Each time President Donald Trump or Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei escalates the crisis, the Guards are that much closer to getting perhaps a contained, limited conflict that would benefit them domestically, as opposed to a total war that would pose a risk to the regime’s survival.
President Trump should refrain from launching an attack on Iran for this primary reason.
It was the Guards that shot down a U.S. drone on June 20, claiming that it was in Iranian airspace. Some Guards cheered the downing of the drone and, anticipating a U.S response, IRGC commanders outfitted and placed on high alert Iran’s basij militia forces, which are under the IRGC’s command, to quell any social unrest if there were a U.S. attack, according to Iranian sources. The basij have masterfully crushed major protests in Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution, including the largest demonstrations in 2009 and 2010.
Since the crisis began with the United States, the IRGC has benefited the most. They and other hardliners have solidified their popular base and marginalized for the foreseeable future Iran’s pragmatists, including President Hassan Rouhani. An attack would consolidate the IRGC’s position as the preeminent faction within the state apparatus. It would validate the long-held ideological belief of the IRGC — which was against the nuclear negotiations to begin with — that the United States’ ultimate goal was never negotiations but Iran’s destruction. And it would bring the IRGC closer to being in the driver’s seat in determining how Khamenei’s successor is selected after he dies.
Iran Briefing | News Press Focus on Human Rights Violation by IRGC, Iran Human Rights
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