Fear and Loathing in the Revolutionary Guards

In an act of open insubordination, during the March 10th demonstrations in Tehran, seven members of the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) security forces refused to shoot at protesters on the streets. Arrested and jailed in Tehran’s infamous Evin prison for interrogation, they are still being interrogated as the Iranian regime’s authorities debate how to deal with them.

During the interrogations the regime’s intelligence sources have repeatedly warned the seven -- identities still unknown -- that they must reveal the names of the "leaders" of the organization(s) they are taking orders from, as well as disclose the names of any other member of the IRGC and Basij forces working undercover.

To that end, the commanders of the Basij have joined the interrogators and are absolutely determined to make the connection between the insubordinate guards and the authors of a recent letter written to Mohammad-Ali Jafari, the chief commander of the Revolutionary Guards. The open letter, published at various sites, was penned by a number of top-ranking but anonymous members of the IRGC. In it, they announce their defiance of their orders and their refusal to treat protesters with violence.

The accused reject all knowledge of such a letter.

The commanders of the IRGC are said to be debating the proper form of disciplinary action. Where a few have suggested that firing them would be just punishment, the majority are reluctant to consider letting it go at that, certain that any and all those who refuse to follow orders must be severely punished.

But execution does not seem to be an effective deterrent. Back in August 2010, a number of the IRGC members who were arrested and detained for insubordination were drugged and then buried alive. But, of course, the news didn’t stay under wraps for very long. Soon enough, it was widely reported by blogs and human rights organizations.