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Iran should use foreign ‘reserve force’ to suppress protests and save regime, suggests an influential Iranian leader

Tehran: Musa Ghazanfarabadi, head of the Tehran Islamic Revolution Courts, suggested that the Rouhani government could make use of the militant groups operating in Syria, in case the Iranian security agencies fail to suppress the protests against the government. The statement has invited a sharp reaction from the Iranian people while some of the journalists have lashed out at the Rouhani government.

US President Donald Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal and imposed harsh sanctions against the country. Also, the United States tightened the noose of sanctions on Iran in three stages since then, and it has directly affected the Iranian economy and crude oil exports. Therefore, the Iranian economy has weakened and the Iranian people, merchants and workers have criticised it attributing it to the failure of Rouhani’s poor economic policies.

In the last eight months, protests against the Rouhani government were reported from more than 16 Iranian cities. The Iranian people, merchants and workers participating in the demonstrations are demanding the Rouhani government to be dissolved. Whereas, protestors in certain cities have even demanded to overthrow the rule of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei which enforces the extremist ideology in the state.

The Iran government had even taken the assistance of the Revolutionary Guards along with the local police to dismantle the protests. However, the Iranian military has also not been able to quell the protests. As of today, protests against the government continue in some cities of Tehran. Considering the scenario, religious leader Ghazanfarabadi suggested the use of Iranian foreign ‘reserve force’ militias during a speech in the city of Qom.

“If the Iranian security agencies are not able to handle the challenge posed by the protestors or fail to curb the demonstrations, the Rouhani government should take the assistance of the foreign fighters of extremist groups under its influence”, Ghazanfarabadi said. Currently, the Hashd Al-Shaabi in Iraq, Fatemiyoun Brigade in Afghanistan, Zainebiyoun in Pakistan and Houthi rebels in Yemen are fighting under the Iranian leadership. The Iranian officials and leaders claim that the foreign affiliate groups are Iran’s ‘reserve forces’. Furthermore, the foreign militias should be put to use if the government in Iran is to be saved, Ghazanfarabadi asserted.

Reza Haghighatnejad, a prominent Iranian journalist severely criticised the statement saying that ‘The foreign fighters used in the conflicts in Syria and other countries, will one day be used against the Iranian people. The supporters of the Iranian regional policies and Iran-backed extremists might have also never imagined that the groups would be used against Iran’s own people to save its tyrannical government’.

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