The victory of Hassan Rouhani in Iran’s presidential election was against the express wishes of the will of the powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and the militant corps opposes the regime’s ostensible adoption of a more moderate approach to the West and domestic dissent, analysts suggest.
“Although hardliners opposed to Mr Rouhani (and close to the Guards and some radical clergy) seem largely under control, at least for now, there are fears in Tehran that an assault on their economic interests may trigger a backlash in other fields, such as the nuclear talks,” Financial Times analyst Najmeh Bozorgmehr writes in a must-read profile of the Sepah. “The Guards oppose any rapprochement with the US. That antipathy is an ideological pillar to keep junior forces loyal.”
For the Guards, ideology is married to interests:
Over the past decade, associates of the Guards have profited from $120bn of so-called privatizations ….the Guards own more than $20bn of oil and gas projects, including some in the South Pars field, the world’s biggest gasfield…[and] some analysts reckon the Guards’ companies and banks generate income of about $100bn annually.