Jane's is reporting that the political leadership of Iran is increasingly reliant on the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) to maintain power.
Having chosen the path of defiance in relation to the West and repression of domestic unease, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei considers the IRGC officer class more apt at crisis management both at home and abroad than the bureaucratic leftovers from the presidencies of Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani (1989-1997) and Mohammad Khatami (1997-2005).
This trend is reflected in the composition of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's government, appointments of provincial governors and the results of the 14 March 2008 parliamentary elections. Without Khamenei's blessing, who is the ultimate religious and political authority, this militirisation of politics could not have occurred, at least not at this pace.
Far from being an innovation, the IRGC's presence in the Ahmadinejad government continues a constant in the Islamic Republic's politics, in which the ideological officer corps has been represented in all but the shortlived transitional government of Prime Minister Mehdi Bazargan (February-November 1979). Still, the number of former IRGC members seems to have reached a new peak during the Ahmadinejad presidency. Besides Ahmadinejad, nine out of his 21 cabinet ministers all come from the IRGC.
The report in Jane's warns that Khamanei's reliance on the IRGC could in the long run make the Islamic Republic susceptible to military dictatorship, potentially replacing the theocratic regime.