A meeting of senior Revolutionary Guard commanders with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei

IRGC Losing Edge In Iran And Region – Leaked Document

Monday, 03/20/2023

Members of IRGC’s Quds Force are weary of the fight with Israeli forces at Golan Heights and are selling military intel to Israel, a recently-leaked document shows.

Minutes of a meeting of senior clerics and Revolutionary Guard commanders with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, leaked to media last week, suggest that the economic and political situation in Iran has made the Islamic Republic’s forces sell information about Quds Force operations to Israel, and that more and more elements are seeking to leave the battlefield in Syria and get jobs and positions inside the country.

The 44-page document contains citations of remarks by 45 IRGC commanders and clerics at a meeting at Khamenei’s office on January 3 on the anniversary of the death of Quds Force commander, Qassem Soleimani, who was killed by the US three years ago.

Almost all the participants spoke about the current wave of antiregime protests that has engulfed the country since September last year. The meeting, held more than three months into the protests, focused on the negative impact of the protests on the morale of forces under the command of the IRGC and their burn-out, with several offering anecdotal accounts of insubordination.

The document indicates that officials are shocked by the large scale and duration of the protests and admit that they do not have the means to quell the uprising. The participants also acknowledged massive defections and desertions among the military forces and clerics, mainly due to the unrelenting economic woes as well as in protest to the heavy-handed crackdown by security forces and harsh sentences by the judiciary.

IRGC Commander Rahim No’i Aghdam (right) and former Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani

Rahim No’i Aghdam, who served as the commander of IRGC’s Zeynab operational headquarters in Syria, said during the meeting that the Quds Force "faces many problems" in the border areas of Israel and the Golan Heights. He mentioned Israel's "non-stop" bombings and "inability of quick access to the supplies of Iran's allied forces in this region" as some of the problems, adding that economic hardships and the ongoing protests have also led to "ideological issues and family problems" among the ranks of the forces.

He said that "leaks of operational plans” has reduced the edge of Iranian forces against Israelis, adding that "pre-emptive attacks by Israeli forces in five operations showed us that the issue of infiltration... and the forces’ unwillingness to remain at Israel's borders” have made them do “unimaginable” things, such as selling military intel.

No’i Aghdam added that if the Islamic Republic loses the areas that it has gained "with years of effort" outside its borders, "a practical threat to the Islamic Republic regime will not be unimaginable."

Other attendees also talked about the desertions and disobedience within their forces, with Abdollah Haji-Sadeghi, Khamenei’s representative in the IRGC, saying that “there is no doubt about desertions.” He said that different security organizations of the country have reported varying figures, from 12 percent to 68 percent of desertions.

Khodarahm Sarani, the IRGC’s commander in the city of Zahedan -- the provincial capital of Sistan-Baluchestan province that is home to Iran's Sunni Baluch minority of up to two million – said the demands of the people there are basic such as water and basic necessities. He added that remarks by their Sunni leader Mowlavi Abdolahamid have united the residents, making them leave aside their sectarian differences and focus on popular demands.

A sample page of the leaked document

Sarani then made a direct attack on the secretary of Iran’s security council Ali Shamkhani who was present at the meeting. “When an officer under my command comes to my office and shows the watch worn by Mr. Shamkhani's son and tells me that the price of this watch is equal to four years of my service in the armed forces, how can I answer?”

“We cannot always blame the problems on the enemy, yes, we are under sanctions, but the country's income is not low. If there are problems in the country, then how come these problems do not show themselves at the level of military commanders,” he added.

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