Orders from Tehran: Prevent IRGC Terrorist Listing

Iran’s kakistocracy has publicly claimed that it isn’t concerned by the threats of the Bush administration and the United States Congress to place the membership of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), aka Sepah-e Pasdaran-e Enghelab-e Islami, (or simply Sepah-e Pasdaran), on the U.S. Department of State’s Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) list. When Congress recently passed a bill recommending such action, the Iranian Majlis (parliament) retaliated the following day by passing a bill labeling the CIA and the U.S. Army as “terrorist organizations”. However, all Iranian claims to the contrary, a couple of recent articles in The Washington Post, including one  by Karim Sadjadpour, director of the Iran Initiative at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, may be linked  to the regime’s real concerns about American action.

First, a little bit of background on Sadjadpour. Karim Sadjadpour, formerly a journalist for National Geographic, and until his appointment at the Carnegie Endowment, Iran Analyst for the International Crisis Group, has consistently written of the need to negotiate with the Tehran regime, despite the mountains of evidence that Tehran has been fueling the insurrection in Iraq and has refused to curtail its nuclear program in any way. Although Sadjadpour holds an important portfolio at the Carnegie, and has been called to address the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he should be seen for what he is: a facilitator for the work of the Department of Disinformation (Nefaq) within Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS; in Farsi: VEVAK) involved in Iran’s sophisticated international psychological warfare operations and disinformation campaign. Other such “experts” include Dr. Vali R. Nasr, Dr. Ray Takeyh, Dr. Trita Parsi, and Professor Hooshang Amirahmadi. All follow the tried and true “80/20 formula” borrowed from the old Soviet KGB Disinformation playbook: tell the truth 80% of the time, and lie 20%, thereby generally avoiding detection.

Now, why do I accuse Sadjadpour and these other expatriate Iranian scholars of effectively serving as “agents” for VEVAK? It is based on the simple fact that each one of them continues to write article after article stating that only diplomacy and concessions can solve the disputes between the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) and the United States and the West, despite the fact that Iran has rejected past diplomatic attempts and broken all promises in those few diplomatic agreements that have been made. This gang of Iran “experts” serves to continually act as a shield for the IRI, attempting to provide it with more time to complete its nuclear program and/or shield it from punitive measures that could weaken the mullah regime’s hold on power. And, as mentioned previously, they adhere to the 80/20 formula.

Let’s return our focus onto Karim Sajadpour. In his Washington Post article of September 28, 2007, entitled “The Wrong Way to Pressure Iran”, Sadjadpour suggests that labeling all of the 125,000 members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as terrorists would prevent the possibility of “pragmatists” within the IRGC from breaking away from their support of the regime. Sajadpour would have us believe that the IRGC is like any other army, made up of those who enlist and those who are drafted. Not so! The IRGC is composed of volunteers that are required to demonstrate their fanatical allegiance to Iran’s supreme leader, the faqih, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and his understanding of a revolutionary Islamic state in which Sharia (Islamic law) is the law before they are accepted into the organization. Although Sajadpour suggested that the IRGC has developed its own “dissidents” such as Mohsen Sazegara and Akhbar Ganji, the jury is still out concerning such “dissidents”; this writer has gone on record as stating his opinion that Sazegara works for VEVAK in its disinformation campaign.

Claiming that Mohsen Rezai, former head of the IRGC, is pro-West or pro-reconciliation in any way is a total fabrication. Mohsen Rezai’s recorded opinions include:

 “The American empire is hovering between life and death. If America loses some of the countries it has subjugated and plundered, there will be chaos in America.”

“America seems so big, but in fact is like a paper tiger – even the slightest tremor could easily make it crumple and disappear. That’s why America’s strength depends upon maintaining its hegemony.”  (MEMRI, Special Dispatch Series, No.1189, June 21, 2006)

“In my opinion, it would be best if the legal experts of the Islamic world prepare some kind of legal action against Ms. Rice. I think this lady is the first ever female war criminal, and she should be brought to trial. She has explicitly declared – and I think this was a political mistake by her – that she is giving Israel a free hand to attack Lebanon. This in itself is enough to prepare a case against her as a war criminal.”  (MEMRI, Special Dispatch Series, No. 1215, July 27, 2006)

“America is trying to provoke Iran so that Iran will respond forcefully. But (now), unlike in the past, we are not adventure-seekers. This time, we must act reasonably and at the same time prevent America from accomplishing its goals – one of which is to block our progress…” ISNA (Iran), January 19, 2007 (MEMRI, Inquiry and Analysis Series , No. 317, January 24, 2007)

“We must not make concessions to the enemy for no reason, but (at the same time) we must not underestimate the enemy’s (strength)… Statesmanship in Iran requires reason, wisdom and steadfastness…” (elipses in original) Mehr news agency (Iran), January 20, 2007 (MEMRI, Ibid.)

Additionally, it should be noted that the MEMRI Blog of October 15, 2007, records an Al-Sharq Al-Awsat report (London, October 14, 2007) that Mohsen Rezai, as Expediency Council chairman and former IRGC commander, led a delegation of senior Iranian officials that was in Lebanon throughout the 2006 Lebanon war and had supervised Hizbullah’s operations, planning, and battle room that was located in an underground base near Ba‘albek.
Of course, if Sajadpour can convince enough members of Congress that Rezai has reformed, he might succeed in buying the Tehran regime more time to peruse its goals. But if one is still finding Iranian politics too murky and unclear to fathom, maybe a parallel from Nazi Germany might help clarify things. Sajadpour is trying to pass Mohsen Rezai off as a potential second General Erwin Rommel, when in fact he is just another Hermann Goering. Rezai supports Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei as do all IRGC personnel.  Suggesting that Rezai might lead opposition to Ahmadinejad is as irrelevant as saying that Goering might have been induced to oppose Himmler. Just as Hitler called the shots in Nazi Germany, Ali Khamenei has the last word in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Let’s understand something clearly: the IRGC is the Iranian equivalent of the Nazi Waffen-SS; it is not the Wehrmacht (German armed forces of the period). By suggesting that only the senior commanders of the IRGC and the elite Sepah-e Qods (Qods Force) be listed as terrorists, Sajadpour is saying that only the senior officers of the Nazi Party and the members of the Tottenkopf units of the SS were to be listed, allowing other Waffen-SS to escape prosecution. I don’t think that most of us would agree to such an idea.

I do agree with Mr. Sajadpour on one thing: there should be some differentiation between rank and file members of the IRGC on the one hand, and those in command and serving as members of the Qods Force. All of the IRGC should be listed as terrorists on the FTO, but for now, only the commanders and Qods Force members should be indicted on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Listing the IRGC on the Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) list will send a powerful message both to the oppressed Iranian people who have heard a lot of talk but seen very little action from the U.S. and the West, and it may help the mullah regime to realize that we are serious in our opposition to its terrorist policies and attempts to acquire nuclear weaponry.