After the passing of [1980] and the end of the administration and events following the capturing of the nest of spies [U.S. Embassy] and the American military attack of Tabas [failed hostage rescue attempt], Iraq’s Imposed War began with the support of the Global Arrogance on [September 22, 1980]. The government dealt with special circumstances during the war. We were confronting a foreign invasion; efforts word made and we witnessed serious interaction from the government without conflict. Those who were at the [war] front had demands for the government, and they were right to have them, and from the time that the administration found its role and place, its support gradually increased. However, during the last years of the war, criticisms toward the performance and behavior of the Prime Minister and the administration were introduced.

Regarding the administration at the time, do you mean Mr. Mir Hossein Mousavi’s administration?

Yes, I meant his administration. In post-war circumstances, for all countries, there exists a principle whereby the government employs all the nation’s capabilities to reconstruct the country, which is introduced as “armed forces operations during peace-time or after war.” Russia and China have used [this] well. The IRGC, with respect to its engineering expertise and also its equipment and intelligent and elite manpower, began to utilize some of its engineering capabilities for national development under constitutional Article 147 and with Supreme Leader’s order on [December 14, 1989]. Of course, in that area, like all other areas, including the war, there were doubts regarding IRGC abilities. [The said] that these [IRGC] have not taken courses, have not had training and are not familiar with [military] divisions or units. In fact, one of the IRGC’s challenges with [then-President] Bani Sadr was also in this field, that he did not allow the IRGC to work. But with the Imam’s affirmation, his representative in the Supreme National Security Council, who at that time was the Supreme Leader [Ali Khamenei], and also with the serious activity of Mr. Hashemi [Rafsanjani], the IRGC overcame these difficulties and was able to answer all questions and doubts. The nation realized that if the IRGC was not present, circumstances would have been different. Therefore, the IRGC, by accepting all these [criticisms], was able to emerge successfully.

In the area of reconstruction, from the beginning until now, everyone has had a specific objection to the IRGC’s [involvement], which on the surface comes from good intentions. But since the IRGC’s mission is to protect the revolution, it could not be indifferent toward the country, especially its damaged infrastructure, and ignore these circumstances by returning to military bases.

In the government of Reconstruction [two-term presidency of Rafsanjani], which witnessed the beginning of the IRGC’s entry into reconstruction, the President and administration officials in various positions praised the prominent role of the IRGC and, despite these [other] obstacles, the IRGC completed many large projects. The increase of experience, technical knowledge and the procurement of new equipment in this area also continued during the Reformist government [two-term presidency of Mohammad Khatami] and many projects were transferred to the IRGC. A large number of [these projects] were completed during [this era], and the Reformist’s technical ministers, such as Energy and Transportation, were satisfied with the IRGC’s method, both from a [qualitative and quantitative] perspective.

Meaning their opinion was positive?

All interviews, dialogues, and statements of Reformist ministers during the inaugurations and closing ceremonies document [this fact], and there has not been a single complaint regarding IRGC measures in either the Reconstruction or Reformist governments.

In the Ninth and Tenth governments [President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s administrations] this trend continues, and sometimes IRGC problems have been greater during this era than during the Reformist and Reconstruction governments, for various reasons. Unlike what has been said in some of the media about IRGC Ahmadinejad’s [election] facilitating IRGC work or about the IRGC being [present] in all projects, it was not like this. This matter is not accurate and there is documentation [to attest this fact]. One of the reasons for this is that some who were present in the Ninth and Tenth governments, for certain reasons, did not have the necessary ease of accepting [IRGC] work, like during the Reformist and Reconstruction governments. Of course, it’s not that [they] created obstacles, because the capabilities and specialties that the IRGC possess are not capabilities that the government could simply overlook. Unlike some partisan propaganda, it is not that the IRGC attempts to acquire various projects and work, rather it was these administrations which attempted to utilize IRGC capacity and opportunity.

After the appointment of Major General [Mohammad Ali] Jafari to IRGC Commander, one of his measures was to limit the IRGC’s entry projects that could be completed by domestic contractors. He even specified contracts [based on] the rial ceiling and effort, and efforts were made for the IRGC to [only] enter where domestic contractors did not possess the capability to perform and where the majority of competitors are foreign companies. Of course, in the Ninth and especially the Tenth government, the matter of sanctions created problems that you must add to the other reasons. For example, transferring of the Peace Pipeline [Iran-Pakistan gas pipelines] from Asalouyeh to Iran Shahr is not a project that has domestic contractor volunteers, [and] any rational person knows that when there is a capability in the country foreign countries must not enter. From another perspective, one must pay attention to cost estimates and the creation of opportunity for wise contractors.

The IRGC’s presence in the development field is the continuation of the IRGC’s presence in the era of the Sacred Defense. The joy of introducing a prosperous country is very important for the IRGC. The IRGC seeks to demonstrate that the Islamic Republic system is capable of being active in these fields, and, today, there have been many large projects in many areas. Despite the chaos that comes, the amount of contractors in the country that are dependent on currents known as national and religious, even in the Ninth and Tenth governments, are greater than [those in] the IRGC Construction Base, and one can demonstrate this with statistics and numbers. This is a matter that, unfortunately, receives less attention despite its importance in such an environment.

IRGC interaction was better with the Hashemi, Khatami or Ahmadinejad governments?

It was different at various times. During the Reformist era, we were not very satisfied with their performance in the cultural arena and the IRGC’s interaction with them was less. The type of thought that officials [of this government] used, whether in the cultural arena or in the foreign policy arena, was the cause of decreased interaction, because the IRGC supported slogans that could demonstrate the country’s strength and have a more positive deterrent effect and diminish the enemies’ greed. For example, at the height of the discussion of the Dialogue of Civilizations that the administration pursued, America introduced as the Axis of Evil, [placing us] alongside North Korea and Saddam. This, in reality, was due to the enemy’s nature and their perspective toward us. These were some of the IRGC criticisms during in that era. But in my opinion, in the field of IRGC construction and from the perspective of [actual] work, there were fewer obstacles in Mr. Hashemi’s era and, especially, Mr. Khatami’s era. Acquiring work was more difficult during the Ninth and Tenth governments. This is not just my opinion, rather, it is the plain statements of former [IRGC] Khatam ol-Anbia Construction Base Commander (current Oil Minister Mr. Rostam Ghassemi). I do not want to say they had malicious intent, but the difficulties of work were greater.

With which administration was interaction the best?

One cannot say absolutely; it can be divided into different arenas. IRGC interaction was easier and more rational with the governments that obeyed the law and pursued affairs legally. The IRGC’s policies and duties are clear. As the protectors of the revolution, the IRGC has accelerated to help governments who have created circumstances and contexts, and the IRGC has not [foregone any measures] in the Reconstruction, Reformist, or Ninth and Tenth governments. We observed Americans’ presence in Iraq and Afghanistan during the Reformist era. The IRGC, at the cutting edge of events, was able to competently perform its duties and turn threats away from the country. In Mr. Ahmadinejad’s era, you also saw that the Americans progressed to the stage of invading us multiple times but did not carry out their invasion. This is because they understood from the deterrent power of the IRGC and armed forces on display, especially the Great Prophet drills that began during the Reformist era, that they could not risk [invading] because their will would be affected, and this is a constant principle. If you pay attention to the [2013] presidential candidate debates, you see that no security concerns were introduced by any of the candidates, and this was [due to] the good performance of the armed forces, the IRGC especially, in military and defensive affairs, in such a way that no country can imagine invading this country again. We must acknowledge that the country was surprised by an unwanted war during the era of the Revolution, therefore, this event must never be repeated. One of the government’s most serious concerns is the security of the country and the borders. The security of the country is a gift to the government by the IRGC and, in a way, the armed forces. The head of an administration that does not have any security concerns can act in the path of fulfilling slogans and promises that he has made. This will be verified in the future administration, and with God’s support, Dr. [Hassan] Rouhani will not have any concerns in this area.

Which government was the most law-abiding?

It is relative and [one] must assess them in their own specific circumstances. Of course, each of the governments made efforts to obey the law.

There were discussions that the IRGC preferred Mr. Ahmadinejad in [2005]?

The IRGC’s logic is to act within the framework of its duties. I say with certainty that the IRGC has never sought [to determine] who becomes president. The IRGC’s basis has been that which is approved by the Supreme Leader in two dimensions: securing the elections and ensuring the people’s maximum participation. The IRGC has always had an active presence in these two areas. Another [concern] is for the election to be held in a safe and calm environment, and that is not a simple task due to the enemies that we have. Security is not easily fulfilled. The IRGC’s security duties have always been a fixed obligation, regardless of who the people vote for. We consider the standard of the people’s participation as one of the security indicators, and the people’s increased presence indirectly helps the armed forces. To fulfill these desires, the IRGC has been active in explaining the perspective of the Imam and Supreme Leadership and explaining the necessity and role of the people’s presence, but to say that the IRGC was a supporter of Mr. Ahmadinejad in [2005] is incorrect, and we say with certainty that the IRGC did not [support him] at all. But another matter introduced is that the basijis preferred the slogans and activities of Ahmadinejad, which they saw during the time of his mayoral management, and our public opinion has been effective in that regard. Public opinion has demands and requirements and it looks for the slogans in which these are most prominent, but this does not mean that the Basij as an organization was behind Mr. Ahmadinejad. Basij members, who are a large part of the country’s population, felt that what they wanted, and preferred his approach. It is undeniable that the Basijis were his main vote in that regard. It was like this in the [2009] election as well. It is correct that the Basij is an organization connected to the IRGC, but it is not true that the IRGC restricts them on this issue or determines which candidates they vote for in an election.

The question is if the Basij performs by order and has received orders from the IRGC in this regard?

It is not like this at all. It is correct that the Basij has a hierarchy and performs under orders; for example, this applies to [military] drills and its other field activities, but in affairs related to the individual Basij, they perform based on their own determination. The Basij has various sectors, such as student, university student, university professor, etc., but we have issued many statements in these very elections that the IRGC will not support anyone outright, and that we will only engage in defining criteria and standards and the necessity of maximum participation. We are religiously duty-bound to not enter into [the elections]. Regarding this matter, the Imam has [made] a true statement, that the entry into political factions and groups is religiously prohibited for the IRGC. Terms of religious prohibition have a special meaning for the IRGC and military [members], whose origins are religious. The interesting point is that, according to Goebbels, “the bigger the lie the easier it is to believe.” This is also a Goebbles’ lie that the IRGC and the Basij are pursuing this or that individual to become president and the others to not. The IRGC’s perspective is really not like this. Of course we have used our previous experience in each era; for example, in the recent elections, beginning [three months] ago, the IRGC commanders and the representatives of the Supreme Leader in the IRGC have been more supervised on this matter. We in IRGC Public Affairs plainly said about a year ago that the IRGC will not enter [the elections].

How do you evaluate IRGC performance in ’88 [2009]?

The entry point of the IRGC into the [2009] sedition was logical. Public opinion of the system’s officials and the IRGC has strongly demanded that this issue be settled. Meaning, because of the type of events that occurred and the undeniable fact that that some of the voters were protesting the result of the election and had a presence on the streets, and statements were issued, on one hand, the party that had more votes was present on the scene, but the IRGC had not entered at all at this stage. From the very first days the IRGC tried to prevent problems and to prevent anyone from getting hurt, but when street campaigns…and anti-security measures continued, financial and physical damages were inflicted on the people, and a field was created for the presence of dissidents, who did not belong to the 13 million voters of the defeated candidates and who took advantage of this opportunity, [the IRGC] entered. Forgetting about the elections, it is natural for the IRGC to enter at this stage so that it could end street riots and the insecurities resulting from [those] disobeying the law. Therefore, the IRGC entered within the framework of its legal mission to return stable security, for a short, limited, and effective amount of time during the [2009] sedition. The outcome that we had afterward has gone along with public consent, and has been satisfied with the IRGC’s performance. Of course, I do not deny that some have been dissatisfied with the behavior of the Law Enforcement Forces or the Basij, who helped, and it is possible that individuals made mistakes.

The IRGC did not make any mistakes in [2009]?

Not to be biased, but we performed an accurate review [and found] that the IRGC made no mistakes in the events after the [2009] elections. The IRGC did not have a role at all. Ten days prior to the elections, we had many street expeditions with the presence of all candidate supporters, but you did not see any conflicts or disputes until the day the election results were announced. What happened was that [some] began surpassing the law, and opportunist elements, with previous designs, of course, entered in. The IRGC entered in line with its legal duties and at its own specific point. Of course, one of our weaknesses during the events after the [2009] elections was that we did not use the spiritual sayings and informative presence of the IRGC commanders, who were popular among the public, and the national media. The reason was that the enemy had propagated that the IRGC interferes in the elections to such an extent that there was a concern that this very presence would be interpreted as IRGC interference in the elections.

Unlike the first years [of his government], the IRGC has had conflict with Mr. Ahmadinejad in the last two or three years of the Tenth government; [for example], in the Supreme National Security Council differences and discussions were introduced. What was the reason for these differences?

IRGC support and cooperation with the government is a function of specific criteria and guidelines, part of which are compiled and communicated, [that] so long as the government performs is legal and stipulated duties and does not violate [any criteria], the IRGC considers itself required to support [the government] with its full capabilities. As soon as it is felt that the government has become stricken with the marginalized that are distant from a topic, this can certainly cause a revision regarding IRGC behavior, and this is something that unfortunately happened [during] the Tenth government. A great deal of correspondence took place with the Tenth government under the name of the IRGC organization and also by some IRGC commanders, and most indicated that [the administration] avoids marginalizing and attempts to pursue honest service and slogans in accordance with the Revolution as its icon, and in this field, the IRGC truly made many attempts to help a government that was the source of valuable services for the country.

Therefore there were differences?

Certainly these differences existed, [they existed] in the previous administrations sometimes as well. The IRGC has a duty to execute the provisions of the primary centers of decision-making, such as the Supreme National Security Council – which is led by the President – and the provisions which are executed after the approval of the Supreme Leader; in these areas there were no problems with any other government. What is mostly introduced is the style, saying and sometimes some behaviors that the [grand clerics] and the faithful take positions on. The IRGC’s nature is clear in these matters, but no unsolvable problems have existed until now.

What is your explanation about reports and texts regarding the support of some figures, such as Commander [Qassem] Suleimani, for some candidates?

We must seriously consider two discussions: one, that a candidate’s headquarters attempt to utilize popular figures to gather votes, and one of these can be the IRGC Quds [Force] Commander, to whom attention is paid out of personal [charisma] and social approval. But immediately after the publishing of this news that was introduced for two candidates in two time periods, [they] were officially denied.

Meaning that Commander Suleimani said such a thing?

No. A conversation that he had with one of the respectful ulama about a year and half ago was about who can manage the country? He says there are many individuals such as Mr. so-and-so. They texted these exact sayings with serious literature in his support of another candidate that we denied again, and it was pursued by Commander Suleimani himself. We were bound [to make sure] that his personality and position must not be used for the elections. We observed this from [May] last year; that the IRGC reputation that is attached to the system’s reputation [not be used]. I do not say completely, but we have had almost no complaints from any headquarters about this, and for the first time, the enemy’s large news disseminating centers also confessed that the IRGC has truly not entered. Of course, [one] must say that it has been like this in the previous elections, not just in this election.

If you would like to [analyze] the IRGC in these thirty plus years, what do you consider its strong and weak points?

The IRGC Strategic Studies Center is continuously assessing the IRGC organization and its mission orientation. An important debate is the matter of appropriate [adaption] to the current of events and regional and global threats.

In the post-war era, we did not imagine threats well, but with the preparation of the “IRGC Design for Evolution and Excellence,” threats and wars were defined in different categories such as soft, heavy and semi-soft wars, and specialized forces and logistic equipment has been defined appropriately within those mission spectrums.

The IRGC is continuously trying to not lose its revolutionary identity and [to ensure that] the prominent culture that the IRGC has formed transfers appropriately to the generation that will inherit the IRGC and maintain this ideal and revolutionary spirit.

In this path, [we] have continuously viewed IRGC performance, and we are attempting to resolve problems that exist in the work processes. We cannot deny that all societies’ progress and strength has been [a result of] the access to scientific branches. This perspective exists in the IRGC, that we will have to be dominant in various sciences so we can have something to say in this environment. The IRGC’s perspective is that of of learning science, spirituality, faith and revolutionary action.

What has been the IRGC’s point of strength?

I consider the most important point of IRGC strength this very faith and belief in divine values, populist features, and the description of themselves in the framework of the law and the provisions received from Islamic doctrine, whose main characteristic is the velayat-e faghih. I consider the secret to IRGC successes in this regard is that is perspective has always been pointing to the Supreme Leader, whether in the era of the Imam or in the era of the grand Supreme Leader.

And the most important weak point?

In an organization as large as the IRGC with different missions and duties, it is natural that there are weaknesses, and I consider the most important IRGC weak point to be in the field of information dissemination. Despite multiple attempts, we have not been able to familiarize well [the public] with the IRGC, its performance and the alignment of this popular and revolutionary institution. For example, when we have less than five percent of the country’s civil projects, the enemy has demonstrated [the IRGC]  has 95% and [that is the perception]. This demonstrates our weakness in this area. Though, of course, some of this is due to IRGC culture. which says that the people are doing our work and the enemy will also do its own. But the effect of the media is undeniable to the extent that [when] a major section of IRGC activities that are one hundred percent compatible with the national interest and working to alleviate the needs of the people and society is demonstrated as destructive in the obstinate media. 

The IRGC has made mistakes during its years of activities as well?

Yes, in the era after the war, the IRGC neglected the cultural role that it should have performed and became introverted. [Paying] attention to the IRGC [made] us ignore society’s issues, like the events that happened in Ahvaz’s Shalang Abad or Mashhad [province’s] Kooye Talab. If the IRGC was aware [then like it is] today, it would have pressured governments so that it would not allow such events to occur. But the IRGC had become introverted, and from this perspective the country was harmed.

How did the mistakes that caused damaged come about? And to the extent that the IRGC seeks to apologize for these mistakes?

I do not say that there have not been mistakes, but we really are not aware of a specific issue that requires an apology. Fundamentally, someone who apologizes increases his [stature] but I am not aware of the IRGC institution making such mistakes. Perhaps there have been mistakes in the behavior of individuals who were in the IRGC in the past, or who have had a connection to this institution regarding political and social activities, but it is not appropriate to [associate] them with the IRGC and to request an apology from the IRGC. The IRGC has always been the [defensive] shield of the country’s events, but we do not claim that all IRGC activities have been 100% fruitful.

What is primary source for announcing IRGC positions? News agencies and newspapers related to the IRGC have been identified [whose] positions have been called the IRGC’s positions.

Our official source for announcing IRGC positions and perspectives has been the Sepah News website. During the past five years, there has not been any news that we announced and have not taken responsibility for. But overall, no media is without an owner. During the reformist era, which was the era of the Basij’s entry into the soft war arena, the Basij organization complex gave some help to Fars News Agency and Javan newspaper as one of the tools of soft war, but that news agency and newspaper obey the same laws that the rest of the country’s news agencies and newspaper’s obey, and are not considered exclusive IRGC media.

How will the IRGC interact with the future government?

IRGC presence in all matters and arenas is lawful and it obeys the country’s law precisely. Laws and regulations have determined the method of IRGC involvement in each field and it performs on this basis.

That some in the [2013] presidential debates concentrated on the IRGC’s presence in construction arenas is because they imagined that the phrase, “we will take the IRGC out of economic works,” would bring many votes. Although the IRGC’s entry into this arena is lawful, we did not enter these matters, which were the elections’ requirements.

The future administration will also obey the law. The IRGC does not have a thirst to take on projects; of course, this excludes cases that are achievements for the system. Please pay attention to his point; we gave thousands of martyrs so that we would not give [an inch] of our soil to the enemy. How can it be possible that millions of cubic meters of gas are taken from joint sources by others and the IRGC not be sensitive to this, and not pressure officials, saying that if they cannot perform we are prepared to accept it? An example of this is the Southern Pars Phases 15 and 16, which was not the IRGC after its own interest but was for national interest. And a revolutionary minister came and said that zero to 100% of it [should be] given to the IRGC. The [IRGC] Construction Base executed, and that is truly a model. The IRGC does not seek to create chaos when it deals with national interest. The IRGC will perform its duties and will not pay attention to these matters. It does not insist in the rest of the construction areas. The more that governments use the IRGC’s capacity and capability, the more victorious they will be. A major aspect of the project that the respectful President Mr. Ahmadinejad has inaugurated in these last months and weeks has been performed by the Khatam al-Anbia Base. Of course, the IRGC performed this with pride. The IRGC will take a step forward in helping the future administration.

Are you optimistic about better IRGC interaction with the future administration?

We consider the eleventh elections and the President-elect as a good opportunity to pursue revolutionary ideals, and just as the Supreme Leader stated, all must aid this government, and [the IRGC has taken] a step forward in this matter. Unlike what the enemies seek to induce, the IRGC is determined to help the administration within the legal framework and considers the administration’s success a national success for those who voted for him with hope, and the IRGC announced this readiness in an official statement after the victory of the President-elect.