Abbas Mohammad Hassani, the supreme leader’s representative to the Iranian Army, at the Second Conference of Iranian Army Commanders, June 2019.
“The general interests of the army should trump the interests of individuals.”
Iran has two parallel and sometimes overlapping militaries: the regular army focused on territorial defense and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), whose founding statutes charge it with defense of the Revolution from both external and internal enemies. Traditionally, the IRGC have been the more elite force. They are better resourced, volunteer based, and more selective, whereas the Iranian government uses conscription to staff the army.
While millions of Iranians serve their two years in the army and then leave military service behind, some Iranians seek to make it a career. In the excerpted article from the regime’s official defense-specialty news agency Holy Defense News Agency, Hojjat ol-Eslam Abbas Mohammad Hassani, the official representative of the Supreme Leader to the Army, speaks to commanders about how to appoint the correct individuals to fill higher-level positions. The fact that the cleric filling this role is one rank below ayatollah demonstrates the extent to which the clergy remain intertwined with the broader Iranian military; they do not limit their role to the IRGC. Hassani makes clear that religiosity must be a factor in determining appointments. Hassani cites a verse from the surah al-Saffat, chapter 37 of the Qur’an: “And stop them. They are to be questioned.” The Prophet Mohammad received the al-Saffat in Mecca during a period in which many of the revelations focused on spirituality rather than governance. The context of the verse is calling to account idolaters on the Day of Judgment. That Hassani chose to make religion a criterion raises questions about whether the Supreme Leader believes the Army is a weak link in his efforts to ensure a universal embrace of the Islamic Republic’s Shi’ite revolutionary values.
“Gozinesh Nakhstin Sang-e Bona Yek Sazman Ast” (Selection is the Cornerstone of an Organization),” Holy Defense News Agency (Iran’s official defense-specialty news agency), 28 February 2022, https://defapress.ir/fa/news/509142
…Hojjat ol-Eslam Abbas Mohammad Hassani, the head of the army’s ideological-political organization, visited the Army’s selection center in the presence of relevant commanders and officials and emphasized the importance and high position of selection in the army. The future of the army is based on these choices, because if the choices are correct, the future of the army is undoubtedly bright and promising. He described selection as a determination of destiny and added, “With correct selection of the relevant officials, in addition to the destiny of the organization, the path of a person’s life will also be changed. Therefore, if, God forbid, we slip in determining these two destinies, in addition to misleading and distorting the person’s way through life, we will also suffer from self-harm, because, according to verse 24 of Surah al-Saffat we must be responsible and will be accountable for our actions and deeds.
Hojjat ol-Eslam Hassani emphasized the importance of selection with argument and reason. “The rejection of the candidates for employment must be based on religious, legal and rational reasons, so one must be very careful not to accept or reject someone without a reason….
In the end, the representative of the supreme leader to the army pointed out that we should always build an army better than before, noting that in the selections, the general interests of the army should trump the interests of individuals….
Image: Abbas Mohammad Hassani, the supreme leader’s representative to the Iranian Army, at the Second Conference of Iranian Army Commanders, June 2019.
Source: Tasnim News Agency