IRGC General sharply criticizes Rafsanjani

General Ali-Asqar Gorjizadeh

General Ali-Asqar Gorjizadeh

Article source: 598 News Agency

Article date: 20 July 2011

General Ali-Asqar Gorjizadeh, a commander during the Iran-Iraq War, Iran’s former military attaché to Syria and head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) National Airport Security in an interview with 598, a news website linked with the IRGC, has sharply criticized the management of Iran’s war effort by the executive and legislative branches in the final years of the war. Gorjizadeh went as far as to directly name ex-President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who was head of the Majlis (Iran’s legislature) and deputy commander-in-chief of the armed forces during the war, harshly attacking the role he played. By criticizing the executive, he also implicitly attacked Mir-Hossein Mousavi who was prime minister during the eight year war. 

Gorjizadeh also reflected on the decision of the deceased Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to end the war, which Khomeini characterized as drinking from a “poisoned chalice”. While agreeing that Khomeini made the correct decision under very difficult circumstances, he pondered rhetorically what those circumstances could have been. Rejecting the weakness of the armed forces, the IRGC and regular military, and the people’s will to fight as the source of the circumstances which led to the end of the war, he instead pointed his finger at the political leadership in the executive and legislature:

 “We are distressed that anyone today would, by speculating on issues which have not yet fully come to light, attempt to hang the blame for the bitter termination of the war on the shoulders of the armed forces…In my opinion the IRGC, regular military and popular forces performed admirably during the war and performed above and beyond what was demanded of them. They played no role in the bitter end of the war! This means that the cause of the bitter end to the war must be sought in politics, decision-making and the political-economic management of the war, and nothing else.”

 Near the end of the interview, Gorjizadeh drove his point about the failure of the politicians to properly manage the war home by recounting deeply personal and graphic accounts of what he claims many soldiers suffered. He emphasized severe shortages of such things as construction materials, medical services and even basic necessities such as potable water in areas which had been struck by Iraqi chemical weapons, when he believes such resources were available in abundance and were simply not mobilized:

 “How can Mr. Hashemi [Rafsanjani] explain all of these shortcomings? We [the armed forces] are not saying that he and other officials were not thinking of the war. However this management must have had some dysfunction that it failed to coordinate this nation’s resources. Otherwise we had great potential, and the resources this country had were unprecedented.”

 Editor’s Note: The battle between the IRGC and Rafsanjani’s faction, the Pragmatists, appears to be heating up with each passing day. The IRGC has historically attacked Rafsanjani on two fronts: His management of the war and economic corruption. This interview lays the emphasis on the former, and shows the trend toward greater acrimony in the way in which these two political forces in Iran confront each other. One thing is for certain: Rather than moving toward reconciliation, the divide between them appears to be increasing.