Al-Jazeera Net correspondents
Tehran- After about a year of repeated rumors about the resignation of the Secretary of the Iranian Supreme National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani, from his post, which was hastily denied by the Noor News Agency, which is close to the General Secretariat of the Council, this time the agency confirmed the news of the resignation.
Yesterday evening, Sunday, Shamkhani published a verse of poetry by the Iranian poet Kamal al-Din Ali Mohtasham al-Kashani (the tenth century AH) on Twitter, in which he said that “the words that were said from behind a veil … were spoken symbolically … and in the end he heard the gestures, so he left.” Iranian observers interpreted it as an indication of Shamkhani’s intention to leave the institution in which he spent 10 years.
Within hours of Shamkhani’s resignation, Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi issued a decree appointing General Ali Akbar Ahmadian, who was heading the strategic center of the Revolutionary Guards, as a new secretary of the Iranian Supreme National Security Council.
Today, the Iranian president is appointing Ali Akbar Ahmadian after the resignation of Ali Shamkhani.
– Ali Ahmadian, was a member of the Expediency Discernment Council, and this council is considered one of the governing bodies in Iran.
– Ali Shamkhani resigned from his position due to the involvement of one of his close associates in espionage for Britain, and Shamkhani is known as the architect of relations … pic.twitter.com/eQwjRZjY8w
– Azzam Al-Shaddadi (@AzamShdadi) May 22, 2023
Shamkhani, born in 1955 in the city of Ahwaz, southwestern Iran, descends from Arab origins to a family affiliated with the Shamakhneh clan of the Bani Rabia tribe. He contributed to the establishment of the Revolutionary Guard in Khuzestan Province, and became a minister of the military in the government of Mir Hussein Mousavi (1989-1988), then a minister of portfolio. Defense during the two eras of President Mohammad Khatami (1997-2005).
Despite his close work with reformist and moderate governments, he is known for his loyalty to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, as the latter appointed him as a member of the Strategic Council for Foreign Relations and head of the Strategic Center for the Iranian Armed Forces under President Ahmadinejad, then appointed Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council in 2013 at the beginning of his presidency. Hassan Rouhani, and he remained in office for 10 years.
And he held many military positions before assuming political tasks of a military and security nature that paved the way for him to run in the presidential elections in 2001, so he finished third among 10 candidates who ran in the elections that led to the victory of Muhammad Khatami for the second time.
Iranian news agencies are talking about the appointment of Ali Akbar Ahmadian, director of the Guard’s Strategic Center #Islamic _ Revolution In succession to Admiral Ali #shamkhani Secretary of the Iranian Supreme National Security Council.
Positions held by Ahmadian 👇🏼 pic.twitter.com/i04n6t4HgA
— Mortada Rawas || Mortada Rawas (@mortada_rawas) May 22, 2023
Reasons and motives
Observers in Iran believe that Shamkhani’s resignation was expected due to the successive attacks that targeted him over the past two years, but the file of Ali Reza Akbari, who was executed last January on charges of spying for British intelligence, enabled Shamkhani’s opponents to overthrow him.
Meanwhile, the prominent reformist activist, Muhammad Ali Abtahi, head of the office of former Iranian President Muhammad Khatami, drew attention to the attempts of conservative hawks to overthrow Shamkhani during the recent period, explaining that Shamkhani did not agree with the conservatives’ approach at the levels of domestic and foreign policy.
Speaking to Al-Jazeera Net, Abtahi indicated that the conservative movement’s desire to homogenize all power joints and make them of one political color is one of the reasons for Shamkhani’s removal from decision-making centers in the country, stressing that the country’s policy will not move towards openness after the expulsion of personalities who believe in another opinion.
He concluded that Shamkhani never approached the extremist current and the political hawks in the Islamic Republic, which makes his overthrow a legitimate goal for them, and this has already been achieved, adding that despite rumors of the spy Ali Reza Akbari’s association with Shamkhani and his closeness to him during his tenure as the Ministry of Defense, the latter is Who managed to lure the convict from Britain to Tehran.
On the road to Larijani
Shamkhani’s resignation reminds Iranian public opinion of the resignation of his predecessor, Ali Larijani, from his post, as he quickly ran in the parliamentary elections and headed the legislative authority for 3 consecutive terms (2008-2020).
In the context, political researcher Amir Reza Nazari compared the resignation of both Larijani and Shamkhani, and wrote in his tweet on Twitter that the Iranian authorities may want to repeat the previous scenario and open room for critics of President Ibrahim Raisi in parliament, following the deadlock the country has reached at the current stage.
Regarding his active presence in the political arena, political researcher Hassan Hanizadeh says that a segment of the conservative movement resented the role played by Shamkhani in ending the political rift between Tehran and Riyadh and the Iranian-Arab rapprochement, which led to increased pressure on Raisi to remove him from office.
Speaking to Al-Jazeera Net, Zadeh believes that Raisi was not satisfied with Shamkhani’s dismissal, but he bowed before the storm of pressure that was exerted on him, explaining that a segment of conservatives feared that the Iranian-Arab rapprochement would be calculated in the name of Shamkhani and the reformist movement, so it accepted a figure close to the hard-line movement as Secretary-General of the Council. Supreme National Security of Iran.
The Iranian researcher concluded, “Shamkhani’s dismissal came after repeated accusations of his relatives’ involvement in the rampant corruption in the country, and that these accusations were never proven, and the man denied that his family members engaged in economic activities that contradict national laws.”
Shamkhani, who is known as the architect of Iranian-Arab relations, represented his country in the Beijing negotiations that culminated in an agreement between Tehran and Riyadh last March to restore relations. He then made two visits to Abu Dhabi and Baghdad to sign agreements with UAE and Iraqi officials.