New Guards Corps Commander in Chief, key official of mullahs' suppression and terrorism

The appointment by the clerical regime's supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, of Yahya Safavi as Commander in Chief of the Revolutionary Guards is designed to reassert his control over the Guards Corps in the aftermath of the mullahs' presidential elections.

With the leadership now carved up among Khamenei, Rafsanjani, and Khatami, the mullahs' regime is in the grips of internal strife and infighting. Shortly before his removal, former Guards Corps chief, Mohsen Rezai, said in an interview that a considerable number of "commanding officers and veteran Guards Corps personnel are quitting the force" out of despair and complete loss of faith in the regime's future.

Safavi has been a top official of the Guards Corps for the past 16 years, instrumental in implementing the mullahs' repression at home, export of terrorism and fundamentalism abroad, and warmongering and expansionist policies. From the outset, Safavi played an active role in the bloody crackdown on opposition groups, and bears direct responsibility for the death of thousands of Resistance activists.

The new Guards Corps chief has consistently sided with Khamenei in the factional infighting within the mullahs' regime. During the Iran-Iraq war, he was for some time the commander of the Guards Corps' ground forces. Safavi was directly involved in the clerical regime's missile attacks on Kuwait and the large-scale human-wave offensives in which hundreds of thousands of teen-age Iranians were sent to their deaths. After the war, Khamenei appointed him as the Deputy Commander in Chief of the Guards Corps.

Safavi was one of the main founders of the Qods (Jerusalem) Force, the Revolutionary Guards' special branch responsible for terrorist activities outside Iran. The Qods Force has been behind all the major acts of terror sponsored by the clerical regime in different countries, including Lebanon, Palestine and Iraq.

Following the bloody antigovernment uprising by residents in the northeastern city of Mashad in May 1992, Khamenei gave Safavi full responsibility to thwart the recurrence of such massive protests. Safavi formed special anti-riot units in the Guards Corps named Ashura battalions in order to counter and suppress the growing wave of protests across the country. In August 1994, he commanded the Guards Corps units that retook the city of Qazvin (140 km west of Tehran) after three days of general rebellion. In the ensuing days, 3,000 residents were executed.

The changes involving the Guards Corps' top brass reflect the internal strife and weakness of the clerical regime and underscore the fact that the medieval theocracy is not prone to any reform. In a speech on Tehran radio yesterday, Khamenei stressed that there were no "moderates" among the regime's leading figures, adding, "there is not even one person among the country's officials who favors in the least the policies of the arrogant and colonialist powers or wishes to show any leniency toward them."

Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran - Paris
September 11, 1997

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