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May 2, 2021

Zarif Apologises to Soleimani’s Family and Iranian People

Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif took to Instagram to apologise for comments he made regarding the late Qods Force commander Qasem Soleimani in the now infamous leaked audio file. Zarif apologised without reservation, stating that “I hope the Iranian people and all those who love the Commander, especially the noble family of dear Soleimani, will forgive me”. 

Read more at Mehr

April 27, 2021

Dehghan Approaches Musicians for Campaign

A music magazine has reported that the campaign manager of IRGC candidate Hossein Dehghan has approached three musicians about including their music and commissioning performances in support of his campaign. The musicians include two popular singers – Mohsen Chavoshi and Mostafa Ragheb – and classical Iranian musician Salar Aghili. According to the report, Chavoshi and Aghili had turned down the requests, but nothing is known about Ragheb’s response. In recent decades, candidates have sought the support of musicians, actors and other celebrities for their campaign. 

Read the report at CactusMusic

April 27, 2021

Ghasemi Officially Announces Candidacy

IRGC officer Rostam Ghasemi officially announced his candidacy today, after more than a month of campaigning, stating that he would focus on fixing Iran’s economic problems and that he was ready “to make Iran proud”. Ghasemi is a controversial figure; an Oil Minister under Ahmadinejad, he is on an EU sanctions list, was the target of an apparent assassination attempt in Lebanon in March, and recently involved himself in a war of words with the Foreign Ministry regarding the extent of the IRGC presence in Yemen. 

Read more at Jamaran

April 26, 2021

Rafiqdoust Criticises Saeed Mohammad

In a continuation of the division in the IRGC about Saeed Mohammad’s candidacy, Mohsen Rafiqdoust, another IRGC candidate, today said that he did not know Mohammad professionally, but he did know that Mohammad was fired from the Khatam al-Anbiya rather than resigned. Rafiqdoust added that “one of the conditions of the Presidency is to be a political and religious man and he [Mohammad] is neither”. Rafiqdoust has already attacked a number of former IRGC opponents in this campaign. 

Read more at Khabaronline

April 24, 2021

Ghasemi Criticises the Department of Foreign Affairs

In a sign of continuing tension between the military and civilian arms of Iranian government, Rostam Ghasemi, who is a deputy economic directory of the Qods Force, criticised the Department of Foreign Affairs, saying “you have forgotten the policies of the Revolution”. Ghasemi had made comments earlier in the week regarding an Iranian military presence in Yemen which Foreign Affairs quickly denied, saying Iran’s support was only diplomatic.

Read more on Didbaniran

April 12, 2021

Ghasemi: I will be a President for all Iranians

Conservative candidate Rostam Ghasemi told Tasnim that if elected he would be a President for all Iranians, not just his supporters. Ghasemi also reiterated his slogan regarding candidates who lack experience in the Executive Branch of government: “If you have never sailed, how can you manage the ship of the Iranian economy?” Ghasemi also played down his connections to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, stating that he expects the former president to be a candidate, and added that he had along with other “military candidates” about not destroying each other’s reputations.

Read more on Tasnim

April 10, 2021

Dehghan: An IRGC Candidate is not a Military Candidate

Hossein Dehghan, a former IRGC Brigadier-General and advisor to the Supreme Leader, today weighed into the debate about IRGC candidates, stating that a person with an IRGC background is not a military candidate. Dehghan’s reasoning is that although the IRGC is a military corps, it is essentially a political organisation and its members are political actors upon enlistment whose service is “never independent of the social, political and economic aspects of the country…[therefore] they never enter the political arena from a military base as they have never been absent from the political scene”.

Read the interview on Didbairan

April 7, 2021

Kowsari: There is no Internal Dispute in the IRGC over Military Candidates

Mohammad-Esmail Kowsari, a senior member of the IRGC and advisor to the commander-in-chief, denied that there was a dispute within the Corps over Saeed Mohammad’s candidacy. In reference to conflicting statements made on the issue by prominent IRGC members over the last few days, Kowsari stated that former IRGC members were not barred from running for President, but that there are strict laws, including religious rulings from Ayatollah Khomeini, which would be applied by the Guardian Council when vetting nominees. In other words, Kowsari argued that the matter should be left to the formal process and public disagreements incorrectly give the impression that there is division within the IRGC.

Read more on Khabaronline

April 5, 2021

Salehimanesh: Saeed Mohammad Saga a Lesson for the Armed Forces

Former IRGC commander, cleric and current governor of Qom, Mohammad-Sadegh Salehimanesh, stated that the sage of Saeed Mohammad’s candidacy is a warning to the Armed Forces about the dangers of military involvement in politics. Salehimanesh argued that the contradictory statements made by Sharif and Javani indicate how political divisions have played out in the IRGC as a result of Mohammad’s nomination. He concluded that the IRGC should focus on its main objective – protecting the country and responding to disasters.

Read more on Khabaronline

April 5, 2021

Saeed Mohammad controversy continues

IRGC spokesman Commander Ramazan Sharif criticised his colleague Commander Yadollah Javani for claiming that Saeed Mohammad was dismissed from service for breaking regulations rather than resigning. Sharif stated that Javani may believe that a breach of regulations took place, but this was not the view of the IRGC as an institution. Javani also sought to clarify his comments on Saturday, releasing a statement that said Saeed Mohammad’s alleged dismissal related to “political-electoral behaviour that is contrary to the current regulations of the IRGC”.

Read the interview with Commander Ramazan Sharif on Eghtesad24
Read Commander Yadollah Javani’s statement on Mashregh