The Revolutionary Guards: Pillar of the Iranian Regime

(Der Spiegel-Germany) During the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, two organizations established their reputation as the pillars of the Iranian regime, organizations that even today would be willing to make great sacrifices in defending Iran against attacks: the voluntary militia of the Basij and the units of the Pasdaran, the Revolutionary Guards. In 2009, during the so-called Green Revolution, Basij and Pasdaran troops brutally attacked the Iranians who took to the streets to protest Ahmadinejad's manipulated reelection. While the Basij deteriorated into a group of thugs long ago, the Pasdaran are still widely respected. The Revolutionary Guards, with 125,000 men, are the backbone of the leadership. Their commander, Mohammad Ali Jafari, 54, commands an additional 300,000 reservists and the Basij, which has an estimated troop strength of at least 100,000. Pasdaran officers benefit from each additional tightening of sanctions, which leads to a booming black market and boosts smuggling activities, thereby strengthening the shadow economy controlled by some Pasdaran leaders.

2012-03-09 00:00:00

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