Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps, also known as the 'Sepah', has wielded considerable and increasing power in Iran in recent decades. Established in 1979 by Ayatollah Khomeini as a paramilitary organisation charged with protecting the nascent Islamic regime and countering the untrustworthy Imperial army (or 'Artesh'), the Sepah has evolved into one of the most powerful political, ideological, military and economic players in Iran over recent years. The Sepah is entrusted with a diverse set of indoctrination apparatus, training programmes and system welfare provisions intended to broaden support for the regime. Although established as a paramilitary organisation, the Sepah developed to have its own ministry, complex bureaucracy and diversified functions, alongside its own network and personnel. This book provides a comprehensive overview of the Sepah and its role. It examines the position of the Sepah in Iranian state and society, explores the nature of the Sepah's involvement in politics, and discusses the impact of the Sepah's political rise on Iran's economy and foreign policy. Contemporary Iran can only be fully understood by an awareness of the ongoing in-fighting among regime factions and increasing popular demands for social change – knowing about the Sepah is central to all this.
Table of Contents
Introduction Part 1: The Sepah in Post-Revolutionary State and Society 1. Civil-Military Relations in Post-Revolutionary Iran 2. The Sepah in Post-Revolutionary Iranian State: Institutional Context 3. The Sepah’s Socio-Economic and Political Reach Part 2: The Sepah in Politics, National Economy and Foreign Policy 4. The Sepah in Politics: from Auxiliary to de facto Guardian 5. The Sepah’s Growing Role in Economy 6. The Sepah in Iran’s Foreign Policy: National Security Realm Conclusion
Hesam Forozan completed his doctorate at the University of Durham, UK.
'... excellent work in both situating the IRGC within a coherent intellectual framework that provides some comparative utility, and perhaps more importantly, in his interrogation of the available Persian sources. There is detail in this text that many will find useful - especially on the Guards' myriad economic interests - and he is commendably dispassionate in his analysis. This is in sum, an important study of one of the more unorthodox 'military' institutions of our age.'Ali M Ansari, University of St Andrews, Global Policy Journal
'Interestingly enough, Forozan seemed to have allowed for the “de-securitization” of the Islamic republic. He pointed out that Rouhani, in his efforts to undercut the Revolutionary Guards, had succeeded in limiting their number in his government and in the bureaucracy at large. But the author also warns that the process of shrinking the parastatals and their protector, the Supreme Leader, will be long and arduous. More than a year after the book’s publication, Forozan’s conclusion still stands. Even Rouhani’s reelection does not guarantee the Revolutionary Guards’ imminent slide from power.'
Dr. Farhad Rezaei is a research fellow at the Center for Iranian Studies (İRAM), Middle East Journal