The head of the Revolutionary Guard's intelligence organization, Mohammad Kazemi (center) and his predecessor Hossein Taeb (right)

IRGC Intelligence Chief Claims 20 Countries Involved In Iran Protests

Monday, 06/19/2023

The head of the Revolutionary Guard's intelligence claims secret services of about 20 countries were involved in supporting Iran's popular protests in 2022.

Mohammad Kazemi, who took over from Hossein Taeb in July 2022, made the remarks in an interview format with, the website of the Supreme Leader. It was his first media appearance since his appointment to Iran's most fearsome intelligence and domestic repression outfit.

The brigadier general accused 18 countries that supported “the riots” across the country sparked after the death in custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody. He named the US, the UK, UAE, Saudi Arabia, France, Germany, Canada, Belgium, Austria, Albania, Australia, Iceland, Italy, Kosovo, Norway, Bahrain, New Zealand and Israel. 

Kazemi's claim of so many countries conspiring against the Islamic Republic topped even other regime hardliners who all along have attributed the protests to foreign "enemies." The conspiracy theory, as is usual in Iranian politics, first came from Khamenei and his loyal officials began repeating the accusation.

Iran’s ruler Ali Khamenei addressing a crowd of senior military officials

If Kazemi's claim were true, it would imply that about 20 countries want the Islamic Republic to collapse as the protests – which are somewhat still ongoing in forms of strikes and periodic gatherings – have been the boldest challenge against the clerical autocracy. 

This would hugely expand the Islamic Republic’s definition of “enemies", which until now was used to refer primarily to the United States and Israel, and sometimes to their allies. Now, every entity and individual who has expressed support for the anti-regime protests is labelled an enemy. 

Government forces killed more than 500 civilians and arrested more than 20,000 people until February, and more persecution and arrests continue, while Khamenei has boasted of defeating enemy plots.

The IRGC-IO commander also claimed that the intelligence agencies of Israel and the United Arab Emirates "met periodically in an Arab country" to discuss how to support the protests in Iran. In addition, he referred to Saudi Arabia and Bahrain as hostile countries, which seems to contradict the regime's new foreign policy of rapprochement with Riyadh and its Persian Gulf allies.

Adding to the odd allegations, Kazemi said that by the end of the unrest, the CIA called to form a joint taskforce with Israel’s Mossad and the UK’s MI6 to “re-launch the project to assassinate Iranian scientists, especially in the nuclear, aerospace and military fields.”

He also claimed that the intelligence agencies recruited European as well as non-European nationals, including Afghans, Pakistanis, and Iraqis to collect information and documents about the unrest, adding that 40 nationals of one of the neighboring countries and Europeans were arrested in this regard. 

More News