It was reported that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani decided to cut back on the budget appropriated to the Revolutionary Guards’ elite Quds Forces. The decision to reduce the budget covers the forces’ missile manufacturing activities, as well.
The move was also confirmed by an official from Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s office. According to the source, the cut in missile manufacturing would be around half of the budget. The cut also caused reactions within the IRGC commanders. Quds Force’s commanders, Major General Hossein Salami and Major General Esmail Qaani, issued their complaints to Supreme Leader Khamenei.
Major General Salami accused the Rouhani government of taking measures to diminish the IRGC’s military presence outside the country and to prevent the IRGC from purchasing necessary equipment and raw material for producing ballistic missiles. In his thought, the main reason behind these moves of Rouhani is the ongoing back-channel diplomatic negotiations with Washington that have being carried simultaneously with the nuclear talks ongoing in Vienna. Salami described these attempts as “a behind-the-scenes agreement with Washington and the Europeans to limit Iran’s field of influence and missile capabilities.”
A report submitted by Major General Qaani, on the other hand, reported that Rouhani’s government suspended the transfer of $3 billion from the Quds Forces cash budget, which is used for salary payment of Iran-affiliated forces in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Yemen, on the ground of purchasing COVID-19 vaccines. The source said complaints of Major General Salami mostly based on this report.
The source also added that Salami asked Khamenei to provide the amount that Quds Forces need to pay the salaries of its fighters from his own cash budget. Salami also requested from Supreme Leader to urge the government to stop its “hostile” attempts against the IRGC, the source noted.