Baqiyatollah Cultural and Social Headquarters

Supreme Leader Ali Chamenei

Interview with Afshin Sajedi, Legal Advisor at the International Organisation to Preserve Human Rights (IOPHR) about Baqiyatollah Cultural and Social Headquarters, Ali Jafari’s and Hossein Taeb’s relation to Mojtaba Khamenei, and the rigging of elections. What is Baqiyatollah Cultural and Social Headquarters, and who uses it for which actions?

Baqiyatollah Cultural Headquarters – spearhead of Khamenei’s Islamisation project

Afshin Sajedi: The Baqiyatollah Cultural Headquarters is a newly established institution that plays a central role in coordinating with other state entities, including the Ministry of Guidance, to implement community Islamisation projects in line with Khamenei’s religious views. The Baqiyatollah Headquarters oversees a network of cultural and media organisations, such as the „Oj“ art and media organisation and the „Seraj“ virtual space organisation, which propagate the ideology of the Islamic Republic.

As part of the IRGC’s „cultural and repression machine“ targeting the opposition, this headquarters produces a wide range of content, including movies and TV series. It also disseminates false information online, including on social networks, with the aim of eradicating secular and Western influences in Iranian society. Their online agents engage in producing false information, mocking opponents, and making provocative and baseless statements, commonly known as „trolling.“

This „cultural engineering“ is part of a broader effort to create a homogeneous Islamic society aligned with Khamenei’s religious views. In addition to cultural manipulation, the Baqiyatollah Cultural Headquarters is involved in complex election engineering activities. Using the „middle rings“ strategy, this headquarters mobilizes pro-regime groups to influence election outcomes through vote-buying, voter intimidation, and ballot tampering. This tightly controlled process ensures the selection of candidates loyal to the leader of the Islamic Republic, thereby maintaining the regime’s grip on power.

During elections, while more attention is given to the Guardian Council, Baqiyatollah’s camp acts as the „invisible arm“ of election manipulation.

Hossein Taeb and Ali Jafari How are Ali Jafari and Hossein Taeb related to Mojtaba Khamenei?

Afshin Sajedi: Hossein Taeb (or Taebzadeh), born in 1963, is an Iranian Shia cleric and politician, an adviser to the IRGC commander, and a former head of the IRGC Intelligence Organization. His older brother, Mehdi Taeb, is the commander of the Ammar camp.

Taeb joined the Revolutionary Guards in 1982. Between 2005 and 2007, he served as the cultural and social deputy of the Joint Staff of the IRGC. From 2007 to 2009, he worked as the deputy commander of the Basij resistance force, and from 2008 to 2009, he was the commander of the Basij resistance force.

As the commander of the Basij resistance force and deputy intelligence officer of the IRGC, Taeb played a significant role in suppressing the protests of 2008. On April 13, 2011, the European Union sanctioned him for his role in the widespread and severe violation of Iranian citizens‘ rights. On October 7, 2009, the United States Treasury Department also sanctioned him for serious human rights violations.
In 2020, he was appointed to the position of „Advisor to the Commander-in-Chief of the IRGC.“

Hossein Taeb has been in Mojtaba Khamenei’s orbit since his youth. Before the 2005 presidential election, he was known as Maisham Taeb. Initially, he worked with Mojtaba Khamenei to support Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf’s candidacy, but later shifted his support to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Hossein Taeb

In 2007, Mohammad Ali Jafari introduced Hossein Taeb as his successor as the then Commander-in-Chief of the IRGC and the Basij Resistance Force. Taeb also served as the deputy coordinator of the leadership house, the cultural deputy of the Joint Staff of the IRGC for over three years, and the commander of the cultural faculty of Imam Hossein University.

In 2008, he was appointed as the commander of the Basij resistance force. On October 5, 2009, with the formation of the IRGC Intelligence Organization, Hossein Taeb became its head by order of Ali Khamenei.

Taeb has also commanded IRGC intelligence protection and served as the deputy counter-espionage officer in the Ministry of Intelligence during Ali Fallahian’s tenure.

At the IRGC Intelligence Organization, Taeb has targeted many individuals, including Ali Fadavi. He also rehired employees of the Ministry of Intelligence who had been dismissed for their involvement in the indecent interrogations in the Saeed Emami affair and the serial murders, providing them housing near Ali Khamenei’s residence.

Hossein Taeb is a supporter of Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf in the corruption case involving the IRGC Cooperation Foundation. He is also the designer and implementer of the crackdown on Iran’s dervishes and the creation of a government-controlled Sufism, thus responsible for the coup d’état within the Nematollahi Gonabadi order.

Taeb is also responsible for the arrest and torture of environmental activists. These activists were accused of espionage for Western countries by the IRGC Intelligence Organization, although the Ministry of Intelligence, as the only official body for the country’s security issues, rejected these accusations and considered the environmental activists innocent.

Mohammad Ali Jafari and Ghassem Soleimani united in happy times

Mohammad Ali Jafari, born in 1957, is a major general in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and currently serves as the commander of the cultural and social base of the IRGC. He was the commander of the IRGC from 2007 to 2009.

Jafari holds a bachelor’s degree in architectural engineering from Tehran University and a master’s degree in command from Imam Hossein University. In 1979, he was one of the students who occupied the American embassy in Tehran.

During the Iran-Iraq war, he was a middle-ranking commander in the IRGC. From 1990 to 1993, he served as the deputy commander of the IRGC Ground Forces, and from 1992 to 2005, he was the IRGC Ground Force Commander for 13 years. From 2005 to 2007, he headed the Strategic Center of the Revolutionary Guards.
In 2010, the United States Treasury Department sanctioned Jafari for human rights violations. In April 2011, he was banned from entering European Union countries, and all his assets within the EU were seized.

In 2019, Jafari was dismissed by Khamenei from the General Command of the IRGC and transferred to the Baqiyatollah cultural and social Headquarters.
Currently, both are active in the Baqiyatollah cultural camp, working to shape public opinion in favor of Mojtaba’s succession through cultural activities, hybrid warfare, and false campaigns.

Rigging elections How did they contribute to the rigging of elections?

Afshin Sajedi: In my opinion, Western governments, as they have stated many times, do not support regime change in Iran for various reasons. Therefore, their efforts are focused on changing the behavior of the current regime rather than replacing it. Unlike the people of Iran, who are disillusioned with the current system and have abandoned the regime, Western governments aim to create a balance between the reformist and fundamentalist factions.

Their analysis suggests that the destabilizing behavior of Iran’s ruling regime is driven by the fundamentalist faction, and that if the reformists are in office, they will concentrate on running the country. According to this view, reformists have a clear plan for governance, and relations with the West typically improve slightly during their tenure.

It is undeniable that there is intense competition between reformists and fundamentalists to reach an agreement with the West. Fundamentalists seek to gain leverage on the ground, leading to speculation that reformists have promised, in secret negotiations with Western governments, that they will limit the concentration of power in fundamentalist hands. They argue that concentrating all political and military power with fundamentalists endangers global security. Based on this, there is an effort to grant the presidency and government control to the reformists.

Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf

Given that the Guardian Council confirmed the qualification of a reformist candidate, and knowing that the Guardian Council fully follows Khamenei’s directives, we can conclude that Khamenei, while endorsing other candidates such as Baqer Qalibaf, also permits the reformist candidate to participate in the presidential election and even advance to the next round.

They are jointly manipulating the elections with the ultimate goal of deceiving the people. Rather than adhering to the ideals of the Iranian people, the reformists obey Khamenei’s orders. Their ultimate goal is to extend the life of the regime at any cost. Unfortunately, they also have the support of Western governments in this unfair game., 06.2024


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