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Who is Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, the new speaker of Iran’s parliament?

Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, the new speaker of the Majlis
Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, the new speaker of the Majlis

Reporting by PMOI/MEK

Iran, June 2, 2020—In the current circumstances, while the mullahs’ regime is facing hard economic, social, and political crises, regime Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei sees no other option than rely on his hand-picked inner circles to occupy key positions of power. Disqualifying the so-called reformist candidates for the recent parliamentary elections, which had the lowest turnout in the history of elections in the Iranian regime, had no aim but appointing trustworthy officials such as Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf as the new Speaker of the Majlis.

Previously, in appointing Ebrahim Raisi, a key player in the execution of Iranian dissidents, as head of Iran’s judiciary, Khamenei had shown he needs known criminals to maintain his power as his regime enters its final stages.

Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, who is also a former commander of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and State Security Forces, has repeatedly shown his loyalty to Khamenei through his crimes against the Iranian people. Ghalibaf also ran for presidency on three occasions.

A quick glance at Ghalibaf’s criminal record

1982 – Commander of the Imam Reza IRGC Brigade

1983 – Commander of the fifth Division of Nasr of Khorasan: In this position, he took part in most of the regime's offense in the Iran-Iraq war and has personally sent many youth, children, and students to clear minefields with their bodies.

 

During the Iran-Iraq war, the Iranian regime forced children to go to battlefronts

During the Iran-Iraq war, the Iranian regime forced children to go to battlefronts

1987 – Deputy Commander of the IRGC Moghadam base in western Iran.

1987 - Commander of IRGC Najaf base in Kermanshah

1988 – Commander of country’s third District: During this period, Ghalibaf played a key role in suppressing the people of the northern provinces of the country, including Gilan and Mazandaran.

1989 – Commander of Karbala 25 Brigade in Mazandaran province.

1990 – Chief of Staff of IRGC ground forces

1991 – Deputy Coordinator of the Joint Staff of the IRGC

1994 – Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the IRGC at the Khatam al-Anbiya Construction garrison

1994 – Deputy commander of Basij forces: In this position he played an active role in suppression and created Sayyid al-Shuhada bases for the Morality Police in various provinces. During this period, he also established Basij intelligence activities to find, arrest, and suppress popular resistance centers.

1997 – Deputy Commander of IRGC Air Force.

1997 – Commander of the IRGC Air Force (replaced Mohammad Hossein Jalali): During this period, which continued until 2000, he played a major role in creating IRGC Missile Units and expanding the IRGC’s surface-to-surface missile brigades from three to five. During his tenure, he focused on expanding the IRGC’s surface-to-surface Shahab missiles.

2000 – Commander of State Security Forces: For three years, he played a major role in the suppression of all major protests in various cities. He expanded the SSF’s Special Forces and founded the suppressive police force known as 110 Police. He made fundamental changes to the organization of the police forces and spent a huge budget to equip this oppressive organ.

2004 – Representative of regime’s president Mohammad Khatami in the task force for countering the smuggling of goods and currency (he maintained his position as commander of the State Security Forces).

2005 – Mayor of Tehran for 12 years.

To briefly summarize Ghalibaf’s criminal record: In the last 38 years, he has been the Chief of Staff of the IRGC's Ground Forces, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the IRGC, Deputy Commander of the Basij, Commander of the IRGC Air Force and Commander of the State Security Forces, and mayor of Tehran.

In the 80s, Ghalibaf commanded one third of the front in the Iranian regime’s war on Iraq, which lasted eight years and resulted in one million deaths and billions of dollars’ worth of damage. As IRGC Commander of Gilan and Mazandaran province, he played a major role in suppressing protests and sending many children, students, and youths to the minefields. The regime appointed him as the Chief of Staff of the IRGC Ground Forces for his criminal services.

After founding the intelligence service of the Basij in 1996, Ghalibas became the head of the State Security Forces, where he founded the suppressive 110 Police Force, which played a major role in suppressing the student movements in 1999.

In 1999, Ghalibaf played an active role in suppressing student protests in Tehran

In 1999, Ghalibaf played an active role in suppressing student protests in Tehran

Later, as mayor of Tehran, he became deeply involved the corruption and lawlessness that plagued Tehran’s municipality. On August 17, 2017, former city councilor Morteza Alviri referred to the state-run ISNA news agency a scandal in Tehran municipality in which estates worth billions of dollars were generously distributed among city councilors and City Hall staff.

“Corruption in holding bids and offers, employing an inefficient work force at management levels as well as employing retired and disabled people are examples of deeply rooted fraud in Tehran municipality. The amount of the municipality’s debt given by the mayor does not correspond with the figures given by his own deputies. Nobody precisely knows how deep Tehran’s municipality is indebted and how much money it makes or spends,” Alviri said at the time.

On January 2, 2016, Ghalibaf also played a role in the attack on the Saudi embassy in Tehran.

A close friend of terror mastermind Qassem Soleimani

Ghalibaf was a close friend of Iranian regime terror mastermind Qassem Suleimani

Ghalibaf was a close friend of Iranian regime terror mastermind Qassem Suleimani

During the 2005 presidential race, Ghalibaf, who was a candidate, said, “In 1999 [student protests], I was one the club-wielders. What happened in 1999 at the Kuy-e Daneshgah, I was the one who wrote the letter to the president (letter of IRGC commander to Khatami demanding the suppression of students), I and Qassem Soleimani, When the protesters were on their way to the Supreme Leader’s house I was the commander of the IRGC Air Force. You can see my picture riding on a 1,000-cc motorcycle with a club. Alongside with Hossein Khaleghi, I was in the middle of the streets to sort it all out. When it is necessary to be in the streets and wield clubs, I’m proud of it.”

Commander of State Security Forces

Ghalibaf played a key role in suppressing protests during his tenure as the commander of State Security Forces

Ghalibaf played a key role in suppressing protests during his tenure as the commander of State Security Forces

In 2003, after the Kuy-e Daneshgah incident, during the National Security Council meeting I strongly argued and said very harsh words and did not respect the dignity of the meeting and said that tonight anyone who wants to come to the students alley and want to do these things, I, as the commander of the NAJA (State Security Forces), will crush and wipe them. Aziz Mohammadi (IRGC commander) is a witness… in that meeting I received permission for military action and shooting (at defenseless students) from the Security Council in the university alley.”

During the 2017 sham presidential elections, Hassan Rouhani mentioned the same issue and said “In 2005 the case of Mr. Ghalibaf was in my hand and I prevented it from being published and I argued with some in the secretariat that no one should be informed about this during the election times, and if I was not so indulgent you were not sitting on that chair today. Mr. Ghalibaf, your plan was always to crush and every time you came to the secretariat you said let me crush these students within two hours. If we didn’t oppose you, all Iran’s universities were crushed today.” (Source: State-run ILNA news agency, May 12, 2019)

Later on, Rouhani’s allies published an audio tape with contained part of Ghalibaf’s admission to  suppressing student protests in 1998.

Ghalibaf’s role in suppressing the poor

Attacking poor street vendors is one of the most insulting and hurtful scenes the Iranian society faces every day. The founder of this criminal tradition is none other than Ghalibaf. The state-run Aftab News website wrote in this regard on April 26, 2017: “The mayor of Tehran has the worst performance in facing the underprivileged and deprived people of this city… In fact, the aggressive measures of Ghalibaf was not to improve the conditions of workers and street vendors, but to run away from critics. In response to criticism for the staggering traffic on the city's central streets, it were the beet sellers who were kicked and suppressed… This is not the only place where the mayor of Tehran has oppressed the deprived… The mayor of Tehran has increased the city's income, but this increase in income has been gained at the cost of the food on the table of the most oppressed and poor people of Tehran, and the sad thing is that this income has generally been spent on billboard and media advertising of ‘Mr. General.’ What the mayor of Tehran has done in the last twelve years, the weak people of the society have been taken under the wheels of Mr. Mayor's programs.”

Attack on the Saudi embassy

Ghalibaf was among the senior regime officials who instigated an attack against the Saudi embassy in Tehran on January 2, 2016

Ghalibaf was among the senior regime officials who instigated an attack against the Saudi embassy in Tehran on January 2, 2016

Few crimes have been committed by the Iranian regime without Ghalibaf playing an active role. After sending youths to the mind fields during the Iran-Iraq war, suppressing student protests in 1998, destroying the environment as the mayor of Tehran, and participating alongside Soleimani in the regime’s terrorist activities abroad, he also participated in attacking the Saudi Arabia embassy in 2016. His role was revealed by current vice president Eshaq Jahangiri during presidential debates in 2017.


In this regard the state-run Eghtesad News website wrote on April 30, 2017: “About 20 days after the January 2 attack on Saudi embassy… a member of the Majlis National Security Committee revealed to ILNA news agency the role of a person called Hassan Kordmihan during the attack to the embassy. The same person had received a large complex from the Municipality Crisis Management to hold judo classes and is one the fanatic supporters of Ghalibaf. In support of Ghalibaf, Kordmihan has said, ‘The people of Alborz province can’t wait for the Major General of honesty and purity, Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf.’”

Ghalibaf’s financial corruption

In the mullahs’ regime, corruption and suppression are two sides of the same coin, and Ghalibaf is a prime example of it. One his unique characteristics is his expertise at erasing traces of his theft and corruption. But he has failed in some cases.

The daily Sharq, affiliated to Rouhani, revealed on May 10, 2017: “Ghalibaf strongly wants to discredit the government. His aim is clear: the seat of presidency. But how clean is Ghalibaf himself? The most important indicator is the speech of Valiollah Seif, head of the Central Bank. He talked about a 60 trillion rial debt of Tehran municipality to the banking network. A gift of 3.5 trillion rials to the deputy mayor is equal to 31 years’ worth of salary of the workers, which according to the latest decisions of the Labor Ministry was increased only to 9.4 million rials. Astronomical property is also becoming famous everywhere. This case had also a sad ending which and was removed from the parliament’s agenda for investigation. Apparently, in addition to the deputy mayor, according to published statistics, the cost of the house of mayor himself is 200 million rials per meter.”

Huge theft of people's property as mayor of Tehran

As the mayor of Tehran, Ghalibaf was involved in many embezzlement cases

As the mayor of Tehran, Ghalibaf was involved in many embezzlement cases

Majid Farahani, head of the Tehran’s municipality budget committee, revealed a small part of Ghalibaf’s thefts during his tenure as the mayor of Tehran. He told the state-run ISNA news agency on January 15, 2018: “We see a severe financial and commercial turmoil in the municipality.

“When we deduct the total revenues from the total costs incurred, we reach a gap of 200 trillion rials during the last 12 years. We don’t know where these 200 trillion rials have disappeared and this missing figure must be determined. Nowhere is it stated where these 200 trillion rials have gone?... Based on reports submitted by the selected auditor of the council, the revenue of the municipality in 2016 was about 227 trillion rials but in the reports the mayor submitted, the revenue of the municipality was about 211.3 trillion rials. There is a contradiction of 14 trillion rials between the two reports, while the reason is unclear,” he added.

He also mentioned that based on reports submitted by the auditor in 2016, municipal expenses were 196.72 trillion rials while in the mayor’s reports the expenses is indicated 198.58 trillion rials. “There is a 10-trillion-rial contradiction between the reports, and the question is, why?” he said.

Liquidating public property

During the presidential debates of 2017, Eshagh Jahangiri, who is now the First Vice President of Rouhani, addressed Ghalibaf and said: “Mr. Ghalibaf, what have you done with people’s property. According to the General Inspection Organization, you gave away 22 trillion rials of the people’s property, you gave astronomical discounts, you sold an apartment worth 100 billion rials for 20 billion. You did not ask for money and said they can pay you back in 20 years’ time. Anyone who tried to intervene, you didn’t allow it. The Majlis wanted to investigate and interrogate, you stopped it through lobbying efforts. Why did you stop the investigation of the parliament? Why did you stop the investigation of the city council? Mr. Ghalibaf, you have had the most banking violation cases in banks around you. It was you who created these credit institutions. Do you know at all in what conditions the Ghavanin Bank is today? Do you know at what price and to whom you surrendered the Sarmayeh Bank?” (Source: state-run TV, May 12, 2017)

The credit institutions affiliated with the IRGC were created and expanded in the early 2010s. These institutions were mostly headed by members of the IRGC who had no knowledge of banking affairs and gambled with and stole people’s investments. One of these institutions was Caspian, which declared a large deficit in 2017, wiping away billions of dollars’ worth of investor money. The credit institutions started absorbing investor money three years earlier with trumped-up promises of fast returns on investment. Many Iranians trusted those companies with their wealth and lifesavings. Jahangiri’s revealing was just the tip of the iceberg. As many of these institutions filed for bankruptcy, the creditors engaged in widespread protests that continue to this day. The regime has yet to return their investments.

A perfect crony of the supreme leader

Ghalibaf has time and again shown his utter loyalty to regime supreme leader Ali Khamenei

Ghalibaf has time and again shown his utter loyalty to regime supreme leader Ali Khamenei

Ghalibaf is quoted as saying: “The performance assessment of managers in the Islamic Republic is wrong. The assessment should be how much Ghalibaf has done in the municipality for people to pray and not how many bridges and highways he has constructed?”

What he means is that when Khamenei assigns officials, what he deems important how much loyalty they have to the power structure of the Supreme Leader. In a country where someone like Ghalibaf gets honored by the title, “Jihadi Manager,” and Ebrahim Raisi, the executioner of political prisoners, gets a medal of honor, we are reminded that gathering ruthless criminals in the highest levels of power is only to confront public outrage.

Khamenei knows that Iran’s social conditions is ripe for more massive protests, and the assignment of Ghalibaf is one of the several measures he’s taking to ensure his hold on power in the face of mounting social dissent. However, the reality is that neither history nor the explosive condition of Iranian society will accept any of these despicable solutions of Khamenei.

In her statement on the appointment of Ghalibaf as Parliament Speaker, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), described Ghalibaf as the murderer of the MEK members, and an accomplice to Ebrahim Raisi, the regime's Judiciary Chief and said “Ghalibaf is among primary officials involved in suppression and warmongering and engaged in theft and plunder within the clerical regime. Appointing him as the Head of the Legislature by Khamenei is a new step towards further contraction of the ruling system in the final phase of this regime.”

Mrs. Rajavi added that “the IRGC-dominated Parliament is the flipside of, and indispensable to, a Hezbollahi Government, for which Khamenei had called on May 17. Terrified of an uprising, Khamenei had long planned to purge the candidates from the rival factions and hold a sham and engineered election for such a parliament and government to be formed. Nevertheless, Ghalibaf’s appointment as the Parliament Speaker is no doubt a serious step towards working to end the regime.”