The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) are a pivotal part of the Iranian economy under the regime. Without the IRGC’s control, the regime would be unable to fund its multiple military efforts. As the current U.S. administration has considered designating the IRGC as a terrorist organization, the Iranian regime attempts to use subtle threats to discourage such an action.
Why would they be determined to keep the IRGC free of such a designation, when it is clearly evident that there is plenty of evidence to show their influence throughout the region with various militias and supporting terrorist activities?
Simply put, the economic need of the regime means that Khamenei’s IRGC can do what it wants, but if it received such a designation, it could mean economic suicide for the regime. In order to protect its economic interests, the IRGC is also attempting to control the black-market flow of goods. This means stopping or slowing the flow of porters across the border.
The Kurds, who are already heavily discriminated against by the Iranian regime, often serve as porters of goods for the black market in order to make money to feed and care for their families. Jobs are scarce in Iran, especially for those who are not considered true Iranians. One Kurd porter was killed and three others were wounded when the IRGC opened fire on them near the Kurdistan region.
The porter who was fatally shot was Amir Khaledi. The other three men were taken to medical centers for care. Yet, there is unlikely to be any punishment for the IRGC on this issue. Instead, they will continue to control the economy, while at the same time, closing off any options for the Iranian people to find the money to care for their own families.
The IRGC is also not supportive of any foreign investment in the country for the exact same reason, because it could negatively impact their economic control. As the powerhouse of the country, militarily and economically, their loyalty to Khamenei means that his control over the regime remains absolute as long as they maintain their powerbases.
If the U.S. confirms a designation of terrorist organization for the IRGC, then the reality is that this will be a major blow to the regime. For a truly democratic Iran that works for its people, regime change is clearly necessary to end these random shootings of individuals just trying to care for their families.