March 11 – A former leading commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps called Russia’s President Vladimir Putin a “dictator” this week, and said his invasion of Ukraine was a “disgrace.”

Hossein Alaei made the comments in an online article published by Iran’s Jamaran news agency, which is read by reformists and managed by Hassan Khomeini who has also been critical of the country’s clerical rule.

The comments are likely to cause tensions inside Iran’s establishment as Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the regime’s senior officials have expressed support for Putin’s attack on Ukraine.

Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, the chairman of Iran’s Assembly of Experts said, “It would be a miracle if we can fill the people’s bellies,” as poverty levels inside the country continued to rise.

Jannati, who has been sanctioned by the US government for preventing free and fair elections in Iran, reiterated President Ibrahim Raisi’s request to the regime to lift the country out of poverty before the New Year in less than 10 days’ time.

Poverty in Iran has soared since 2020, with experts suggesting that one-third of the population now lives under the poverty line while some analysts say the figure is closer to 50 percent. Economic mismanagement, US sanctions and rising prices have all been linked to the poverty crisis.

And two members of Iran’s Quds Force have allegedly been plotting to assassinate former US National Security Advisor John Bolton, according to a US Justice Department official who shared details of the claim with newspaper the Washington Examiner.

Speaking to the Examiner, the source said the Justice Department had evidence of the plot but efforts to indict the Iranian officials had been stalled by US President Joe Biden over concerns that the legal action could derail a nuclear deal agreement.

However another Justice Department official told the newspaper the claim that the US president had pushed back any indictment was “categorically false.”

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