IRAN: Challenging the Revolutionary Guard
Vocal dissent against the increasing clout of Iran's powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has arisen from an unlikely place: the slide-rule-toting members of the Iranian Society of Consulting Engineers.
The Revolutionary Guard Corps is an elite, conservative parallel military force. Its members are thought to be overseeing parts of Iran's nuclear program and have taken over security from the Iranian navy in the Persian Gulf.
A couple of days ago Manouchehr Fakhr Samadi, head of the association, wrote an open letter to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the head of the powerful Expediency Council, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. It was excerpted in the reformist daily Etemad Melli on March 2.
He was protesting the granting of contracts for civil engineering projects to the Revolutionary Guard and associated construction companies.
Samadi criticized the parliament for creating legislation that makes it easier for the Revolutionary Guard to take on huge construction projects. He called it "a fundamental blow to the private sector."
He wondered how the plan squared with Khamenei's order to privatize state-owned businesses.
"There may be damage to civil engineering projects across the country if the new legislation is implemented," Samadi warned.
Another tidbit from Iran:
Tehran's hard-line newspapers called Monday's United Nations Security Council resolution tightening sanctions a total failure. "The resolution is a merely burned out document," declared Kayhan, a mouthpiece of the conservatives, on the front page in bold letters.
Etemad, the reformist daily, quoted Ahmadinejad as telling a Spanish newspaper, "We treat the latest resolution as we have treated the previous two ones. That implies we keep on enrichment of uranium. "
— Ramin Mostaghim in Tehran
Photo: Soldiers of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard Corps march during a military parade. Credit: Atta Kenare / AFP / Getty Images