The Revolutionary Guards
- The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is Iran’s most powerful security and military organization, responsible for the protection and survival of the regime.
- The Guards are also currently Iran’s most powerful economic actor, reinforcing their influence over political decisions.
- Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guards have formed a symbiotic relationship that buttresses the supreme leader’s authority and preserves the status quo.
- U.S. and international sanctions against Iran may be strengthening the Guards at the expense of more pragmatic elements.
- The Guards’ and so-called principlists’ domination of the regime after the 2009 election may result in more belligerent Iranian foreign and domestic policies, especially on the nuclear issue.
- The Guards may be able to maintain the political status quo if they remain a unified force. However, they face internal divisions, which could potentially weaken Khamenei’s hand in a moment of crisis.
- The Guards’ involvement in the business world may erode its credibility to the extent that it will not be able to function as an effective security or military force in the future.
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The Islamists Are Coming
The Islamists Are Coming, edited by Robin Wright, surveys the rise of Islamist groups in the wake of the Arab Spring. Often lumped together, the more than 50 Islamist parties with millions of followers now constitute a whole new spectrum—separate from either militants or secular parties. They will shape the new order in the world’s most volatile region more than any other political bloc. Yet they have diverse goals and different constituencies. Sometimes they are even rivals.
"The Iran Primer"--Book Overview
“The Iran Primer” brings together 50 top experts—Western and Iranian—in comprehensive but concise overviews of Iran’s politics, economy, military, foreign policy, and nuclear program. Each link connects to a complete chapter on one of 62 subjects in 10 categories. Printable PDF attachments also are at the bottom. Timely analysis is added weekly. The book also chronicles U.S.-Iran relations under six U.S. presidents. It probes five policy options. And it offers timelines, bios of top leaders, and data on nuclear sites and specific sanctions resolutions. And it provides context and analysis for what lies ahead. Click here to order the book.