(New York, NY) – As Congress and the Trump Administration consider action to deter further illegal Iranian ballistic missile testing and regional aggression, including designating the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), the Counter Extremism Project (CEP) is releasing an updated report that sheds light on the power of the IRGC, its grip on Iran’s economy, and its links to proxy terrorist groups in Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen.
The IRGC is responsible for preserving the Islamic Republic of Iran and the ideals of the 1979 revolution. It is rigidly loyal to Iran’s clerical elite. During President Hassan Rouhani’s tenure, Iran’s proposed military budget has reportedly risen by 70 percent, from $9.2 billion in 2014 to $15.9 billion in 2017. The IRGC today enjoys the power of operating as a government agency, while still maintaining the zeal and fanaticism of an ideologically motivated terrorist group. Over time, its influence has grown considerably and its commanders have even been afforded seats in parliament. IRGC-controlled companies today play a dominant role in the petrochemical, banking, construction, and telecommunications sectors in Iran.
The IRGC is also Iran’s primary instrument for exporting the ideology of the Islamic Revolution worldwide, done principally through the Quds Force, an IRGC unit that specializes in foreign missions and providing training, funding, and weapons to extremist groups like Hezbollah, Hamas, the Houthis, and Iraqi Shiite militias. The Quds Force was previously designated by the U.S. as an FTO. In addition, the IRGC includes the Basij militia, a paramilitary organization famous for brutally suppressing domestic anti-regime activity through street violence and intimidation, including following the contested 2009 Iranian presidential elections.
To explore CEP’s report on the IRGC, please click here.