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Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused a “corrupt ringwithin the Iranian intelligence apparatus to maintain “a systematic link” with foreign espionage services.
“They need to brace themselves for trials,” Ahmadinejad, who served as head of state from 2005-2013, warned the group, without naming members. But the former president left plenty of signs in his video message that “the ring” in question was within the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) intelligence organization. In recent months, the once conservative politician favored by the ruling elite, now seen as a dissident, has not shied away from revealing his frictions with the intelligence community and with the entire hard-core ruling establishment.
Ahmadinejad stated that the group “betrayed by carrying out espionage” for enemies. Only in April, after Iran’s main nuclear site in Natanz was attacked by Israel, Ahmedinejad a cheering crowd of supporters in the southern city of Bandar Abbas told how “enemy agents have infiltrated” the intelligence apparatus. In his fiery speech, he noted that Iranian intelligence has fixated on its own commoners by cracking down on their popular protests.
Ahmadinejad continued in the same vein in his new speech, pointing the finger of blame again at the same group for suppressing the “legitimate demands” of the ongoing demonstrations in Khuzestan Province. The demonstrations of the Arab-majority region over a worsening water crisis have now entered their eighth day in a row. Activists say at least five people were killed while… IRGC Linked Media blame Arab separatist groups for the killings and accuse “foreign enemies” of exploiting the demonstrations.
“Once people take to the streets to make their voices heard, they are faced with the same corrupt intelligence agency… which associates them with foreigners and treats them with cruelty,” Ahmadinejad said in a message of solidarity with the protesters from Khuzestan. .
Ahmadinejad’s own two-term presidency was a period marked by stifling media freedoms and a Iranian economy. His controversial re-election in 2009 led to weeks of angry marches rural. The response of security forces and the IRGC, who openly supported him at the time, killed dozens of protesters, while thousands were languishing in inhumane conditions in infamous facilities such as kahrizak.
Although he had the unequivocal support of the IRGC and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in his first term, his second term led to more strained relations with both. Tensions with Khamenei boiling points reached. The supreme leader rejected Ahmadinejad’s choice for the vice presidency, as well as his decision to sack a Khamenei-privileged intelligence minister.
In 2017, Ahmadinejad took a bold step by refusing Khamenei’s advice not to be president. But his disobedience cost him his bid when he was disqualified by the Khamenei-controlled Guardian Council. In 2021, he again ran for president, this time without even consulting Khamenei’s advice, and was unsurprisingly rejected by the same candidate screening agency.
In his latest speech, Ahmadinejad also warned of dire consequences of suppressing people’s will and stressed “the crumbling of public trust” in the establishment in what appeared to be a reference to the June 18 presidential elections, which was marred by the lowest turnout in the history of the Islamic Republic. Ahmadinejad – still a member of the top decision-making Expediency Council – is the only sitting Iranian official to publicly boycott the unilateral election.
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