Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Anything but soft power

If China is intent on using soft power to expand its influence, Iran wants to use hard power. At least some of the leadership does. And some does not.

Senior military official says Revolutionary Guards will not stay within Iran’s borders
Although President Hassan Rouhani said few days ago while marking Iran’s Army Day that Iran wants brotherly and strong relations with neighboring countries and rejects interfering in other countries’ internal affairs and noted that “dialogue is the only means towards peace in the region,” the Iranian Revolutionary Guards has contradicted him by stating that it will not commit to staying within Iran’s borders.

… Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi, the commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Navy, said the Revolutionary Guards’ activities “are not limited to Iran,” noting that the guards’ forces are currently fighting thousands of kilometers away from Iranian borders.

Fadavi added that this military apparatus’ actual name is the “Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps” refusing the appendage “Iranian.”

Commenting on why the Revolutionary Guards’ forces are present in other countries specifically in Syria and Iraq, Fadavi said: “Guarding the Islamic revolution does not only mean guarding one country and one government…

Fadavi commended the presence of Iranian forces in Syria and Iraq and Tehran’s support of militias in Yemen and Lebanon and said this is “necessary” to defend the Islamic revolution…

On April 18 while marking Army’s Day, Rouhani commended the army for not interfering in political affairs. Commentators said Rouhani was thus indirectly criticizing the Revolutionary Guards for interfering in the country’s domestic and foreign political affairs.

“Although the army understands politics well, it was not dragged into the political game and it remained committed to the imam’s will. We do not see the name of any army commander in corruption cases, and this confirms the purity of the Islamic Republic’s army,” Rouhani said. The Revolutionary Guards responded to Rouhani and said his remarks “destroyed unity, (incited) divisions and conveyed ingratitude.”

Fadavi concluded his interview by saying: “During the sacred (Iranian-Iraqi) war, we were fighting the enemy in the city of Khorramshahr and in the midst of our homes but today we are fighting the enemy thousands of kilometers away from our borders.”

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