Iran’s Revolutionary Guards: What You Need to Know
State television said the assault, which wounded more than 60 people, targeted a stand where Iranian officials had gathered in the city of Ahvaz to watch an annual event marking the start of the Islamic Republic’s 1980-88 war with Iraq.
Following are some questions and answers about the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps:
What is the IRGC?
It was set up after the 1979 Islamic Revolution to protect the Shi’ite clerical ruling system and revolutionary values.
It answers to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The IRGC has an estimated 125,000-strong military with army, navy and air units. It also commands the Basij religious militia, a volunteer paramilitary force loyal to the revolution.
Basijis mounted “human wave” attacks against Iraqi troops during the war in the 1980s. In peacetime, they enforce Iran’s Islamic social codes. Analysts say Basij volunteers may number in the millions, with 1 million active members.
The Qods (Jerusalem) force, led by Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, is the branch of the Revolutionary Guards which operates outside of Iran’s borders. Members of the Qods force have fought in support of President Bashar Assad in Syria’s civil war and have backed Iraqi security forces in their battle against Islamic State militants in recent years.
What has the IRGC said about the nuclear dispute with the West?
The Guards have warned they could disrupt oil traffic in the Gulf waterway if pushed, but commanders doubt the United States will strike because it could spark a broader regional conflict.
Senior Guards commanders were skeptical about President Hassan Rouhani’s cultivation of detente with the West with the landmark 2015 deal, which placed curbs on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of a number of sanctions.
When the United States withdrew from the deal in May, hardline Guards commanders said it showed that Western countries, particularly the United States, cannot be trusted.
Read More At: Haaretz
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