The actions and stance of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in Iraq and the rest of the region are fueling a rising tide of internal disagreements in Iran, political analysts told Diyaruna.
Leaders of Iran's reformist movement and hardliners alike are said to be disturbed by the way the IRGC's leadership has been handling foreign affairs, saying this exposes their country to further isolation and economic crises.
Iran's Supreme National Security Council this month failed to hold two extraordinary sessions as a result of sharp differences between the government of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, of the reformist movement, and the fundamentalist-led IRGC.
Government representatives at the council reportedly accused the IRGC's Quds Force, which is led by Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, of stoking resentment in Iraq towards Iran because of its support for certain Iraqi militias.
According to media reports, some Iranian parties have been critical of recent threats made by Iranian ambassador to Iraq Iraj Masjidi.
In a September 26th interview with Iraq's Dijlah TV, Masjidi said that if Iran is attacked by the US, Iran will bomb US forces anywhere they are present, including Iraq.
Some Iranians described these statements as irresponsible, noting that they serve only to stoke Iraqi anger about Iranian intervention in Iraqi affairs.
Iranian politicians also have expressed mistrust in field reports Soleimani sends to senior officials, which they describe as "misleading" and based upon "a wrong strategy".
'Moderate voices becoming louder'
Writer and researcher Ziyad al-Sinjari told Diyaruna that "Iran is a large country that surely has leaders who strongly resent the aggressive behaviour of the IRGC and its Quds Force in Iraq and other neighbouring countries".
He pointed to divisions between Iranian reformists and hardliners on the foreign policy the IRGC is pursuing and its role in stirring regional unrest and undermining the sovereignty of other countries and governments.
"Differences are no longer hidden behind closed doors, but are now in the open and on the rise as tension in the region increases on the back of recent attacks," al-Sinjari said.
Observers, including al-Sinjari, are of the opinion that moderate Iranian voices are becoming louder, demanding an end to policies they say "have dragged Iran backwards and have only resulted in more aggression".
They point to public resentment in the region towards the IRGC's activities.
The IRGC is supplying affiliated militias with weapons and money, with the objective of strengthening their influence and weakening countries in the region, undermining their authority and spreading chaos and corruption, he said.
"The IRGC leadership is tampering with the security and resources of countries instead of focusing on the tragic economic conditions of the Iranian people," he added.
IRGC's actions have made life harder
Strategic and military analyst Rabie al-Jawary told Diyaruna "the implosion of the Iranian regime is near".
"There are political sides and large segments of the population in Iran that are opposed to the practices of the IRGC and consider it to be responsible for their economic downturn," he said.
For the Iranian people, the IRGC's actions have resulted in "more poverty, unemployment and the devaluation of their currency", he added.
"The Iranian people also are angered by the IRGC's influence in their own country, and its hijacking of the official decision-making process and its control of power," al-Jawary said.
This is "in addition to taking advantage of the national resources of Iranians to fuel its hostile activities and fund its foreign agents", he added.
According to al-Jawary, many Iranians want to do away with the Wilayat al-Faqih doctrine (Guardian of the Jurist), which calls for allegiance to Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
The continuation of the demonstrations in Iran for months, in spite of suppression by the IRGC, is evidence of this demand, he said, because "Iranians are aware that they need radical change throughout their country".
The Iranian government has little support within Iran and abroad, he said.
Countries in the region and their people consider the Iranian regime to be a major source of unrest and trouble and a hostile force that is at odds even with itself and only serves the interests of a small ruling faction in Iran, he noted.