The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)was formed by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini following the 1979 revolution. It’s reason for being was to protect the revolution’s goals and execution, by acting as a police and internal security force separate from the regular armed forces. The IRGC’s domestic role includes enforcing morality dictates, such as making sure that women are dressed modestly in public places.
The IRGC also plays a foreign role, acting as a proxy for Iran or otherwise exporting and executing Iranian objectives abroad through their own actions, or providing training to paramilitary and terrorist organization. These are largely carried out through the actions of the Al Quds Force (Jerusalem Force). According to the Federation of American Scientists:
“The largest branch of Pasdaran foreign operations consists of approximately 12,000 Arabic speaking Iranians, Afghans, Iraqis, Lebanese shi’ites and North Africans who trained in Iran or received training in Afghanistan during the Afghan war years. Presently these foreign operatives receive training in Iran, Sudan and Lebanon, and include the Hizballah [“Party of Allah”] intelligence, logistics and operational units in Lebanon [Hizballah is primarily a social and political rather than military organization]. The second largest Pasdaran foreign operations relates to the Kurds (particularly Iraqi Kurds), while the third largest relates to the Kashmiri’s, the Balouchi’s and the Afghans. The Pasdaran has also supported the establishment of Hizballah branches in Lebanon, Iraqi Kurdistan, Jordan and Palestine, and the Islamic Jihad in many other Moslem countries including Egypt, Turkey, Chechnya and in Caucasia. Hizballah has been implicated in the counterfeiting of U.S. dollars and European currencies, both to finance its operations and to disrupt Western economies by impairing international trade and tourism.”
The IRGC has also been accused of activity in post-Hussein Iraq, from intelligence activities, to funneling arms through the south to Shiite insurgents, to supplying support to Iraq’s largest Shiite political parties/ militias, such as the Badr Corps.