Iran's Revolutionary Guards: Ideological But Not Praetorian

Mahan Abedin is Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi. Click here for details profile
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  • May 2011

    The role of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has come under an increasing spotlight in recent years. This scrutiny has intensified in the wake of the controversial June 2009 presidential elections and the unrest which followed. Western governments, in tandem with the more radical sections of the Iranian opposition, appear keen to construct a narrative wherein the IRGC steadily displaces the ruling clergy as Iran's political masters. Fears of a growing political role for the IRGC – let alone a full-blown military takeover – are overstated. More than 30 years after its founding the IRGC remains foremost an ideological military organisation. However, irrespective of the political situation in Tehran, the Revolutionary Guards' strategic profile in the region is set to increase as Iran continues to extend its geopolitical weight and influence.