Every Iranian or someone following the Iranian news knows that the conservative Parliament is trying its best to sabotage and cripple Rouhani’s administration. The Parliament voted yesterday for a new Minister of Science after they had removed the last one 3 months ago, and they had refused to approve two other candidates in the meanwhile, so the new minister is the 8th person Rouhani has considered for this cabinet position, and there has been a little more than a year since he took office. The Parliament has also questioned his ministers in his first year more than the entire eight years of Ahmadinejad, and they keep introducing draconian bills like criminalizing birth control (ultimately defeated), redefining the right to privacy, or punishing owning dogs with lashes.
But the Iranian Parliament works in open – and everyone knows that Rouhani’s real enemies are the Revolutionary Guards, who hold more power than the Parliament and the executive branch, who control a larger portion of the economy, and of course work in secret.
Sahamnews is a website which is owned by Mehdi Karroubi, one of the chief leaders of the Green Movement currently under house arrest, and alongside Mir-Hossein Mousavi’s website, Kalameh, it was one of the most important Green Movement websites during the 2009 demonstrations. It has now released a report in two parts (here and here in Persian) which chronicles the attempts of the Revolutionary Guards against the Rouhani administration, which are organized, calculated, and obviously defy the law and people’s vote. The website dubs these organized efforts a “cold coup”, as they don’t intend to overthrow the administration but to make it so crippled and ineffective that there’s virtually no difference.
According to this report, the intelligence branch of the Revolutionary Guards has created “safe houses” for every ministry and tries to sabotage their agenda. Many of people working there are notorious among Iranians, and many are the former officials of Ahmadinejad administration. They engage in activities like spreading rumors on the social media and the city, writing propaganda against the government, organizing street protests and lobbying with the members of the Parliament, spying against the administration, threatening the officials, bribing the experts to exaggerate the weak points of the government, attempts to drive a wedge between Rouhani and reformists and his supporters, sabotaging the nuclear deal, and similar activities.
It is said that the money of these efforts is provided by the “secret budget of the Revolutionary Guards”, and they are headed by Hossein Taeb, a notorious violator of human rights and someone with an extensive role in oppressing the Green Movement, the current head of the intelligence bureau of the Revolutionary Guards, a cleric, a former commander of the Basij militi, and he is blacklisted by both the US government and the EU for human rights violations.
Rouhani himself has alluded in his speeches to these groups. He has said that there are groups who engage in spreading lies and rumors and now they have exited the “think tanks” and have entered “the war rooms”, and he vows to stand against them. The report claims that Rouhani has complained to the Supreme Leader about this issue, but he has claimed he is powerless to stop them.
The most interesting reaction to this report has come from the Parliament. They are going to questions Rouhani’s Minister of Intelligence, (whose allegiance is not really clear, whether he supports Rouhani or works against him), but they are not angry that an official military force is undermining the elected government, they are angry that the report has leaked and demand to know why that has happened.
Parliament’s reaction leaves no doubt that the report is valid. There is an organized effort orchestrated by the Revolutionary Guards to ensure that the Rouhani administration will fail.