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The charter of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, approved by the Islamic Consultative Assembly on September 6th, 1982, does not mention this department.
HINT: The Islamic Consultative Assembly is also known as the Iranian Parliament or the Iranian Majles. This is the national legislative body of Iran.
However, Article 8 of the Iranian Ministry of Information Law adopted by the Parliament on August 18, 1983 states that “the protection of information in the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps is vested in a separate organization subordinate to the Central Staff of the Guards Corps”.
As per the legislation, “the head of this organization is appointed by order of the Commander-in-Chief of the IRGC with the approval of the Head of Iran – the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
Nevertheless, looking into the orders on the appointment of the head of the Main Directorate of Counterintelligence of the IRGC shows that this official is appointed by decree of the head of Iran on the proposal of the Commander-in-Chief of the IRGC. The removal of the head of the Main Directorate of Counterintelligence of the IRGC is also coordinated with the Supreme Leader of Iran. The appointment and removal of other personnel of the Main Directorate of Counterintelligence of the IRGC is carried out by order of the Head of the Main Directorate with the consent of the plenipotentiary representative of the Head of Iran in the IRGC.
The Main Counter-Intelligence Directorate of the IRGC was established in 1983 and, like the other counter-intelligence structures of Iran, performs tasks to counteract the activities of foreign intelligence not only in relation to organizations and military units of the IRGC, but also other state structures and components of the Iranian Armed Forces.
In addition, the Main Directorate of Counterintelligence of the IRGC is entrusted with the following tasks: counteraction and suppression of activities within the organization, incompatible with the IRGC policy; preventing the spread of classified information beyond the IRGC; monitoring the activities of commanders, personnel and civilian personnel of the IRGC in order to prevent their connection with foreign intelligence agents and services, as well as their recruitment to their cause.
From the point of view of organizing counterintelligence activities in Iran, the Main Counterintelligence Directorate of the IRGC is in a leadership position in regards to the organization for other counterintelligence structures. In particular, the leadership of the Basij Counterintelligence Directorate hosts a permanent representative of the IRGC Counterintelligence Directorate, and all information about the activities of the Basij Counterintelligence Directorate is sent to the Main Directorate of Counterintelligence of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. In addition, the IRGC’s Counterintelligence Directorate, oversees the activities of the counter-intelligence department of the Supreme Commander and the apparatus of plenipotentiaries of the Iranian Supreme leader.
The Main Directorate of Counterintelligence of the IRGC has the exclusive right to control and verify the activities of the economic organization of the IRGC “Karargah-e Sazandehi-e Hatam al-Ambiya”. No other state control or audit service has the right to monitor and demand a report on the activities of this organization. Karargakh-e-Sazandehi-e Hatam al-Ambiya is the key economic agent of the IRGC.
In accordance with article 147 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, “the material and technical capabilities of this economic organization are used by the government to assist state structures in the production, training and self-sufficiency policies”.
During the period of intensification of international economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran, Karargah-e-Sazandehi-e Hatam al-Ambiya was able to take the place of foreign companies that left the country in large oil and gas projects. This period allowed Karargakh-e-Sazandehi-e Hatam al-Ambiya to become a giant economic holding, Iran’s largest and most important economic company.
Specialists for the Main Counterintelligence Directorate of the IRGC are trained at the Hadi Institute at the Imam Hossein University, which educates students in its security and counterintelligence departments at a level equivalent to a master’s degree in “Protection and Security” and “National Security”. The structure of the institute has one research center and six educational research groups. The scientific journal of the institute is the journal Pozhuheshi-ye hefazati wa amniyati (Problems of protection and security).
Thus, the IRGC Main Counterintelligence Directorate is one of Iran’s most influential special services, both organizationally and politically, and in terms of available resources.
Currently, the head of the Main Directorate of Counterintelligence of the IRGC is Brigadier General of the IRGC Mohammad Kazemi.
His name and surname fully coincide with the name and surname of the deputy head of the Main Security Directorate of the IRGC, Brigadier General of the IRGC Mohammad Hassan Kazemi. This causes frequent confusion, even among Iranian media correspondents.
Heads of the Main Directorate of Counterintelligence of the IRGC at different periods of its existence were:
- Mohammad Hossein Nejat in 1983;
- Ali Saidi from 1983 to 1987 and from 1989 to 1993;
- Ahmad Wahidi from 1987 to 1989;
- Murtaza Rezai from 1993 to 2006;
- Golamhosein Ramzani from 2006 to 2009;
- Mohammad Kazemi from 2009 to the present.
The Deputy Head of the Main Directorate of Counterintelligence of the IRGC is Brigadier General of the IRGC Rahim Taakubi.
The complex of central buildings of the Main Directorate of Counterintelligence of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps is located in Tehran on Bakery Square and Tahti Street. This complex of buildings is also known as the “Padgan-e kousare velayat”.
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