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A Year Later: Suppression Continues in Iran

Mohammad Ali Jafari

Born: 1957

Hometown: Yazd

Position: Commander, Revolutionary Guards

Forgiving the rioters, particularly the Ashura day rioters, is not practical, and even if some officials want to forgive them, people will not allow them.”




Mohammad Ali Jafari attended Tehran University before serving in the Basij militia and then the Revolutionary Guards during the Iran-Iraq War. From 1991 or 1992 through 2005, Jafari was commander of the Revolutionary Guards’ land forces.

Following the July 1999 uprisings at Tehran University, Jafari wrote a letter to then-President Khatami, warning him against pursuing further reformist policies, stating that “our patience is at an end, and we do not think it is possible to tolerate any more.”

In 2007, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei appointed him overall commander of the Revolutionary Guards, a branch of the military reporting directly to the Supreme Leader and highly influential both politically and economically. One of Jafari’s first moves was to decentralize the Guards’ command structure, creating 31 local command centers, and merging the Basij militia into the command structure of the Guards, all to deal with the “internal enemy” which he felt was a greater threat than the “external enemy.”

In late summer 2009, he boasted that the role of the Basij in the post-election events was decisive. He also argued that the detainees who confessed to having collaborated with the enemy did so freely because, in prison, they were free of pressures from their affiliated parties and societies.

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Reports, Right to Protest, Imprisonment