Ali Khamenei was selected as the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic against the interests of certain influential revolutionaries when the IRGC’s big leaders backed him. He became ayatollah after he was selected in 1989 as the interim Supreme Leader, pending a referendum. But no such referendum ever took place.
If a coup occurs in Iran, it could only be carried out by the IRGC. The Iranian army cannot carry out a coup in the country as long as its high-ranking commanders are chosen by the Supreme Leader through high-security vetting. Meanwhile, the IRGC’s offensive activities in the political-security and economic sectors have been intensifying under the leadership of Ayatollah Khamenei. Moreover, in 2019, the Ministry of Intelligence budget grew 31% and the IRGC budget grew 26%, while the budget of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran, decreased by 75%, and that of the Ministry of Defence and Armed Forces Logistics decreased by 50%.
It is very difficult to predict the timing of a coup. But it could happen after the Supreme Leader dies. It’s one likely outcome.
Analysts cite the 2009 uprising, which took place during a presidential election, as the type of scenario that might spark a coup by the IRGC. Back then, the Revolutionary Guard, which was recently designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the U.S., empowered Mahmoud Ahmadinejad after Ayatollah Khamenei gave the green light. Ahmadinejad was reselected, and his rivals were subjected to house arrest. In this way, the IRGC managed political turmoil to achieve its interests by applying pressure and serious threats against the unstable bureaucracy.
Iran Briefing | News Press Focus on Human Rights Violation by IRGC, Iran Human Rights
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