April 22nd was the anniversary of the creation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The IRGC is now 38 years old. According to General Mohammad Bagheri, chairman of Iran’s armed forces command, “the IRGC acted as the ‘security shield’ of the Iranian nation and all the Muslim people through their presence in Syria and Iraq…The country would have been lost if not for the IRGC.”
The IRGC, according to its statute, “is an entity under the supreme command of the leader”, and “political and ideologically following the velayat-e faqih (mullahs’ rule)”. The Iranian Resistance has emphasized over and over how the IRGC is used to impose their military crackdown and oppression of the Iranian people.
Part of the organization’s actions include exporting fundamentalism, terrorism, and warmongering, and this in itself is bent on the universal doctrine of the mullahs’ rule. “The IRGC is the element that should rally the people under the flag of Islam,” said Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani in his remarks on April 30th.
The IRGC restructured itself to enable confronting of popular protests, establishing an independent command structure for each province that is able to quell public uprisings. In addition, the Basij work with the IRGC, utilizing their spy networks within the universities, schools, administrative offices, factories, and neighborhoods to identify and arrest dissidents.
This organization has expanded outside of Iran, playing a leading role in fueling, expanding and continuing a number of other major wars in the region, including the current wars in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Lebanon. The IRGC has become tool that the mullahs use to meddle in other countries, while claiming to want to play a peaceful role in the region. Some of the regional countries that Iran is currently meddling in with fundamentalism and terrorism including Turkey, the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Palestine, and Afghanistan. The list of countries within the region not dealing with Iranian spies and militia groups is virtually non-existent.
There is a militia with Iran’s backing through the IRGC in a number of Middle Eastern countries. Even the Iranian regimes in various countries are staffed by the IRGC and used to pursue the IRGC’s agenda. The IRGC has not limited its terrorist activities to just the Middle East, but has expanded to Latin America and other international targets. The IRGC has built up contacts with the major global terrorist organization. In fact, after living in Iran for years, the commanders of many terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria are being returned by the Quds Force (part of the IRGC) to Iraq and Syria, especially during the last decade.
In flagrant violation of the UN Security Council resolutions, the IRGC continues to illegally export arms to regional countries. According to a report issued by former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in January, the IRGC is sending arms to Yemen on a wide scale. The IRGC also produced huge numbers of roadside bombs, used to attack coalition forces in Iraq.
To pay for all of these activities, the IRGC is now in control of Iran’s main economic branches in different fields, thus funneling billions of dollars to its efforts annually. This doesn’t include the funds it receives directly from the Iranian government as part of its annual budget.
The U.S. government has considered labeling the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization, something that Iran argues would sour relations between the two countries. Yet, if the IRGC is not designated as such, it will simply be allowed to continue collecting funds to pay for its terrorism, both within Iran and outside of it.