Skip to comments.The grip of Iran's Revolutionary Guards
Posted on 08/29/2009 6:52:37 PM PDT by nuconvert
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's list of cabinet nominees reveals a determination to fill the top positions in Iran's government from a coterie of loyal men, plus three women, many of whom are strongly linked to the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC). Under Ahmadinejad's previous administration there was a distinct militarisation of politics: many ministers, as well as ambassadors, mayors, provincial governors and senior bureaucrats, were drawn from the guards. Ahmadinejad himself is widely associated with the IRGC, but in an interview his adviser insisted that the president had never been a member and was present only "when necessary" (although when pressed the adviser noted that Ahmadinejad's role included "logistical support" and "war engineering" during the Iran-Iraq war).
Whatever Ahmadinejad's exact link with the Revolutionary Guards it is clear that they are playing an increasingly significant role in Iranian politics. The IRGC's entry into politics dates from long before Ahmadinejad's ascendancy. Back in 1997 several of their leaders openly endorsed the conservative presidential candidate Ali Akbar Nateq-Nouri. Although the reformist Mohammad Khatami won that election, he soon faced strong opposition from the guards. Their commander, General Rahim Safavi stated in April 1998 that some reformers were munāfiqs (a particularly highly-charged term for a hypocrite) and said that those threatening the Islamic republic should be beheaded. Although Ayatollah Khomeini asked in his will that the military keep out of politics, by May of 1998 Safavi warned that the IRGC were not apolitical and that they would respect one authority above all, the supreme leader. This alliance between a new wave of conservative politics and the IRGC is well detailed in Anoush Ehteshami and Mahjoub Zweiri's book, Iran and the Rise of Its Neoconservatives, which carries the prescient subtitle "the politics of Tehran's silent revolution".
(Excerpt) Read more at guardian.co.uk ...