Iran–Iraq War 1979 Kurdish rebellion Lebanese Civil War 2001 uprising in Herat Balochistan conflict 2006 Lebanon War Iran–PJAK conflict Syrian Civil War War in Iraq (2013–2017)
Rank insignia of the Iranian military
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC; Persian: سپاه پاسداران انقلاب اسلامی, romanized: Sepāh-e Pāsdārān-e Enghelāb-e Eslāmi, lit. 'Army of Guardians of the Islamic Revolution' also Sepāh or Pasdaran for short) is a branch of the Iranian Armed Forces, founded after the Iranian Revolution on 22 April 1979 by order of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Whereas the Iranian Army defends Iranian borders and maintains internal order, according to the Iranian constitution, the Revolutionary Guard is intended to protect the country's Islamic republic political system, which supporters believe includes preventing foreign interference and coups by the military or "deviant movements". The IRGC is designated as a terrorist organization by the governments of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United States.
As of 2011, the Revolutionary Guards had at least 250,000 military personnel including ground, aerospace and naval forces. Its naval forces are now the primary forces tasked with operational control of the Persian Gulf. It also controls the paramilitary Basij militia which has about 90,000 active personnel. Its media arm is Sepah News. On 16 March 2022, it adopted a new independent branch called the "Command for the Protection and Security of Nuclear Centers."
Since its origin as an ideologically driven militia, the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution has taken a greater role in nearly every aspect of Iranian society. Reuters opined in 2019 that "It is also an industrial empire with political clout." Its expanded social, political, military and economic role under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's administration—especially during the 2009 presidential election and post-election suppression of protest—has led many Western analysts to argue that its political power has surpassed even that of the country's Shia clerical system.
The Chief Commander of the Guardians since 2019 is Hossein Salami, who was preceded by Mohammad Ali Jafari and Yahya Rahim Safavi respectively from 2007 and 1997.
^"سپاه ۳۶ ساله شد" [Corps turned 36 years old] (in Persian). Iranian Students News Agency. 24 April 2015.
^Golkar, Saeid (February 2019), "The Supreme Leader and the Guard: Civil-Military Relations and Regime Survival in Iran" (PDF), The Washington Institute for Near East Policy (Policy Watch), no. 58, p. 3, archived from the original (PDF) on 29 November 2020, retrieved 23 August 2020
^ abThe International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) (2020). "Middle East and North Africa". The Military Balance 2020. Vol. 120. Routledge. pp. 348–352. doi:10.1080/04597222.2020.1707968. ISBN 9780367466398. S2CID 219624897.
^Rome, Henry (17 June 2020), "Iran's Defense Spending", The Iran Primer, The United States Institute for Peace
^Staff writer. "How was IRGC founded?". Tasnim news Agency. Archived from the original on 1 December 2017. Retrieved 22 April 2017.
^IISS Military Balance 2006, Routledge for the IISS, London, 2006, p. 187
^"Profile: Iran's Revolutionary Guards" Archived 27 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine. BBC. 18 October 2009.
^Morris M Mottale. "The birth of a new class – Focus". Al Jazeera English. Archived from the original on 7 June 2015. Retrieved 29 October 2013.
^Nicole Gaouette (8 April 2019). "Trump designates elite Iranian military force as a terrorist organization". CNN. Archived from the original on 14 May 2019. Retrieved 10 May 2019.
^"Saudi, Bahrain add Iran's IRGC to terror lists – SPA". euronews. 23 October 2018. Archived from the original on 10 May 2019. Retrieved 10 May 2019.
^"The Consequences of a Strike on Iran: The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy" GlobalBearings.net, 15 December 2011.
^Abrahamian, Ervand, History of Modern Iran, Columbia University Press, 2008 pp. 175–76
^Aryan, Hossein. "Iran's Basij Force – The Mainstay of Domestic Security. 15 January 2009". RFERL. Archived from the original on 10 January 2012. Retrieved 25 December 2011.
^"Picture imperfect" Archived 12 October 2017 at the Wayback Machine 9 March 2013 The Economist
^"برای حفاظت از تاسیسات هستهای ایران، 'فرماندهی سپاه هستهای' تشکیل شده است" [In order to protect Iran's nuclear facilities, the "Nuclear Corps Command" has been established]. 15 March 2022.
^ abcHafezi, Parisa (21 April 2019). "Khamenei names new chief for Iran's Revolutionary Guards". reuters.
^Cite error: The named reference NYT20090721 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
^"Arrests at new Iranian protests". BBC News. 21 July 2009. Archived from the original on 22 July 2009. Retrieved 21 July 2009.
^"Crisis as Opportunity for the IRGC". Stratfor. 27 July 2009. Archived from the original on 5 August 2009. Retrieved 1 August 2009.
^Abdo, Geneive (7 October 2009). "The Rise of the Iranian Dictatorship". Foreign Policy. Archived from the original on 11 October 2009. Retrieved 13 October 2009.
^Gladstone, Rick (21 April 2019). "Iran's Supreme Leader Replaces Head of Revolutionary Guards". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 22 April 2019. Retrieved 10 May 2019.
^"Commander-in-chief of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps". donya-e-eqtesad.com. Retrieved 4 February 2019.
and 27 Related for: Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps information