Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) plays a central role in the ideological camp led by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in the power struggle between this camp and the pragmatic camp led by Expediency Council Chairman Hashemi Rafsanjani and President Hassan Rohani. According to the rules of the game in this power struggle, as set by Khamenei, the IRGC has declared that it provides only qualified support for the elected president, Rohani, and that it will "assist the government, but will of course do its duty if it feels that [the government] is straying from the principles of the Revolution and from the direction that the regime has set out."
In a two-part series, published November 18 and November 23, 2014, the Saham News website, which is close to supporters of Green Movement leader and former Majlis speaker Mehdi Karroubi - who has been under house arrest since February 2011 - warned that senior circles within the IRGC, together with Leader Khamenei's son Mojtaba Khamenei, are promoting a "soft coup" against Rohani. The website pointed to an IRGC project write this instead of bringing in Hossein Taeb now, we will explain that below that aims to remove or at least paralyze the Rohani government.
The first part of the series listed the names of those it said were involved in the anti-Rohani project along with their functions in IRGC or conservative circles, including the names of the project coordinators and the street addresses of the locations from which they are operating. According to the website, the project is being directed in secret under the oversight of senior IRGC officials, including IRGC security and intelligence organization director Hossein Taeb and Khamenei's son Mojtaba. The project's activity is directly overseen by IRGC member Abdollah Zeirghami, known as Gen. Moshfegh.
The second installment states explicitly that Mojtaba Khamenei is in charge of implementing the project, as his father's proxy. The report includes extensive details on Gen. Moshfegh, who has in recent years been in charge of implementing projects against Iranian political officials, most of them reformist activists.
The Saham News report further stated that Rohani had complained to Leader Khamenei about IRGC attempts to remove him after being informed in detail about the project, but that Khamenei had brushed off his complaints, saying that the IRGC was not under his command and that in its anti-Rohani activity it was operating independently.
The following are excerpts from both installments of the Saham News report:
Photos from the Saham News report, left to right: President Rohani, Khamenei's son Mojtaba, and Hossein Taeb.
Part I, November 8, 2014
"The IRGC Intelligence Bureau, Headed By Hossein Taeb, Has Brought The Project To Paralyze The Government To The Operational Phase"
"Ten months after the establishment of the Hassan Rohani government, the IRGC intelligence bureau, headed by Hossein Taeb, has brought the project to paralyze the government to the operational phase. In early August 2014, Rohani said that for the past nine or 10 months, a minority group [in the regime opposing Rohani] had been obstructing [his government] and spreading false rumors and lies about it. [Rohani] stressed that 'the minority group that has emerged from various places in [this project's] think tank room and has [now] entered its operations room must know that the government knows about its actions and will issue statements in response to its slander.'
"As part of its operational project against the Hassan Rohani government, [the IRGC intelligence bureau] has for several months been operating external [security] center branches that were activated at various operational phases in order to implement the goals set out for them in advance to paralyze the Rohani government. These security center [branches] are administered by political forces that are part of [conservative circles] such as The Society of Devotees of the Islamic Revolution and the Society of Those Who Tread The Path of the Islamic Revolution, as well as forces connected with the IRGC intelligence bureau [itself], and are responsible for writing articles, preparing slanderous reports, feeding [information] to the media, creating newsworthy topics, and waging psychological warfare against the [Rohani] government.
"Below are presented, for the first time, these security facilities within the IRGC intelligence bureau, and the types of missions they carry out:
The Executive Administration: A Parallel Shadow Government That Slanders The Elected Government
"As part of the first security facility created by the IRGC intelligence bureau, called the Executive Administration, a parallel system was formed for every government ministry, that monitors the activity of that ministry and coordinates all [the efforts to] slander that ministry. The head of the Executive Administration is a man called Soltani, who belongs to the IRGC logistics branch. Another central member of this administration is Lotfollah Farouzandeh, deputy secretary-general of the Society of Devotees of the Islamic Revolution, who was vice-president under [former Iranian president] Ahmadinejad. This security facility operates on Kargar-e Jonoubi Boulevard, Lebafi Street, third alley, [house] no. 423. There is a sign on the building saying 'Institution for Religion and Knowledge'... The administration employs many [former] ministers and senior officials of Ahmadinejad's government to direct the desks associated with the relevant government ministries. For example, Masoud Mir Kazemi, Ahmadinejad's petroleum minister, is responsible for the desk of petroleum [affairs], and Rostam Ghasemi, who has a private office in a security facility where Hossein Taeb can be found a great deal of the time, is in charge of gathering intelligence and [conducting] analyses in order to paralyze the Rohani government."
The Virtual Government
"This facility carries out media activity against Rohani's government by creating many websites and feeding [information to] dozens of news agencies and websites. The Virtual Government department occupies the former premises of the Hamshahri-e Majalat newspaper, on Karimkhan Zand Street and Shahid Sepahbod Qarani Street. Its director is Hossein Nejabat, also a member of the Society of Devotees of the Islamic Revolution. The job of this security facility is to [wage] psychological [warfare] by spreading rumors and slander about Rohani's government."
Headquarters For Coordinating Departments For Paralyzing The Government
"The security facility on 50 Shahid Keshvar Doost Street houses the headquarters for 'coordinating the departments for paralyzing the government.' It is close to Khamenei's office and is directed by a man named Sabzi, who belongs to forces subordinate to Hossein Taeb, and by Hossein Fadai [no details about him are available]. This security facility coordinates and assists the activity of the various [other] departments. It organizes the Majlis to act against the government and also organizes demonstrations."
Monitoring Movement and Transfer Of Manpower, Sabotaging Appointments
"The security facility on Mofatehe Jonoubi Boulevard and Moayeri Street 2/7... oversees the activity to monitor and control the movement and transfer of [manpower] by the government, to sabotage the appointment of skilled forces, and to campaign against new administrators by preparing special publications that are penned by the [facility's] administrators. This facility is directed by Khakbaz and Jamarani, members of the IRGC intelligence bureau."
Organizing The Elites
"The Filastin security facility on Madaen Street and Mozafar Street No. 38 houses a cover organization called the Basij Elites Fund. Its task is to attract elites and enlist their help in finding the government's weaknesses in various domains and to expand and enlarge them [in order to weaken the government]."
Organizing The Political Streams
"Another security facility, on 6 Vila Street and Shahid Falahpour Alley, houses the department for recruiting the political streams and the conservatives against the government, which is also directed by Hossein Fadai. It should be noted that as if late 2014, the project for paralyzing the government employed 500 people. Their monthly wages were paid by this center, whose budget was part of a secret IRGC budget. Gen. amal Abroumand was in charge of allocating this budget."
The Psychological Operations Department
"'Abdollah Zeighami, known as Gen. Moshfegh... is in charge of organizing psychological and media campaigns against the reformists, Hassan Rohani, and the P5+1 nuclear talks."
A Review Of The Parallel Intelligence Figures
"'The parallel intelligence [force] is a combination of extremist forces from the IRGC and from the Intelligence Ministry, including Hamid Reza Moghaddam-Far... According to reports, due to internal disagreements between IRGC commander Ali Jafari and [IRGC intelligence bureau head] Hossein Taeb over the establishment of the parallel intelligence apparatus and the freezing of budgets for projects such as the parallel intelligence [force], Gen. Jamal Abroumand is budgeting the parallel intelligence partly through a variety of economic activities like selling oil and trading in dollars. Furthermore, a figure named Sabzi is responsible for purchasing dollars at the government exchange rate and selling them at the free [market] rate.
"According to our report, Nabavi, whose real name is Masoud Sharfa, is the legal liaison between the parallel intelligence [force] and the judiciary; Samdi is the liaison between the parallel intelligence [force] and Khamenei's office; and Beygi is the liaison between the parallel intelligence [force] and the IRGC in Tehran.
"It should be noted that at a meeting between Rohani and Khamenei, the above statements were presented together with documents and papers as well as photos of the security facilities, as part of a 'complaint' by Rohani. Khamenei expressed his regret [over the matter] and said that the IRGC does not take orders from him and that all the actions against the government are carried out by the IRGC [on its own].
"After Rohani presented this report to Khamenei, no significant action was taken to stop the anti-government activity of the IRGC intelligence bureau, and this organization continues to act against the people's elected government with the knowledge of the regime's highest echelons..."
Part II, November 23, 2014
The second installment of the Saham News report, dated November 23, 2014, was devoted largely to Abdollah Zeirghami aka Gen. Moshfegh and his activity in the IRGC. The report stated that in the 2009 post-election unrest, Zeirghami headed the IRGC's Sarollah Unit, and that during the Iran-Iraq war (1980-88) he was a member of the IRGC instruction unit.
The report stated that according to an audio recording of a November 2009 public speaking engagement in Mashhad, "Zeighami leveled accusations against [Ayatollah Khomeini's grandson] Hassan Khomeini [who in recent years has been associated with regime reformists] and others such as [former IRGC commander and Expediency Council Secretary] Mohsen Rezaee, [Tehran mayor] Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, and [Majlis speaker] Ali Larijani... Abdollah Zeirghami (Gen. Moshfegh) raised some points about Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei [Ahmadinejad's vice president, who had talked of the Iranian people's kinship with the people of Israel and the U.S.]... He specifically said that he had presented these points to the Leader [Khamenei], who told him to inform the people about them.
"Zeighami presented Seyyed Mostafa Tajzadeh [Majlis member and former undersecretary arrested in June 2009 for his support for presidential candidate Mousavi] as an expert on psychological warfare and [reformist cleric and Expediency Council member] Mousavi Khoeiniha as a foreign spy.
"Furthermore, he said that during the two years that preceded the 2009 election unrest, IRGC intelligence was listening in on reformists' phone calls and taking counterintelligence measures against them using advanced, state-of-the-art systems.
"After these statements, seven reformists - [former deputy foreign minister] Mohsen Aminzadeh, Mostafa Tajzadeh, [former spokesmen for president Khatami] Abdollah Ramezanzadeh, [reformist journalist] Feyzollah Arab Sorkhi, [reformist Majlis member] Mohsen Safaei Farahani, [1979 hostage crisis negotiator and prominent reformist Majlis member] Mohsen Mirdamadi, and [deputy Majlis speaker and leading member of 1979 U.S. Embassy takeover] Behzad Nabavi - complained to the head of the judiciary and to the legal organization of the armed forces and filed a lawsuit against Abdollah Zeighami's illegal measures. But amazingly, their lawsuit was not dealt with by the judiciary; instead, these seven reformist activists were imprisoned for filing the lawsuit against an IRGC security official and were given lengthy prison sentences. Behzad Nabavi was released recently after five years in prison, but Seyyed Mostafa Tajzadeh is still locked up in an IRGC security cell.
"Saham has obtained documents [see below] proving that IRGC Commander Mohammad Ali Jafari appointed Abdollah Zeighami, the very same Gen. Moshfegh, to oversee the IRGC's inquiries and psychological operations, in order to carry out his and the IRGC's intelligence actions against the people and the elected government in a more organized fashion. Abdollah Zeighami (Moshfegh) was appointed... on September 23, 2013, 50 days after the Rohani government was formed..."
At the end of this second report, Saham News promised that its "reports on the IRGC's... covert operations against the people and elected government will continue in the future as well."
IRGC commander Ali Jafari's letter appointing Abdollah Zeighami, known as Gen. Moshfegh, as director of IRGC inquiries and psychological operations. Source: Sahamnews, November 23, 2014.
 For statements by Rafsanjani's son Mehdi Hashemi on this topic, see MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis No.1120, The Power Struggle Between Khamenei And His Camp And Rafsanjani And His Camp - Part XI: Rafsanjani's Son Says: My Father Opposes 'Rule Of The Jurisprudent' But Won't Come Out Against Khamenei; Khamenei Tried And Failed To Remove My Father, September 29, 2014.
 From statements by IRGC public relations director Ramazan Sharif in a November 12, 2014 interview with Iran's Fars news agency.
 On Mojtaba Khamenei's close relationship with Hossein Taeb, Amir Farshad Ebrahimi, an Iranian exile who was once close to IRGC circles, wrote, in an article titled "The Secret of the Friendship and Ties between Mojtaba Khamenei and [Hossein] Taeb" and posted on his website on October 27, 2012: "During his studies at the Marvi religious seminary in Tehran, Mojtaba Khamenei got to know Hossein Taeb, and the two ended up as study partners. After they met, Hossein Taeb joined the office of [Leader Ali] Khamenei, and, some time later, following Mojtaba's suggestion to his father, Taeb was placed in charge of coordinating [the office]. At that time, Mojtaba and Hossein both attended the advanced religion classes held by [Leader] Ali Khamenei, and they continue to be friends and study partners to this day. As part of their establishment of the circle that they called The Society of Devotees of the Islamic Revolution, following the stormy  presidential election, Taeb and Mojtaba advanced two special and sensitive missions entrusted to them by Ali Khamenei, [aimed at obtaining] control of security in Tehran and of the religious seminaries..." Goftaniha.org, October 27, 2012.
 Sahamnews.org, November 18, 2014.
 Sahamnews (Iran), November 23, 2014.