Iran’s charm offensive led by President Hassan Rouhani and its negotiations with
world powers has political opponents up in arms.
But is the dissension
real? Rouhani’s softer tone and tactics compared to former president Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad are seen as too weak by some.
The commander of Iran’s elite
Revolutionary Guard, Maj.-Gen. Muhammad Jafari, criticized Rouhani’s
administration for being “infected by Western doctrine,” and went on to say
“change must occur,” Iran’s Fars News Agency reported on Tuesday.
though trying to sabotage Iran’s current talks with the US and other world
powers, Jafari said on Tuesday that Iran’s missile range is being extended so
that it can hit Israel.
“Our missiles should reach Israel, and our
missiles have such a capability,” said Jafari as quoted by Iran’s Tasnim News
Asked about a possible nuclear attack against Iran, he responded
that one of the Republican Guard strategies is to create a “balance of terror
While he admitted that a nuclear attack could not be
defended against, he added that it would never be carried out, because of the
country’s ability to take revenge.
“Lots of options are on the table for
Iran, and they [enemies] will receive crushing responses, one of which would be
elimination of the Zionist regime,” he warned, according to Fars.
appears to be a pingpong between the hard-liners and Rouhani’s government,
aggressive statements are followed by conciliatory language.
chastised Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif for a comment he was said to
have made indicating Iran was militarily weak.
Zarif was quoted by local
media last week as saying the West had little fear of Iran’s military defenses
and could destroy them if it wished, although Zarif has said his statement was
skewed and taken out of context.
“Rouhani was never the Revolutionary
Guard’s choice,” Meir Javedanfar, a lecturer on Iranian politics at the IDC in
Herzliya, told The Jerusalem Post.
Javedanfar says that they would have
preferred a more conservative figure and Rouhani is not a former military man,
so of course there is going to be a difference of views.
Revolutionary Guard is supporting negotiations “not because they want to but
because they have to.”
“The Revolutionary Guard people are being forced
to accept the current deal kicking and screaming,” and they will be doing a lot
of that for the foreseeable future, he said.
The harsh sanctions that
Iran has been under have demonstrated that the Revolutionary Guard was “wrong,
and their intransigence” had a massive cost for the regime.
Takeyh, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and a former senior
adviser on Iran at the US State Department, told the Post that the presumed
disagreement between Rouhani’s government and the Right might not be real at
“I think the factional problem that Rouhani faces come more from the
Left [reformers] than the Right. The refusal to release political prisoners and
absence of reforms have disenchanted the reformers,” said Takeyh.
nuclear policy is the result of the merger of the Right and Center – Rouhani and
his presumed conservative detractors,” he said.
Reuters contributed to
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