IranMiddle East

IRGC chief says Guards won’t act for, against any presidential candidate

A day after the Constitutional Council cleared the way for military men to run for president, the chief of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) says the elite force will not take sides with or act against any presidential candidate.

“Military men, like the rest of the people of this country, can participate [as candidates] in the elections and this has nothing to do with the organization (IRGC), as it is their personal desire,” Major General Hossein Salami in a televised interview on Wednesday night.

Salami said there will be no encouragement on the part of the IRGC for officers who register as presidential hopefuls, stressing the force’s commitment to taking no position in favor of or against any candidate.

He emphasized that the Guards is “sincere” in its conduct, adding, “The IRGC is composed of military men who each vote for their desired candidate and there is no movement within the IRGC that would want to decide on who to vote for or not to vote for.”

Earlier on Wednesday, Iran’s Constitutional Council, which interprets the Constitution and vets candidates’ qualifications based on those interpretations, announced that military men can from now on run for president without a need to resign from their position.

Military officers, including former IRGC Chief Mohsen Rezaee and former Police Chief Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, had already run for the office — and were approved by the Constitutional Council — in previous elections. But their presidential bids were announced while they were no longer on duty.

Also in the upcoming election, which is scheduled for June 18, former Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan and former head of IRGC’s Khatam al-Anbiya Construction Headquarters Saeed Mohammad have put their names forward for the presidential election. Mohammad resigned from his position earlier this year to be able to pursue his presidential ambitions.

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