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Desired Traits Of A Nameless Soldier Of The Hidden Imam

"The nameless soldiers of the Hidden Imam are under cover and do not have identity cards." (file photo)
"The nameless soldiers of the Hidden Imam are under cover and do not have identity cards." (file photo)

What makes a good intelligence agent in the eyes of the Islamic republic?

Complete obedience to the supreme leader is crucial, along with moral behavior, dedication, courage, sincerity, honesty, and devotion.

This according to Iran's Intelligence Ministry, which listed the traits it requires of agents in a magazine issued to mark its 30th anniversary.

The lengthy publication, titled "30 years of Silent Endeavor," was reportedly distributed with a major daily last week.

The ministry draws on various sources to make its case for devotion to the supreme leader, including Koranic verses such as: "Oh you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you."

The ministry says the supreme leader needs others to follow his commands because of "the extraordinary sensitivity" of his mission.

The Prophet Muhammad’s intelligence forces would follow his commands fully and precisely while on missions, the ministry argues, emphasizing that the Prophet's intelligence agents would never take a step that would violate his orders.

More references to the Koran and sayings by the Prophet Muhammad and Shi'a's first imam follow.

Imam Ali had instructed one of his commanders to choose intelligence agents from among brave people because, according to a saying cited by Iran's Intelligence Ministry, cowards would not provide accurate reports to their commanders.

Intelligence agents also need to be virtuous and pious to enable them to complete their missions and reports, banish personal passions and spite, and work for the satisfaction of God, the ministry advises.

The list of necessary traits for intelligence agents also includes the need to learn the languages of "the enemy" and be able to read and write in those languages.

Again there's a reference to the Prophet Muhammad.

"The Prophet of Islam committed his intelligence agents to learn the language of the enemy based on the type and location of their missions," writes the ministry, adding that intelligence agents also need to become familiar with the use of coded language.

The ministry adds that intelligence agents in charge of the security of an Islamic society should come from an Islamic background and advises citizens to be wary of anyone who claims to be working for Iranian intelligence.

"The nameless soldiers of the Hidden Imam," it says, are under cover and do not have identity cards.

"Anyone who introduces himself as an employee of the Intelligence Ministry and aims at abuse is definitely a crook."

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    Golnaz Esfandiari

    Golnaz Esfandiari is managing editor of RFE/RL's Radio Farda, which breaks through government censorship to deliver accurate news and provide a platform for informed discussion and debate to audiences in Iran. She has reported from Afghanistan and Haiti and is one of the authors of The Farda Briefing newsletter. Her work has been cited by The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other major publications. Born and raised in Tehran, she is fluent in Persian, French, English, and Czech.

About This Blog

Persian Letters is a blog that offers a window into Iranian politics and society. Written primarily by Golnaz Esfandiari, Persian Letters brings you under-reported stories, insight and analysis, as well as guest Iranian bloggers -- from clerics, anarchists, feminists, Basij members, to bus drivers.


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