Former Iranian President Hassan Rouhani revealed the circumstances of a meeting aimed at “calming tensions” with five senior leaders of the Revolutionary Guards, two weeks before the start of his second presidential term in early August 2017, following the defeat of the current president, Ebrahim Raisi, in his first electoral race.

Rouhani recounted that the former head of foreign operations in the IRGC, Qassem Soleimani, asked him at the end of the meeting to name a defense minister from among the officers of the Corps.

However, a month after the meeting, Rouhani presented Brigadier General Amir Hatami, an Iranian army officer, as Minister of Defense, excluding his first Defense Minister, Hossein Dehghan, who belonged to the IRGC. It was the first time that the Iranian president appointed an army leader as minister of Defense, after merging the Ministry of the Revolutionary Guard with the Ministry of Defense in 1989.

Rouhani’s words confirm the various reports about Dehghan’s continuation or departure from the ministerial lineup and the Iranian president’s desire to transfer the position to an army commander.

He said that he chose his entire ministerial team after seeking the advice of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. It is known that the president is obliged to obtain prior approval from the spiritual leader in naming five ministers. Those include the ministers of Defense, Interior, Foreign Affairs, Intelligence, Culture and Information.

The new account of the tense relationship between the IRGC and the previous government comes days after the publication of a book by former Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, in which he revealed that he and Rouhani were not informed of the attack on the Ain al-Assad base, while former Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi and American leaders received messages from Tehran regarding intentions to bomb US forces with ballistic missiles.

Tension reached its peak during the 2017 presidential elections, when Rouhani described the Revolutionary Guards as “the government that owns the gun”, criticizing in particular the IRGC missile activities a few months after the signing of the nuclear agreement in July 2015.

Source » aawsat