The Iran Student Correspondents Association, a pro-government website, on 23/04/1387 [July 14, 2008] published a statement by the Revolutionary Guards’ public relations committee, who had just become the Commander in Chief of the Basij. He had been born in 1342 (1963/4). After his middle education, he became a seminary student. After studying in Tehran, Mashhad, and Qom, he reached a high degree (kharej) in Islamic jurisprudence. He had studied with, among others, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. He joined the Revolutionary Guards in 1361 (1982/3). He began his work in Region 10 of Tehran and continued on to Qom and Mashhad. He was for some time the Revolutionary Guards’ coordinator with the Leader as well as the cultural commander of Imam Hosein College. He lost a brother in the Kerbala V operation and is married with three children.
The liberal website Fararu carried an article, “Who Is the Hasan [sic] Taeb?”1 said that he joined the Revolutionary Guards when it was involved in an all-out campaign to crush groups allied with the People’s Mojahedin and interrogate their captured members. He was eventually promoted to an aide to the counter-intelligence wing of the Ministry of Intelligence while Hashemi-Rafsanjani was president and Ali Falahian was the Minister of Intelligence. He was ordered to assemble a file against one of Rafsanjani’s sons, presumably by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who was a bitter rival, and he was then discovered and expelled from the ministry. He then suffered a heart attack at a young age. He was soon given a position of coordinator between the Revolutionary Guards and the office of the Leader, i.e, Khamenei.
His promotion was based on his experience with an increasing emphasis on the cultural and ideological side of the Basij’s work. The report adds that he is considered unstable, inexperienced, ignorant, and unaware of the country’s true political situation, in short, generally incompetent.
Indeed, in an open letter published on 19 Mordad (August 10), Ali Motahhari, the son of the popular late Ayatollah Morteza Motahhari, blamed the violence which erupted after the elections on Taeb’s handling of the peaceful protests over the votes. He pointed out that when Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf was the head of the security forces in Tehran and student protests arose, no one suffered so much as a bloody nose despite five days and nights of massive and turbulent demonstrations.
Taeb is believed by observers to be part of a purge of the all-important Ministry of Intelligence which began with the expulsion of cabinet ministers such as Intelligence Minister chief Gholam-Hosein Ejei, who, like many conservatives refused to go along with Ahmadinejad’s appointment of his in-law Esfandiar Rahim Mashai because of his soft attitude towards the Israeli state. According to an article dated 5 Mordad (July 27) posted on the opposition Mizan Press, “It has been heard in the course of … the resignation of [Gholam-Hosein] Ejei that all the security officials are in the hands of Ahmad Salek , the former representative of the Leader in protecting the Revolutionary Guard’s intelligence, and Hosein Taef, the former commander of protecting the Revolutionary Guard’s intelligence.” (Hojjatoleslam Salek is Khamenei’s representative in the Revolutionary Guards’ Qods Force, among other things.) In the meantime, two aides to the Intelligence Ministry and several experts up through the level of General Manager either resigned or were forced to retire, with some twenty senior managers leaving the ministry. Rumors cited in this article have it that the resignations were over the conspiracy theories about a Velvet Coup. (This seems highly unlikely.) In addition, it was felt, according to these rumors, that the Revolutionary Guards were interfering in the Ministry’s internal affairs and was setting up a parallel intelligence service to undermine it. It was also said that five aides to this ministry warned that the appointment of Taeb and Mashai would destroy the ministry.
An article posted on Rah-e Sabz confirmed much of this, quoting the lawyer Hasan Yunesi (son of former Intelligence Minister Hojjatoleslam Ali Yunesi) to “an unprecedented purge of the Ministry of Intelligence.” Mizan Press notes that among those purged were prominent allies of Hashemi-Rafsanjani, and sees this purge at undermining the power of Ahmadinejad’s most powerful enemy among the clergy.
This is not the place to discuss how this analysis has played out. Here is an article in English from Rooz Online. Here is a very interesting article by Borzou Daragahi on precisely this subject. One aspect of this purge is the rise of loyalty over competence. This is explained here and here article by Mehdi Khalaji.
It remains to say that Taeb has become associated with the government’s arbitrary arrests and brutal treatment of detainees. Human Rights Watch, for example, has pointed to his position of responsibility as leadership of the Basij paramilitary in this regard. Recall that it was he who was singled out by Ali Motahhari, in the above-mentioned letter, for being responsible for the violence in Tehran.
Tags: Ahmad Salek, Ali Fallahian, Ali Khamenehi, Ali Khamenei, Basij, Borzou Daraghahi, Esfandiar Rahim Mashai, Iran, Mehdi Karroubi, Mehdi Karubi, Mehdi Khalaji, Mohammad baqer Qalibaf, Qods Force, Qolam-Hosein Ejei, Rafsanjani, Revolutionary Guards, Taeb, Velvet Coup