In a leaked audio file, a US-based veteran IRGC commander is heard calling for monitoring to better understand the current wave of opposition against the Islamic Republic. 

Hacktivist group ‘Anonymous’ -- that has focused its cyber operations on Iran since the current wave of protests started mid-September – released Monday audio messages by someone who is claimed to be Nader Safaverdi, one of the former commanders of 5th Nasr Division. 

The unit, known as Sepah-e Nsar Corps, is one of the divisions of IRGC’s ground force was formed with recruits from northeastern Khorasan province in 1982 during the Iran–Iraq War. The unit fought in several of the important operations during the conflict and after the war was stationed in the province near the border with Afghanistan.

Safaverdi, 67, who apparently has been living in the US since 2007 or 2009, is not well-known in the media but was evidently close to Esmail Ghaani (Qaani), the current commander of IRGC’s Quds (Qods) Force -- a division primarily responsible for extraterritorial military and clandestine operations – and to Parliament Speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf (Qalibaf), both former commanders of the 5th Nasr Division. 

The files seem to be audio messages shared in a WhatsApp or Telegram group with many IRGC ranking members, as Safaverdi started his message with greetings to Seyyed Hossein Mousavi and Hadi Sa’adati, both IRGC commanders formerly serving in the 5th Nasr Division. The group is probably comprised of IRGC members hailing from Khorasan province because during his message Safaverdi once said he would be invited to their meeting if he was still in Mashhad, and referred to similar meetings organized by Abbas Shamlou, another IRGC commander that used to serve as the governor of Mashhad. 

From right to left: Nader Safaverdi, unknown, Hadi Sa’adati, Esmail Ghaani, Hossein Fazel al-Hosseini, Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, Mehdi Foroudi sometime during the Iran-Iraq war

He urged his fellow comrades for “unbiased and clear monitoring” of the activities of foreign-based opposition figures and the protesters in provinces. He said one of the ways to understand the movement against the Islamic Republic is by heeding his advice, and that of other regime insiders who live abroad. 

Criticizing “his friends" for limiting themselves to information released by Iran International, BBC, VOA, and other dissident outlets, he said monitoring means being aware of statements released during protests against the Islamic Republic in other countries and claimed that he has access to such information. 

He mentioned the gatherings in Berlin and Canada, where 50,000 to 100,000 people held protest rallies, as the largest demonstrations against the regime. In a tone as if he is teaching something new to the group, Safaverdi said the slogans by the Iranian expatriates are not like what they have heard in the past 43 years since the Islamic Revolution. He argued that the current wave of the protests is not in support of any specific ethnicity or even the Iranian royal family. “They officially chant slogans in support of the country’s integrity,” he said. He claimed that another motto the protesters follow is distancing themselves from the older opposition groups or figures, such as Reza Pahlavi or the exiled group Mojahedin Khalq organization, known as MEK. 

He added that the closest figure to a leader the foreign-based opposition has, is Canada-based activist Hamed Esmaeilion -- who lost his daughter and wife in the downing of a Ukrainian passenger plane in January 2020 by the Revolutionary Guard. The veteran IRGC commander believes that he is the symbol of an Iranian hurt and oppressed by the regime. 

Safaverdi then mentioned the Islamic Republic’s lobby groups in the US including allegedly NIAC– or the National Iranian American Council – saying that the opposition movement has also distanced itself from such groups in a clear message that they would not negotiate with the Islamic Republic. He said that he believed NIAC was formed upon an order by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to follow the Islamic Republic's agenda and mentioned some examples of their long history of lobbying for Iran. For instance, he mentioned Trita Parsi, a former NIAC president, as the courier between Khamenei and former President Barack Obama. Safaverdi claimed that NIAC is being devastated by the current front of opposition as its members are even banned from attending the events against the Islamic Republic. 

Safaverdi claimed the new opposition keeps calling on world bodies and countries to increase diplomatic pressure on Tehran, adding that anyone who supports lifting the sanctions on the Islamic Republic or negotiating with the regime has no place in the current opposition, which has a global consensus.

He also claimed that the new opposition has a wide range of influence both inside and outside the country, from students to teachers and professors, from NASA scientists to employees of Google and Facebook, noting that these new faces have not been identified before the current wave of protests. 

He urged his fellow group members to deliver his points to the authorities, including Ghalibaf and President Ebrahim Raisi – also hailing from Mashhad – calling himself an “American gladiator” who is spending every minute of his days on the issues about the Islamic Republic. Safaverdi said he had never seen such a universal unity and consensus behind a cause before the current wave of the protests in Iran. He also inadvertently praised the main motto of the protests – Women, Life, Liberty -- as something that resonates with all the people of the world. 

Note: NIAC denies it is affiliated with the Islamic Republic or acts as a lobby group for the Iranian government.

IITV News (54) - DC
G4 Protest Special - Evening (12\')
IITV News (54) - DC

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