Security expert speculates on split-up among Iran Revolutionary Guards’ leaders

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Senior leaders of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards are likely to split up and leave the country secretly, according to American expert Michael Pregent, a senior fellow in Hudson Institute.

In a panel organized by Hudson Institute recently to discuss Iran, the effectiveness of the US “Maximum Pressure” campaign, the Iranian regime’s ability to navigate sanctions, and the country’s widening protests, Pregent said that reports indicate that senior officials in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps resigned.

In an interview on with “Voice of America” network on the sidelines of the seminar, Pregent added: “I heard that many of the senior officials in Quds elite unite in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards have resigned and left the country with their money, but I can’t find identical sources for this information.”

He said: “We are faced with a lack of information about the Revolutionary Guards commanders who have left their positions.”

“If these splits up are confirmed, it will be very important,” said the security expert and former lecturer at the College of International Security Affairs.

“At present, what we know is that the middle class officers of the Quds Force were displeased with the Iranian Supreme Leader’s flexibility towards the United States during the nuclear agreement,” said Pregent. “We know there are differences between the senior leadership and the leaders of the middle class.”

For his part, Behnam Ben Taleblu, a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies who participated in the panel, said to “Voice of America” that: “Iran’s budget is declining, and the ability of the Iranian government to pay for its security forces is shrinking,” Targeting an important part of the Iranian economy, the question now is: Will the regime rely on its security forces to defend itself against the growing protests? “

“This is a hypothetical question, but when severe sanctions are imposed in November 2018 and target Iran’s revenues in 2019, this question will be a practical and experimental matter,” he said.

Ben Taleblu also suggested that the US administration expand its sanctions against Iranian security forces to include the interior minister and Revolutionary Guards commanders responsible for cracking down on protests in Iranian provinces.