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Former Revolutionary Guard turned Iranian dissident speaks to IWP class

Mohson Sazagara 444x718On April 15, Mohson Sazagara, former Islamic Republic official and one of the original team of commanders of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps spoke to IWP students in Prof. Joshua Muravchik’s class on the subject of “How Iran promotes the Islamic revolution abroad.”

In his lecture, Mr. Sazagara spoke to his unique experience as one of the youngest members of top leadership during the Iranian revolution of 1979. Following the revolution, Mr. Sazagara served in several high positions in the government of the Islamic Republic. Eventually, he grew disillusioned with the regime of the Ayatollah and became a leading dissident.

On the topic of the original intentions of the revolutionaries, Mr. Sazagara pointed to the stated goals of the Ayatollah, as well as various elements and ideologies that he believes were injected into the revolution to prevent widespread criticism of the regime. For example, despite all candidates for office having to be confirmed by a “Council of Guardians,” Iran purports an ideology of “democracy” by way of its Presidential and Parliamentary “elections.”

In discussing the foreign policy of the Islamic Republic, Mr. Sazagara cited three primary considerations. First, an Anti-US component; second, an Anti-Israel/Pro-Palestinian trend; and third, a growing disparity within Iran between Pro-West and Pro-Russian diplomatic efforts.

When asked his opinion of the United States’ current dealings with his home country, Mr. Sazagara noted that it is not ideal.  The former official turned dissident noted that under the leadership of the current US administration, radio broadcasts by Voice of America have adopted a tone that most Iranians regard as pro-regime.