On June 22, the Fars news agency, affiliated with Iran’s regime’s Revolutionary Guard (IRGC), published a message from Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, addressed to a joint meeting of the Ministry of Intelligence and the IRGC Intelligence Organization. This meeting reportedly took place on June 15 in Mashhad.
In his message, Khamenei acknowledged the existence of disputes between these two parallel intelligence agencies within the regime and emphasized that a lack of understanding between them is one of their weaknesses.
He stated that intelligence is a crucial national matter, and the lack of understanding among these groups hampers their effectiveness. Khamenei called for the implementation of this understanding at all levels, emphasizing that it is essential for those who fight for the cause of God. While there is a serious understanding at the leadership level of these institutions, the real challenge lies in implementing cooperation and understanding throughout their ranks.
The internal disputes between the Ministry of Intelligence and the IRGC Intelligence are rooted in differing interests. Esmaeil Khatib, the regime’s Minister of Intelligence, expressed the need for coherence between the two intelligence systems across various fields, activities, and geographical and thematic conditions.
He claimed that achieving such coherence would strengthen Iran, curb inflation, and promote production growth, while also fostering hope and dynamism in the country. Khatib emphasized that even issues such as social norms of hijab and unemployment should be approached as intelligence matters.
The disputes between the Ministry of Intelligence and IRGC Intelligence have a long history, with notable tensions becoming evident during the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a prominent nuclear scientist, in October 2020. Following the assassination, the Ministry of Intelligence claimed to possess information about the incident, including the timing, and had allegedly informed the relevant agencies. However, no action was taken, and it was implied that the relevant body was the IRGC, responsible for safeguarding the nuclear scientists.
This incident highlighted issues of infiltration and gaps within the regime’s intelligence agencies. In June 2022, Hossein Taeb, the long-time head of IRGC intelligence, was dismissed, shedding light on the depth of the problem.
The Ministry of Intelligence, as part of the government apparatus, is generally influenced by the political and intelligence policies of the ruling faction. On the other hand, IRGC intelligence aligns with the IRGC’s objectives, which encompass various intelligence and terrorist projects. During Rouhani’s government, the divide between these two institutions widened significantly and became publicly visible.
With the departure of Rouhani and the consolidation of the regime’s apparatuses under Khamenei’s faction, it was expected that the disputes between the IRGC and the intelligence agencies would diminish. However, Khamenei’s recent message indicates that the intensity of this ongoing dispute persists. Changing the top management of the Ministry of Intelligence and the IRGC Intelligence has not resolved the problem. These two intelligence agencies are deeply entangled in internal rivalries and conflicting interests, rendering Khamenei’s recommendations ineffective thus far.
Khamenei had previously stated that he privately warns government officials multiple times before making his concerns public when they are not heeded. The dispute between these two agencies appears to have become so intolerable for Khamenei that he was compelled to publicly address the issue.
Source » iranfocus