Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps

Accord­ing to a BBC pro­file, the Islam­ic Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Guard Corps (IRGC) was set up short­ly after the 1979 Iran­ian rev­o­lu­tion to defend the coun­try’s Islam­ic sys­tem and pro­vide a coun­ter­weight to the reg­u­lar armed forces. In April 2019, the U.S. State Depart­ment announced its inten­tion to des­ig­nate the IRGC in its entire­ty as a For­eign Ter­ror­ist Orga­ni­za­tion (FTO). In May 2020, Brig. Gen. Moham­mad Hejazi was appoint­ed the new IRGC’s Quds Force deputy com­man­der after its for­mer head Gen­er­al Qassem Soleimani had been killed in a U.S. airstrike at Baghdad’s inter­na­tion­al air­port. Since its foun­da­tion, the IRGC has become a major mil­i­tary, polit­i­cal and eco­nom­ic force in Iran. Reuters opined in 2019 that the IRGC, com­pris­ing an esti­mat­ed 125,000-strong mil­i­tary with army, navy, and air units, is more than a mil­i­tary force. “It is also an indus­tri­al empire with polit­i­cal clout and is loy­al to the supreme leader.”