DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Iran's defense minister says the supreme leader has ordered the Revolutionary Guard to loosen its hold on the economy.
The comments this weekend by Defense Minister Gen. Amir Hatami appear to be a trial balloon to test the reaction of the idea, long pushed by Iran's relative moderate President Hassan Rouhani. It also comes after protests over the country's poor economy escalated into demonstrations directly challenging the government.
But whether the Guard itself would agree remains another question entirely, as the organization is estimated to control around a third of the entire economy.
Hatami made the remarks in an interview published Saturday by the state-run IRAN newspaper. The Guard did not immediately acknowledge the supreme leader's orders in their own publications, nor did Khamenei's office.