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    Explained: The Role and Influence of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards


    Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards, also known as the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), have been at the forefront of Iran’s military and political landscape since their establishment shortly after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Here is an overview of their significance and operations:

    The IRGC was formed to safeguard Iran’s Shi’ite Muslim clerical ruling system following the revolution and to provide a counterbalance to the regular armed forces. It operates under the authority of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and has evolved into a dominant military force with its own army, navy, air force, and intelligence wing.

    With an estimated 125,000-strong military, the IRGC commands significant resources and capabilities. It oversees Iran’s ballistic missile program, considered the largest in the Middle East, and has used these missiles in various conflicts, including strikes against Sunni Muslim militants in Syria and opposition groups in Iraq.

    The IRGC’s overseas arm, the Quds Force, plays a crucial role in influencing allied militias across the Middle East, from Lebanon’s Hezbollah to groups in Iraq, Yemen, and Syria. Its activities include support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime and backing Iraqi security forces against militant threats.

    Former IRGC officers hold key positions in Iran’s political establishment, including within President Ebrahim Raisi’s cabinet. The IRGC’s mandate to protect revolutionary values extends to speaking out against perceived threats to the system.

    Beyond its military and political roles, the IRGC has expanded into economic ventures, managing a vast network of businesses ranging from construction to telecommunications and oil projects, worth billions of dollars.

    Designated as a terrorist group by the United States, the IRGC has faced international scrutiny and accusations, including involvement in regional conflicts and missile attacks. Former U.S. President Donald Trump cited Iran’s missile program as a reason for withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear deal.

    Despite controversies and international tensions, the IRGC remains a formidable force within Iran, shaping its military strategy, political landscape, and economic interests.

    This overview provides insights into the IRGC’s multifaceted role, from military operations to political influence and economic endeavors, reflecting its significant impact on Iran’s domestic and international affairs.

    Sources By Agencies

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