Since the start of the antigovernment protests, remarks by military commanders about the unrest are occasionally leaked to the media leading to speculation that the leak was intentional. 

A video footage of Revolutionary Guard Commander Brigadier General Hamid Abazari is one of these contentious leaks. In a video released recently, Abazari hinted at division among the Islamic Republic’s top military men amid continuing anti-regime protests. 

Abazari, who formerly served as deputy commander of the Imam Hossein Training and Officer University, criticized senior commanders and officials who had "failed [to stand by] the values of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and the regime." He claimed that he personally knows several high-ranking IRGC senior officers, including some of his own commanders, who caved in and did not support the regime.

Abazari also rebuked senior civilian officials who had not condemned the protests and alleged that some stood against Khamenei.

IRGC’s public relations department reacted to his remarks on December 31, issuing a statement stressing that this was Abazari's personal opinion and "does not correspond to existing facts."

Revolutionary Guard's Brigadier General Hamid Abazari

Moreover, another senior officer in the Revolutionary Guards who formerly commanded Basij forces, Gholamhossein Gheybparvar, criticized "some elites" for staying silent about the protests and abandoning the “Islamic Revolution.”

Criticizing the unnamed individuals he lamented that "We should not have doubts in such a situation,” adding, “We do not deny having economic problems, high prices, unemployment, etc., but does the regime deserve that everybody stabs a knife into its body?"

Such remarks were also brought up in early December when hacktivist group Black Reward released tens of files containing IRGC-linked Fars News Agency's exclusive security briefings for the Guard’s Commander Hossein Salami. One document said Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei had complained to former Parliament Speaker and his close relative Gholam Ali Haddad-Adel that some of the regime’s elites have remained silent about the protests. 

Brigadier General Gholamhossein Gheybparvar

Many insiders not only stopped expressing support, but have started to denounce the regime’s policies that have led to the current uprising. 

In December, a member of Iran’s Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution acknowledged that the Islamic Republic has failed to achieve its desired religious ideological goals. Ultra-conservative Hassan Rahimpour Azghadi is regarded as a leading advocate of the ruling clergy and the ideology of a government controlled by the clergy, in contrast with traditional Shiite thinking that favors keeping seminarians independent of the government.

Some people on social media believe that such leaks are meant to pressure regime insiders to come out in defense of the Islamic Republic, which has never seemed so battered and bruised by over 100 days of popular protests challenging its existence. Even if such statements are leaked intentionally or as publicity stunts, it cannot be ignored that Ali Khamenei and his top supporters feel isolated and unable to change the situation to the former status quo.


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