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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
07IRANRPODUBAI1 2007-01-03 16:50:00 SECRET//NOFORN Iran RPO Dubai
Cable title:  

FORMER IRGC GENERAL DISMAYED WITH POLITICIZATION OF IRGC

Tags:   PREL PGOV IR PTER 
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VZCZCXRO8168
PP RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHKUK
DE RUEHDIR #0001/01 0031650
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P R 031650Z JAN 07
FM IRAN RPO DUBAI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0046
INFO RUCNIRA/IRAN COLLECTIVE
RUEHAD/USDAO ABU DHABI TC
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEHDE/AMCONSUL DUBAI 0043
RUEHDIR/IRAN RPO DUBAI 0039
					  S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 IRAN RPO DUBAI 000001 

SIPDIS

NOFORN
SIPDIS

LONDON FOR GAYLE; PARIS FOR WALLER; BERLIN FOR PAETZOLD; BAKU
FOR HAUGEN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 1/3/2027
TAGS: PREL PGOV IR PTER
SUBJECT: FORMER IRGC GENERAL DISMAYED WITH POLITICIZATION OF IRGC
(C-NE6-02079)

REF: RPO DUBAI 0015

RPO DUBAI 00000001 001.2 OF 003


CLASSIFIED BY: Jillian L. Burns, Director, Iran Regional
Presence Office, Dubai, UAE.
REASON: 1.4 (d)

1.(S/NF) Summary: A longtime Iranian-American contact introduced
IRPO Director to a former IRGC general, with whom he claimed a
long acquaintance. While the former general's motivations for
agreeing to such a meeting were not clear, he did not use this
initial meeting in any way to offer himself as a conduit to the
Iranian government or to solicit much information about US
intentions regarding Iran. Instead, he presented his views of
the current power structure in Iran, the conflicting factions,
Al Qaida, Iraq, and the IRGC's economic role. (His views on
US-Iran relations to be reported septel.) He was disdainful of
President Ahmadinejad and other sources of power in Iran and
conveyed the impression that he was disappointed in how the IRGC
had veered off course. His disappointment in the present state
of affairs did not, however, convey a lack of loyalty to the
Islamic Republic of Iran. End summary

2.(S/NF) In a December 18 meeting, a long-time Iranian-American
contact introduced IRPO Director to a former IRGC general who
left the IRGC in the mid 1990s and left government about eight
years ago. (Note: all the information in this report is sourced
either to the contact or to the Iranian-American and cannot be
independently confirmed. Endnote) According to the former
official, he quit university to join the IRGC at the beginning
of the Iran-Iraq war. After the war ended, he stayed in the
IRGC another five years working in budget and planning offices.
He attained a bachelors degree in philosophy, and a masters in
urban planning. He claims to have always been politically
independent and said he became a general on his own merits
through his work and beliefs, not through political
affiliations. He said he left the IRGC because he was being
pressured to join a political faction. After leaving the IRGC,
he went to the Ministry of Ershad where he said he was in charge
of embassy cultural officers. Since leaving government eight
years ago, he went into business and continues to live in Iran.

Ahmadinejad: intelligent - to a degree


--------------------------



3.(S/NF) The former general claimed to have known President
Ahmadinejad while in the IRGC. He described Ahmadinejad as very
tough, with no fear, and intelligent "to a degree." In his
view, however, Ahmadinejad serves as merely an extension of
Supreme Leader Khamenei - not a creator of strategy, only an
implementer. (Note: The Iranian-American in an earlier
conversation with IRPO Director claimed the former general had
told him that even in the days when Ahmadinejad was in the IRGC,
he was pressing the issue of what should be done about the
coming of the 12th imam. Endnote) The former general said that
some of Ahmadinejad's beliefs run counter to Khomeini's, such as
pro-Hojjatiyeh views, now accepted by Khamenei.

Power circles


--------------------------



4.(S/NF) The former general described various power circles
around the president. He was dismissive of Ayatollah
Mesbah-Yazdi but said the ideology of the Hojjatiyeh founder,
the late Sheikh Mahmoud Halabi, lives on, and the Hojjatiyeh
remain influential. In addition, he said, prior to
Ahmadinejad's election, a politicized group within the IRGC was
quite influential. When Ahmadinejad took office, this group
left the IRGC and went into government. He also named Interior
Ministry Security Deputy, Brigadier General Mohammad Baqr
Zolqadr, and former Intelligence Minister Hojatoleslam Mohammad
Reyshahri, now the Supreme Leader's representative for Hajj
affairs, as powerful individuals.

5.(S/NF) The source claimed to know Zolqadr from the IRGC and
said he is now in change of security for Tehran. The former
general said he left IRGC when Zolqadr tried to pressure him to
join political factions. He claimed Zolqadr is not popular
within the IRGC. He contrasted Zolqadr with the "real"
Revolutionary Guard, the real believers. These figures are
popular with the Iranian people, who regard them as war heroes,
he said, just like Americans regard WWII heroes. The
Iranian-American called Zolqadr "crazy," and said he is close to
IRGC Commander Safavi and Expediency Council Secretary Mohsen
Rezaie, also former IRGC.

RPO DUBAI 00000001 002.2 OF 003



6.(S/NF) According to the former general, Reyshahri gained
significant economic power through the food export business and
is now trying to replace Rafsanjani as both a political and
economic power in Iran, though he prefers to remain behind the
scenes. Although Reyshahri is no longer in the IRGC or the
intelligence ministry, he uses his friends in those
institutions, and reportedly gets influence and income through
companies controlled by the Qods force and the intelligence
ministry.

7.(S/NF) The former general did not think Tehran Mayor Qalibaf
had deep support in the IRGC, calling him a "fad" of the moment.
However, he thinks the Supreme Leader takes Qalibaf and
Larijani seriously. On the other hand, he thought that Rezaie
still has a lot of influence, but he is waiting for a political
opportunity in the future. He believes Rezaie is stronger than
Ahmadinejad.

Iran's relations with Al-Qaida, Iraq


--------------------------



8.(S/NF) When asked about his views of Iran's relationship with
Al-Qaida, the former general said only that during the days of
fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan, some of the fighters were
trained in Iran and perhaps some links to Iranian elements were
retained.

9.(S/NF) When IRPO Director raised the issue of Iran's support
inside Iraq causing deaths of US soldiers and the potential
clash that this support could cause, he said only that if it is
true that Iran is giving such support, it is the result of one
faction. This faction would see such actions as defending Iran
on Iraqi soil, so as to deter an attack on Iran itself.
However, he said, other factions in Iran want reestablishment of
relations with the US. (Note: this conversation took place
before the December 21 capture by US forces in Iraq of Iranian
IRGC members. Endnote) The former general called Iraq a lost
cause and said even Iran cannot help the situation.
Nonetheless, he recommended quiet exchanges through intelligence
services. He predicted the consequences of the present
situation to be very dangerous.

Economic Role of IRGC


--------------------------



10.(S/NF) In line with reftel, the former general said that the
evolution of the IRGC's economic arm was a natural one.
Although Prime Minister Bazargan formed the IRGC, the government
did not initially fund it. For the first three months, funding
came from the bazaaris, until the war with Iraq broke out.
During the war, the government funded the IRGC generously but
then cut its budget after the war ended. The organization
looked for ways to generate its own income, although he said
some inside the organization opposed this strategy. At the same
time, then President Rafsanjani turned to IRGC engineers, who
had gained a lot of experience in the war at creative
problem-solving, to help rebuild the country. IRGC began to
form companies. Eventually, this trend led to negative
political ramifications, according to the former general. Now
the IRGC can generate its own budget, reducing the government's
influence over the organization. President Khatami tried to
control it through the budget, but opposing factions found ways
to direct business towards the IRGC. The former general
maintained, in contrast to views in reftel, that the quality of
work performed by IRGC companies is superior to other companies.
That said, he decried both personal gain of wealth and
accruement of political power that have accompanied IRGC
business activity. He also acknowledged the damage done to
competitiveness in bidding for contracts.

11.(S/NF) Comment: This was our first meeting with this contact
and a rare chance to examine views of a former IRGC official,
albeit one who has been out of the organization for over a
decade. In this meeting, he did not try to offer himself as a
conduit to the Iranian government in any way. Nor did he seem
to be on any kind of expedition to try to collect intelligence.
He appeared to simply want to express his views of the current
situation and to give advice. His view of factions within the
IRGC mirrors comments of others, but given his background,
appear more credible. His disappointment in the present state
of affairs did not, however, appear to convey a lack of loyalty
to the Islamic Republic of Iran. Although his current access to

RPO DUBAI 00000001 003.2 OF 003


information is unknown, he claims to have ongoing contacts with
some influential figures, including Mohammad Reza Khatami, the
former deputy Majles speaker and brother of the president,
making him a worthwhile interlocutor.
BURNS