On April 21, Iran Regime’s Supreme Leader, sacked the Islamic Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) chief Mohammad Ali Jafari and appointed his deputy, Hossein Salami, as his successor
While sending shockwaves among Iran observers, the sudden change in IRGC’s command raised the question of what was Khamenei’s intention from this reshuffle and why Jafari – in contrast to all previous changes – has been appointed to a cultural role that is considered completely non-significant and more importantly why did Khamenei resort to such a drastic transition in such a dire circumstance?
The recent decision by the U.S. State Department to designate IRGC as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) delivered a severe blow to the IRGC and the entire regime apparatus where the Revolutionary Guards ranks and files are experiencing drastic turmoil. Jafari’s sacking and his appointment to a non-sense cultural role is indeed humiliating and signals a devastating setback for the IRGC and the entire regime. Such a reshuffle at the top of this terrorist entity also signals severe weaknesses and fallout not only among its senior ranks but also its ranks and files.
The IRGC’s command reshuffle is taking place in the middle of a rigorous battle between Tehran and Washington where the pressures on Iran’s regime is being increased on a daily basis. It is worth noting that two years ago, Khamenei had issued a ruling extending Jafari’s ten-year tenure for another three years. However, with another year left, Jafari sacking becomes even more important.
Mohammad Ali Jafari served as the IRGC commander-in-chief for the past 12 years and was considered an image of the regime’s strategy in recent years. Under Jafari, the IRGC has specifically focused on domestic crackdown and exporting terrorism abroad. The IRGC has been specifically missioned to protect the mullahs’ apparatus and the army’s responsibility has been protecting the borders. The IRGC’s general hierarchy across the country witnessed severe changes and new provincial corps and Basij paramilitary units launched. All these developments came under Khamenei’s new strategy to increase the IRGC’s ability to crackdown against the entire Iranian population, while also entering non-conventional warfare abroad.
With Jafari calling it quit, there are signs that this sacking has broader implications, indicating signs of significant crises at the top of the mullahs’ apparatus. Inside Iran, the IRGC has lost its previous posture and the Iranian people have now the upper hand with their growing protests. Iran’s interference across the region is reaching a dead-end and the FTO designation is pushing this defeat into a major strategic setback.
Salami’s (the successor) Role
Jafari’s role for the regime could be evaluated in the mission bestowed upon him. Hossein Salami, his successor, however, has been quite the opposite and only considered a propaganda tool.
During the 1980s Iran-Iraq War, Salami was a low-grade officer in the logistics and training branch of two different IRGC divisions. He was, however, very much involved in the IRGC massacre of Iranian Kurds and raids targeting dissident youths in Tehran. All the while, he was nothing in comparison to other senior IRGC members who are now serving under his command.
Salami also played a role during the 2009 uprising crackdown. Years later, following attacks against members of the Iranian opposition group People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) then stationed in Camp Ashraf, north of Baghdad, Iraq, Salami resorted to saber-rattling and lies. All his claims were easily debunked by the PMOI/MEK’s revelations.
Khamenei appointing Salami to this position shows he needs propaganda more than ever before as crises are engulfing his regime more than ever. Interesting how the regime’s own state-run media showed little attention to Salami’s appointment, further suggesting the fire simmering within the mullahs’ apparatus.
The reshuffle for the IRGC has several important messages for the Iranian people and PMOI/MEK supporters in their desire for regime change in Iran.
First, the IRGC’s policy of creating a climate of fear inside Iran has been defeated as a result of the perseverance witnessed in the PMOI/MEK Resistance Units, .
Second, due to ongoing revelations by the Iranian Resistance on the international stage and shedding light on the IRGC’s malevolent and terrorist activities, the mullahs’ warmongering policies are also facing a major setback.
Third, as the IRGC (the regime’s main apparatus of repression and crackdown) begins to weaken like never before, the sounds of the regime’s overthrow are being heard louder and louder.