Iran's New Revolutionary Guards Regime: Anti-Americanism, Oil, and Rising International Tension

(Institute for Contemporary Affairs/Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs) Mordechai Abir - * Since becoming Iran's president in August, Mahmud Ahmadinejad, who served in the ranks of the Revolutionary Guards during the 1980-1988 war with Iraq, has appointed fellow Revolutionary Guards members to the most key positions in his cabinet and administration, including his foreign and defense ministers. * The "revolutionary factions" have in recent months conducted a major purge of the military, security apparatus, civil service, state-owned corporations, and media. Iran's armed forces are now controlled by senior commanders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards. * Within the Revolutionary Guards, there is an elite "Qods (Jerusalem) Force" responsible for military operations (including terrorism) beyond the boundaries of Iran. Ahmadinejad was a senior commander in the Qods Force. According to Al Sharq Al-Awsat, elements of the Qods Force have led operations against coalition forces in Iraq; other sources even contend that the Qods Force provided logistical support to the Zarqawi network in the past. * Iran's oil production, which in the days of the Shah reached 6 million bpd, has declined to about 3.9 million bpd. Crude exports have fallen by 22 percent since May to 2.13 million bpd in September. Yet the windfall Iran has enjoyed from the sale of its oil has turned the country's budget deficit into a surplus, enabling Iran to adopt a harder-line position concerning its nuclear projects and its relations with the West. * Ahmadinejad used the substantial windfall from the sale of Iran's oil to accelerate and expand the 2005-2006 five-year program for defense spending. While he did not initiate the plan to double the military budget in five years, he greatly expedited it so that it will be completed well before the 2010 target.

2005-11-15 00:00:00

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