Members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards march during a military parade to commemorate the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war in Tehran September 22, 2007. REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl/File Photo

Mar 1, 2017

Internal conflict between Iran’s elite revolutionary guard and national intelligence agency surfaced as the two offices exchanged accusations on accountability for security operations executed inside Iran over the last years.

The quarrel intensified after state-affiliated news agencies broadcasted statements in which an intelligence official rebutted information previously relayed by the revolutionary guard’s intelligence deputy chief Major General Hussein Nejat.

The state intelligence spokesman denied any role played by revolutionary guard intelligence in three different operations for which Maj.Gen. Nejat had accredited his taskforce.

Tehran intelligence also said that the guard had no hand in the arrest of eight foreigners partaking in a terrorist ring planning attacks on the parade celebrating the anniversary of Khomeini revolution on February 10.

Dispute escalates three months away from Iranian elections and at a time of deep differences emerging between the guard and President Hassan Rouhani’s administration concerning management of internal affairs.

The latest row between the guard, which answers to the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, and the Tehran-based government of Rouhani is added to several other disagreements that have occupied Iran’s public since last summer.

Over the past few days, Rohani urged government agencies to fulfill their role with safeguarding the elections. He also protested the unwarranted interference projected by military forces, in reference to the possibility of the guard meddling with the May 19 elections.

Several intelligence agencies exist in Iran, each operating under the management of either the ministry of intelligence, the elite revolutionary guard, the Iranian army, or national police.

The guard’s intelligence services are labeled as parallel to that of state intelligence and answers to the Iranian Supreme leader orders as well. Among the core missions the guard’s intelligence is tasked with is the monitoring of state diplomats and senior government officials.

Signs of a dispute among internal intelligence bodies first appeared in August 2016, when the scandal spread on astronomical salaries and the involvement of officials within the Rouhani administration. Later on, the spat escalated when the guard’s intelligence arrested heads of financial institutions at the request of the Iranian judiciary.

Asharq Al-Awsat

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Track PersiaTrack Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.