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A new documentary interviews four former members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps testifying that the regime’s top security force isn’t as united behind the regime as it may appear. Dissent in the IRGC poses a mortal threat to the regime, and a former member that spied for the CIA tells FrontPage that they can no longer by relied upon. The regime is finding itself unable to trust even its top operatives as one of the pillars holding it together starts to crumble.
Reza Kahlili, author of A Time to Betray, is a former member of the Revolutionary Guards that decided to spy for the CIA. He told FrontPage that the majority of the force’s members are “regular people” who originally joined because they were more religious and wanted to fight Iran’s enemies like Saddam Hussein. Today, large segments of it have grown disenchanted with the regime, particularly after witnessing the brutality since Ahmadinejad’s fraudulent re-election last summer.
“Many of the commanders have been replaced by Mohammed Jafari, the chief commander. Some others have been arrested and some have even defected to other countries. The divide within the Guards and even the clerics and officials is the most intense ever since the revolution,” Kahlili said.
His comments come as it’s reported that a senior member of the Revolutionary Guards named Muhammed Hussein Torkaman defected six months ago. He was part of a special unit called the “Avengers of God” responsible for protecting the regime’s top leaders. A new documentary includes interviews with Torkaman and three other former members discussing the disillusionment inside the IRGC. In fact, one opposition leader in the U.S., Mohsen Sazegara, was one of the founders of the group. Akbar Ganji, the human rights activist who received international attention in 2005 when he went on a hunger strike to protest his imprisonment, also served in the IRGC.
Over the past year, there have been signs of shocking dissent among the regime’s security forces. Shortly after last summer’s uprising began, 16 senior members of the IRGC were arrested after they were caught meeting with high-level members of the army to discuss switching sides. In July, after former Iranian President Rafsanjani became a critic of the regime, 36 army officers were arrested for planning on going to his sermon in military uniform. The next month, at least 30 to 40 soldiers in the army were arrested by the regime for their involvement in the unrest. There have been rumors that General Ali Fazli, the commander of the IRGC in Tehran, was arrested and/or fired for refusing to order attacks on protestors. He has denied these reports, although it’s possible that was done under pressure.
The regular military forces’ lack of loyalty is a major concern for the regime. On December 10, a statement signed by key figures in the military surfaced that warned the Revolutionary Guards that if they attack the Iranian people, the military will come to their aid. Among those signing the document are members of the army’s aviation division, commanders of the chief of staff of the army, members of the army’s logistical training unit, commanders of the 31st artillery division of Isfahan, and professors that teach the army and air force at Imam Ali University and Shaid Satari University. The authenticity of the document has been confirmed by Afshin Ellian and Michael Ledeen trusts it as well, although not everyone does.
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