IRGC Commander Hossein Salami says Iran is engaged in an “intelligence war” and that the “Iranian Intelligence community” is active around the clock.
“We are engaged in a serious global intelligence war with the enemies around the clock,” said the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) commander during a meeting with Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi and his deputies.
The delegation from the intelligence ministry visited the IRGC headquarters on Sunday May 5 to greet the Revolutionary Guards’ new commander, who was appointed in April.
The meeting was also attended by IRGC Intelligence Chief Hossein Taeb and Counter-Intelligence Chief Mohammad Kazemi.
According to the Guards public relations office, Alavi said at the meeting that the Intelligence Ministry and IRGC Intelligence Organization complement each other as “two intelligence powers.”
Meanwhile, Salami said that “while carrying out their critical responsibilities, the intelligence community, including the two organizations, do not think of anything but their friendship and brotherhood.”
This comes while ironically, IRGC intelligence once arrested one of the aides of the intelligence minister as a spy, and the Intelligence Ministry denied last year that the environmental scientists IRGC arrested were “spies”.
The two rival intelligence agencies have at least another dispute as IRGC intelligence and the Ministry of Intelligence hold diametrically opposing views about the nature of activities of nuclear negotiator Abdolrasoul Dorri Esfahani, who is also branded as a “spy” by IRGC Intelligence organization.
On the other hand, while the Intelligence Ministry maintains that espionage cases should be handled exclusively by the Ministry, IRGC Intelligence organization says it can intervene in such cases based on an order issued by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The two agencies are often referred to as “parallel intelligence agencies”, but at least in some instances they act as rival entities.
Meanwhile, although the Intelligence Ministry operates under President Hassan Rouhani, it is known that Khamenei must approve the appointment of intelligence ministers once they are nominated by the President. He often rules out credentials of nominees and Alavi is said to have been Rouhani’s 11th choice for the post.
Although IRGC Intelligence existed since the establishment of the military force, it dramatically developed and expanded following the victory of reformist Mohammad Khatami in the 1997 presidential election. It arrested scores of political activists including members of the “nationalist-religious groups” and the liberal Freedom Movement members in the year 2000.
Following widespread unrest in the aftermath of the disputed 2009 presidential election, which reinstated hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as Iran’s president, the IRGC Intelligence was further elevated into an “Organization”, based on Khamenei’s order, and played a major role in suppressing the reformist Green Movement alongside the Ministry of Intelligence.