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Pasdaran - Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)

The Pasdaran has grown into a leviathan that dominates both Iran's official and black economies. It is impossible to gauge its market share, but western estimates range from a third to nearly two-thirds of Iran's GDP – amounting to tens of billions of dollars. The mission of the army is to protect the borders and independence of the country; the mission of the Revolutionary Guard Corps is to protect the revolution and its achievements. Accordingly, the Revolutionary Guards Corps and the Armed forces are arranged differently, but the IRGC is also equipped with military units, both urban and rural; that is, in fact, in terms of ordering power for the diversity of members, all these are completely different. Sometimes a threat is a soft threat. Here the tools of skills of appropriate force demand that the Corps focus on the soft threat.

Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, holds ultimate authority over all security agencies. The Iranian system lacks transparency when it gets to relations between different security agencies. Iran's “deep state” is a semisecret network of security and intelligence officers and agents under the direct control of the Supreme Leader. The Pasdaran has permeated various agencies that are not formally part of the Guard Corps. Thus, the Air Defense Forces, nominally part of the Ministry of Defense, and the Border Guards, nominally part of the Law Enforcement Forces, and in fact led by and staffed by Pasdaran personnel.

The 125,000 strong Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC or Pasdaran) secures the revolutionary regime and provides training support to terrorist groups throughout the region and abroad. Both the regular military (the Artesh) and IRGC are subordinate to the Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL). This new ministry, established in 1989, was first headed by Akbar Torkan, a civilian and a former head of the defense industries establishment. MODAFL curtailed the institutional autonomy of the IRGC and brought it under the overall defense umbrella. The IRGC Ministry was scrapped, and its command structures were brought within the new MODAFL.

In late July 2008 reports originating with Iranian Resistance network said that the IRGC was in the process of dramatically changing its structure. In a shake-up, in September 2008 Iran's Revolutionary Guards (Pasdarans) established 31 divisions and an autonomous missile command. The reported new structure was largely decentralized, with the force broken into 31 provincal corps, possibly to reflect a far greater internal role, with one for each of Iran's 31 Provinces.

Considered the military vanguard of Iran, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC; aka Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps) is composed of five branches (Ground Forces, Air Force, Navy, Basij militia, and Qods Force special operations) in addition to a counterintelligence directorate and representatives of the Supreme Leader. It runs prisons, and has numerous economic interests involving defense production, construction, and the oil industry. Several of the IRGC’s leaders have been sanctioned under UN Security Council Resolution 1747.

The IRGC has been outspoken about its willingness to proliferate ballistic missiles capable of carrying WMD. The IRGC’s ballistic missile inventory includes missiles, which could be modified to deliver WMD. The IRGC is one of the primary regime organizations tied to developing and testing the Shahab-3. The IRGC has attempted to procure sophisticated and costly equipment that could be used to support Iran’s ballistic missile and nuclear programs.

The IRGC was formed following the Islamic Revolution of 1979 in an effort to consolidate several paramilitary forces into a single force loyal to the new regime and to function as a counter to the influence and power of the regular military, initially seen as a potential source of opposition and loyalty to the Shah. From the beginning of the new Islamic regime, the Pasdaran (Pasdaran-e Enghelab-e Islami) functioned as a corps of the faithful. The Constitution of the Islamic Republic entrusted the defense of Iran's territorial integrity and political independence to the military, while it gave the Pasdaran the responsibility of preserving the Revolution itself.

Days after Khomeini's return to Tehran, the Bazargan interim administration established the Pasdaran under a decree issued by Khomeini on 5 May 1979. The Pasdaran was intended to protect the Revolution and to assist the ruling clerics in the day-to-day enforcement of the new government's Islamic codes and morality. There were other, perhaps more important, reasons for establishing the Pasdaran. The Revolution needed to rely on a force of its own rather than borrowing the previous regime's tainted units. As one of the first revolutionary institutions, the Pasdaran helped legitimize the Revolution and gave the new regime an armed basis of support. Moreover, the establishment of the Pasdaran served notice to both the population and the regular armed forces that the Khomeini regime was quickly developing its own enforcement body. Thus, the Pasdaran, along with its political counterpart, Crusade for Reconstruction, brought a new order to Iran. In time, the Pasdaran would rival the police and the judiciary in terms of its functions. It would even challenge the performance of the regular armed forces on the battlefield.

By 1986, the Pasdaran consisted of 350,000 personnel organized in battalion-size units that operated either independently or with units of the regular armed forces. In 1986 the Pasdaran acquired small naval and air elements. By 1996 the ground and naval forces were reported to number 100,000 and 20,000, respectively.

Although the IRGC operated independently of the regular armed forces, it was often considered to be a military force in its own right due to its important role in Iranian defense. The IRGC consists of ground, naval, and aviation troops, which parallel the structure of the regular military. Unique to the Pasdaran, however, has been control of Iran's strategic missile and rocket forces.

Also contained under the umbrella of the more conventional Pasdaran, were the Basij Forces (Mobilization Resistance Force), a network of potentially up to a million active individuals who could be called upon in times of need. The Basij could be committed to assist in the defense of the country against internal or external threats, but by 2008 had also been deployed in mobilizing voters in elections and alleged tampering during such activities.

Another element was the Qods Force, a special forces element tasked with unconventional warfare roles and known to be involved providing assistance and training to various militant organizations around the world.

The IRGC has a growing presence in Iran's financial and commercial sectors and extensive economic interests in the defense production, construction, and oil industries, controlling billions of dollars of business. The profits from these activities are available to support the full range of the IRGC's illicit activities, including WMD proliferation and support for terrorism.

The IRGC continues to be a primary focus of U.S. and international sanctions against Iran because of the central role it plays in all forms of Iran’s illicit conduct, including Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missiles programs, its support for terrorism, and its involvement in serious human rights abuses. As Iran’s isolation has increased, the IRGC has expanded its reach into critical sectors of Iran’s economy, displacing ordinary Iranians, generating revenue for the IRGC and conducting business in support of Iran’s illicit activities.

The U.S. has acted against the IRGC and the IRGC-Qods Force for their involvement in proliferation and terrorism support activities, respectively. In joint actions on October 25, 2007, the State Department designated the IRGC, under E.O. 13382, for having engaged, or attempted to engage, in proliferation-related activities, and Treasury designated the IRGC­-Qods Force pursuant to E.O. 13224 for providing material support to the Taliban and other terrorist organizations. Treasury at that time also designated nine IRGC-affiliated entities, including Khatam al-Anbiya, and five IRGC-affiliated individuals as derivative designations of the IRGC.

Elements of the IRGC have also been designated for UN sanctions pursuant to UN Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs) 1737 and 1747. All UN Member States are required to freeze the assets of entities and individuals listed in the Annexes of those resolutions, or designated by the UNSCR 1737 Committee, as well as assets of entities owned or controlled by them or by persons or entities acting on their behalf or at their direction and to prevent funds or economic resources from being made available for their benefit. The European Union has also designated IRGC-affiliated companies, including Khatam al-Anbiya, for their support to Iranian ballistic missile and nuclear programs.

In June 2011 the US continued efforts to expose the IRGC’s expansive economic reach – this time, into Iran’s maritime and transportation sectors. Using nonproliferation authorities the US designated Tidewater Middle East Co. (Tidewater), an IRGC-owned port operating company that manages the main container terminal at Bandar Abbas and has operations at six other Iranian ports. The Bandar Abbas port handles approximately 90 percent of Iran’s containerized shipping traffic and has been used by Iran to export arms and related materiel in violation of several United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs).

With the death of Ayatollah Khomeini came the succession of Seyyed Ali Khamenei. He enjoyed neither his own charisma nor the power of leadership, and tried to build loyalty by relying on the Revolutionary Guards Corps. There were several proporals for the merger of the army and Guards Corps, including the Hashemi memos in 1988. There is always the possibility of the merger and dissolution of the army, but every time a tentative statement has been made in the media by the military commanders, this merger has been abandoned.

For many years, the government has been struggling with the mental disintegration and organized destruction of the Army without paying enough salaries and benefits to the military personnel on the one hand, and on the other hand, taking into account the tremendous benefits to the forces of the Revolutionary Guards.

Before that, the army was known as a powerful force and the main defense capability of the country and the Corps, in accordance with the constitutional principles, was armed with light weapons and organizations, but now this equation is reversed and the military budget, weapons and missiles have been placed in Revolutionary Guards.

Third, the government has disarmed the military in pursuit of its economic demands by imposing fully submissive commanders and infiltration of the elements of the troop in sensitive situations, and this has affected the extent that the current army commanders are severely disrupted by personnel, as they have become attracted to the criticism of the flattery and cowardice of these people.

Hassan Abbasi, the head of the Centre for Doctrinal Strategic Studies, a think-tank, was arrested 03 August 2016 on charges of “spreading lies” and “creating an atmosphere of skepticism about the armed forces.” Abbasi is known in Iran for his divisive speeches on subjects including economics, history, politics and cinema. In a video published on social media networks in Iran, Abbasi, who calls himself the “Kissinger of Islam,” criticized the army for inaction on social and political issues. He later appeared in a military court, and defended his remarks. They drew strong condemnation from the army and the powerful hard-line military group, the Revolutionary Guards.

The new era in 2019 was the era in which the Corps conquered a successful victory period in West Asia and was preparing itself for a new era of clearer contrast with the Americans and Zionists. The Islamic Republic's successes in the West Asia region, especially in important cases such as ISIL, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and even Yemen, and the shift in balance of power in favor of the Islamic Republic, required the creation of strategic literature both inside and outside the country, which these victories Complete the show.

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Page last modified: 18-07-2019 18:40:38 ZULU