Audio recording reveals details of President of Iran, IRGC
A hardline cleric in Iran said the parliament speaker had visited Turkey in the past to help the Quds (Quds) Force, an audio received by Iran International broadcasts.
The non-public conversation took place over the past two weeks after a scandal broke over the speaker’s family, Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, traveling to Turkey for luxury shopping, but the exact date n is not known.
The influential hardliner is cleric Mehdi Ta’eb, brother of Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) intelligence organization head Hossein Ta’eb. He oversees a propaganda team promoting the cult of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
In the recording, Ta’eb speaks with an anonymous journalist who asks him why Ghalibaf has visited Turkey several times. First, Ta’eb denies it, but when the reporter says he once accompanied him, the cleric says Ghalibaf was assisting the Quds Force and its former commander Qasem Soleimani, who was killed in January 2020 by a US airstrike in Baghdad, Iraq.
It is well known that Soleimani was close to the former mayor of Tehran and the current speaker of parliament over the years, and both had Khamenei’s backing, but this is the first claim that he was helping Soleimani carry out Quds affairs.
Ta’eb also confirmed reports in Iranian media and social media that the revelation of the Ghalibaf family’s scandalous trip to Turkey amid growing poverty in Iran was leaked by circles close to President Ebrahim Raisi. He said that Raisi’s son-in-law’s brother had organized the escape.
Qasem Soleimani (L) and Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf. Undated
Videos emerged in April showing Ghalibaf’s wife and daughter returning from a shopping trip to Istanbul, allegedly with more than 20 pieces of luggage. The revelation coincided with rising prices that are further impoverishing millions of Iranians and caused a political shock. Many have called for his resignation of the post of Speaker of Parliament.
The scandal escalated when a whistleblower claimed that during the trip, Ghalibaf’s wife had bought two apartments in Istanbul for $1.6 million.
A few days after the scandal broke, some Ghalibaf supporters claimed that an “intelligence organization”, presumably the intelligence ministry controlled by Raisi, was behind the tracking of the Ghalibaf family during the trip and the publication of videos and images.
Ta’eb in the recording says it is uncertain whether the intelligence ministry was involved in uncovering the Ghalibaf scandal. He also said the family first traveled to Syria and from there to Turkey.
Ta’eb also defends Ghalibaf, saying supporters of former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the ultra-conservative Paydari Front, religious elements calling themselves ‘seekers of justice’ and Iran’s ‘reformists’ have joined forces to prevent him from to be re-elected as President at midday. May.
However, Ta’eb says Khamenei had sent a handwritten note to some extremists last year saying Ghalibaf should be speaker of parliament.
The cleric also mentions Turkey in the recording and claims that Ankara is cooperating with Iran to circumvent US sanctions. He claims that despite Turkish declarations to act forcefully in Syria, but when Iran wants it, Ankara withdraws to Idlib in Syria, where the Turkish-backed rebels have their last refuge.
Ta’eb also says that Turkey depends on oil imports and “in case of war, Iran can hit Turkish ports with [ballistic] missiles and it will have no fuel for its tanks.