Iran’s Supreme National Security Council has signalled that should pro-opposition protests break out on Monday, Iran’s security and military forces must avoid direct confrontation with Green Movement protesters.
According to a source close to the Green Voice of Freedom, the most recent meeting of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran was concluded with no clear consensus on how best to treat the upcoming opposition protests on Monday. Nevertheless, it’s become apparent that Iran’s ruling elite are deeply concerned that a fate similar to that of the Egyptian regime might be awaiting them too.
Reports suggest that figures in the Revolutionary Guards Corps, an elite fighting force heavily invested in suppressing the 2009 post-election protests, are alarmed by a possible loss of faith and confidence among the IRGC’s middle-ranking commanders as well as the prospect of soldiers disobeying the orders of superior officers on Monday.
During the SNSC meeting, the commander of the IRGC suggested that his forces would maintain a less visible presence in Tehran on Monday and that the country’s riot police would be charged primarily with controlling the street protests in the country’s capital. According to the proposal put forth by the IRGC, in the event that the police are unable to cope with magnitude of demonstrators, the IRGC will take a more active role in controlling the crowd.
Last week, the leaders of Iran’s opposition Green Movement formally requested authorisation to hold demonstrations in solidarity with the Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings on 14 February (25 Bahman in the Iranian Calendar). Until now, the Interior Ministry has refused to grant a permit for the planned march which is to take place from Imam Hossein Azadi square at 3pm local time on Monday.
In a joint statement published just days ago, Green Movement leaders Mahdi Karroubi and Mir Hossein Mousavi argued that Iran’s armed forces would inevitably align themselves with the Iranian people. ”We especially believe that in the end, the Basij, the Revolutionary Guard and the military forces will not abandon their nation.”