Evaluating the Political and Economic Role of the IRGC

Dr. M. Mahtab Alam Rizvi is Associate Fellow at Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi. Click here for detailed profile.
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  • July 2012

    The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) is Iran's most powerful security and military organisation, responsible for the protection and survival of the regime. Over time, the IRGC has attained a position of dominance vis-à-vis the regular army (Artesh). In due course, the Guards have also been transformed into a leading political and economic actor. The major political role of the IRGC started with the election of the reformist presidency. However, the Guards' involvement in the Iranian economy began during Rafsanjani's presidency. In view of the importance of Iran and its military, especially the IRGC, this article seeks to analyse the political and economic roles of the IRGC. The article argues that the IRGC's political and economic role is likely to increase due to its unique relationship with Iranian political elites and in view of the current power struggle between various political factions within Iran. However, any such expansion of the IRGC's role may not go unchallenged. The unintended consequence of this could be the erosion of the IRGC's credibility and people's trust.