by Amir Taheri
When all others had abandoned her, they stood by her. Using at times the bare minimum, they fought back an enemy that was funded and supplied by the West and our friendly Arab neighbors. After a devastating 8 year war they worked on rebuilding the country, with roads, schools, and factories. They project Iranian power by allegedly operating foreign bases in Lebanon, Iraq, and as far away as Latin America. With missiles pointed at those threatening Iran, they have kept a war from happening. When the US and Europe forced out companies that were building oil and gas fields in Iran and the industry looked bleak and down under, they came in and restarted or launched projects to further Iran's vast energy industry. Instead of drawing funds from the state for the military they use their economic businesses to generate profits that go towards expanding Iran's military might. They gather Iran's best minds with high paying salaries and jobs ensuring that they stay in Iran versus immigrating abroad. They have been targeted with sanction after sanction by the US and Europe, and have become Iran's boogymen. It is enough for a Guard member to step onto a plane for that airline to be sanctioned! (This recently happened with Iran Air, with the reasoning that supplies for them were carried in their cargo hold)
They certainly were not the main force suppressing protests after the election. That prize goes to the Basiji, not the Revolutionary Guard. We have heard countless times from critics, the White House, and dissidents that the Revolutionary Guard are planning/have already committed a coup and seek to usurp power for themselves with Ahmadinejad as their leader. We find this now to be not true as they have recently on countless occasions come out against President Ahmadinejad and his struggle with the Supreme Leader. So that can't be it. They are not the intelligence ministry keeping an eye on dissents. They are not the judiciary and placing people in prison. Europe and America accuse Iran of having a high capital punishment rate with a large number of drug traffickers, murderers, and rapist being hanged yearly. The Revolutionary Guard do not implement the hangings. They don't even enforce the morality rules in Iran, that is done by a branch of the police force. Through their elite al Qud's force in Iraq they, in the spiced words of President Bush, have kept the "terrorist" busy in Iraq that Iran doesn't have to deal with them at home. For those that might have missed that comment, I was referring to the American troops in Iraq being distracted. Ok, so that's a reason why the Americans would hate them.
The Revolutionary Guard are accused of gaining projects that were suddenly left by some European companies. If they were the only domestic company with vast enough experience in implementing large energy projects, what should Iran do, wait a couple of years until a new private domestic company comes along to take over the project all the while losing potential revenue? They mostly contract out some work and specialize in other areas and are known for their efficient management of projects. I have read and heard that the Revolutionary Guard go for Iran's best minds after graduating from the top schools in Iran. They certainly have the need for them with their companies doing vast projects across Iran. They offer these new employees wages much higher than the average company. In the past and even today many of Iran's best minds continue to leave this country to go work and live in the West. They are not dominating Iran's construction sector as some have said. In reality the vast majority of projects in Iran are either done by private firms like Kayson or semi-public firms that are too countless to name. A special focus is placed on projects that they work on and statements are made like, "look, here is a project that they are doing, thats evidence of dominating the economy." I could do a piece (as so many have done on the Revolutionary Guard and their "dominance" of Iran's economy). I could pick out a few dam projects, road and energy projects across Iran and then also add some thing like, "They are even working on line 7 of Tehran's metro." Pointing out a few big projects can be an attention grabber for sure. What I would fail to mention is that they did not build the 4 existing Tehran metro lines, or the 2 lines in Mashhad, or the 2 in Shiraz, with one due to open soon. They also are not building the one in Esfehan or Tabriz, or even Ahwaz for that matter.
There is the possibility of the new oil minister to be approved being the current CEO of Khatam al-Anbia, the industrial arm of the Guards. Rostam Ghasemi was quoted recently as saying "We have strong and skillful people working for Khatam al-Anbia who are capable of taking up oil-related projects". There is no secret that he would like more projects going to his firm. He has been quoted as saying that he will facilitate further projects going to Khatam Al-Anbia in the event that he becomes the new minister.
Through their border posts, they are accused of allowing smuggling of goods to illegally come across the border without paying the customary high import tariffs. There has never been solid evidence to support this but just stated everywhere as an open fact. But lets say for arguments sake that they are indeed doing this. Is it an organization wide affair or a few bad apples? If its an organization wide affair at all border posts, then it is an accepted arrangement by the government with the Revolutionary Guard and not illegal just because its not been made public knowledge. And if its a few bad apples allowing some smuggled goods, should the whole organization be held responsible? Smuggling of goods is relatively simple in Iran and with or without the Guards help, it is done at almost every port. Small boats carry goods over from Dubai and Oman. From the borders of Iraq and Afghanistan other goods come over. Surprisingly, the Guards have never been accused of facilitating the large drug flow from Afghanistan. I wouldn't be surprised if soon they will also be accused of this as well.
I know why the West loves to hate the Revolutionary Guard, they are an efficient organization earning their own money, and building Iran's asymmetric military against future attack, while projecting Iran's flag across the globe. They have defended a country under attack, then helped in reconstructing that country, and now prevent outside powers from attacking her again. So I repeat my question, I know why they hate them, but why are WE as Iranians told to hate them?
Editor’s Note: Amir Taheri is one of the authors of Uskowi on Iran. His weekly columns appear here on Fridays.
A very informative/educative article. I learnt a lot reading it and I thank you for that.
Propaganda and loads of rubbish.
Iranians hate them because they are keeping the country from becoming a democracy. Because they are a maffia organisation. Because of their support for the ruling Mullahs. You have former loyal politicinas in Iranian jails saying that they are run by IRGC. The IRGC has admitted that they are in charge of arresting people close to Ahmadinejad. The basiji thugs are the arm of IRGC. Like many other Iranians you are possibly an opportunist thinking about your own financial interests and your pocket as long as you are living a good life there in Tehran showing off your Ipad , then screw the rest of the people who are struggling to survive. The Iranian Army would have taken care of Saddam anyway. It is hardly military genious to run into mine fields. But hey if that takes you to paradies then by all means....
Two words: absolutely brilliant.
Annon 6:36 AM, you hatred runs deep. Just make sure it doesn't eat you up from the inside and cause you heart problems.
Who says "Democracy" is the solution to all of Iran's problems..Looks at how democracy's working for Iraqis, Afghans and now Libya.
If that's the kind of democracy you want for Iran, then stuff it. We're happy with what we already have. Sellout!!!
Great article, keep the good work.
one of many constant reader of the blog.
Note: put some information about new Iranian made water dam please
screw 'em. they're parasites and defenders of a ghastly regime.
they're entirely a drain on the economy and whatever money they generate is due to having the assets of the people stolen from them and turned over to them.
"The Iranian Army would have taken care of Saddam anyway."..
With what? For God sakes please stop the lies here. Any military analyst and historian will tell you Saddam's army was much better equipped by the powers that were interested in harming Iran. Iran's army at that time was in disarray a lacking motivation after the revolution.In fact it was the main reason Saddam was encouraged by his masters in Washington attacked because they knew Iran's army was at its weakest moment.
Battlefield tactics was something else for Saddam, though. Without mass mobilization (Basiji), the nation or at least some parts of Iran would've fallen to Saddam and you probably wouldn't be here spewing your nonsense. Or maybe you're one of those who ran away with daddy to LA??
You may hate Iran but at least show some respect for those that sacrificed their lives for the country.
thank you for a very informative article. it is difficult to get news from Iran as the friends I have are "those who ran away with daddy to LA". I have never met people for hate their country so much and wish harm upon the citizens of Iran then the Iranians in Europe.
Thanks all for your comments, it is refreshing to see them after what I assumed would be an explosion of hate comments!
Thank you Brother!
Your Articles Inspire me!
Make no mistakes and let it be known The IRGC are the Vanguard of Islam and The Ummah!
"I have never met people for hate their country so much and wish harm upon the citizens of Iran then the Iranians in Europe."
LOL..Thought you were the only one. Traveled to Malaysia sometime ago and met some Iranians over there. My God!! Talk about hatred and negativity?? I've never met a bunch of people so full of hate for their own country they wish it's totally destroyed. And I'm not even Iranian. You never have a single conversation without them referring you to a similar thing in Iran. I don't know but I think it's their way of having people see them as "progressives" different from all the propaganda about Iran worldwide.
What I didn't understand was that, they say they hate Islamic Iran but they seem perfectly happy living in another Islamic country, Malaysia. The Irony..
I'm an European living in an European country. My country has its flaws but I don't demonize it to others when I meet them. I just don't think they can do anything about it.
i believe irgc and basigi the only reason to win or hold the country during the 8 year war if this trustfull forces was not exiset the whole country would be in the hand of enemy or iraqi at that time why i say that because i was as memmber of iran army from 1980 war to 1983 war the irgc and basigy fight so greatly i never ever forgot in the battel for goramshar freedom city in 1982 ,army at that time 90% off them just want shah back in power to day all change country blonge to all iranian people to develope the best they can i dont care mumment what others thing i was so stupped running for wrong freedom of west not underdtanding the reality of true or may be blind to see the true great those fighter to free the country from enemy forces.
Long live IRGC
Go Iran Go !!!!
Thanks for anoter puff peice Amir!!!!!
Your the best feel good writer here!!!!!!
Thank God Its Friday
Thank god for the IRGC who insure that the likes of the Shahis and the MKO will never rule Iran ever again. And for those crying for "Democracy" I Guess the fact that 40 million Iranians came out and voted in the last election, with 63% voting for the incumbent just dosent qualify it as a "democracy".
Another great post. I always defend the IRGC against ignorant people and i am glad more people think like me.
It's interesting to remember that the Revolutionary Guard was always a second choice to oil contracts. The first choice was western companies. It's interesting because the west claims the RG usurped a position in Iran's economy, when in fact the west handed it to them with their sanctions.
Why should it be of any surprise that the IRG is targeted foremost and highly unjustified by the US ?
Obviously the Revolutionary Guard is running most part of Iran, and they're good at it.
That they are not involved in criminal activities, not involved in cruel or inhumane governmental acts, but building up the country's infrastructure, all this makes them even more dangerous, as it signifies they are highly respected among the people, so to speak the "backbone" of Iranian society.
Certainly the US are understanding that to break Iran it is necessary to break its neck or backbone first.
The Sepah are the true guardians of the Iranian Revolution and the nation owes them a huge debt for defending Iran and its sacred land. The bravery and elan of the Sepah are as noble as the history of Iranian nation.
Amir's article is balanced and factual. It is time the world knew the truth about Iran and its institutions.
Amir Jan..I like to know how much they pay you for this rubbish? The Revolutionary Guard where formed for the protection of the mullah regime and its control of the Iranian nation.The countries in financial ruin run by a bunch of illiterate fanatics and you write that these people saved Iran.It was the Iranian Army that saved Iran by 1982 Saddam lost the war but no mullahs wanted to go to Jerusalem.And for those non-Iranians who say that Iranians want the destruction of their country talk from their backsides and besides this regime is already destroying Iran by it self through its incompetence.So please tell me Amir Jan how many more cars and houses you want so that you can sell your country to these mullahs?
I see the Sepah division of bloggers are very busy on this sight praising you Mr Amir Taheri congratulations on your Propaganda article about the Maffia henchmen .As for sellout the only sellouts are the bastards on these pages praising your bullshit.Yes I am defending the other anonymous writer who correctly replied you earlier 6:36 AM.I can not believe the amount of traitors Iran has .These pages clearly shows how screwed up our country has become.They and you are sellouts to the dirty mullahs agenda for the destruction of Iran.But remember Mr Taheri that all good things come to an end and there is no going back so you and people like you have to be answerable to our nation for your support of this blood thirsty regime.So go ahead and do not publish this that is expected of you.
Yeah I'm sure Mr. Taheri is making millions to post on an obscure blog. That's definitely where the money is in op-eds, pro Iran articles. You can see by surfing the newspapers how much demand there is for such articles.
But regarding your point, how much do the VOA and BBC people on the Iran channels get paid?
Revolutionary guards should be commended for their hard work in neuterizing the effect of sanction and keeping the Iranian borders secure. It is a shame that their hard work is tainted with an unhealthy desire to interfere in politics. I am one of those who believes that the much needed political reform may, one day, will be ignited by a brave revolutionary guard who would denounce the supremacy of clerical elites over the democratically elected people’s representative.
@Reader...From day one the Revolutionary Guard was involved in politics by the systematic murder of thousands of Iranian people.It is they whom control the illegal trade in bootleg and narcotics.It is they that control the amount of drugs released into the community for the retardation of Iran so that this blood sucking fascist regime could stay on a bit longer.And it is they that have their little full time bloggers that come out to the regimes defence on these and other sites.No this regime is not for any sort of reforming,remember the line of imam which they ardently follow not one step back and not one step forward simply frozen in the time of seventh century.Ether they all must go or Iran will die so to hell with the lot of them and their supporters.
agha boro psychiatrist bebeen. vazet badeh.
Wow, thank you. I now realize how wrong I was about RG. These are bunch of angles who have come from the heavens to save humanity. Members of RG are combinations of Mother Teresa, Imam Ali, Eistein, and Thomas Jefferson. I am going to nominate the RG for Nobel prize in every category: from peace to physics. Thank you Amir. This is so illuminating. Your credibility has increased multiple times.
By the way, have you thought about writing children stories? You have amazing talent for fiction.
@Anonymous 7:21 PM..BORO BEH MELLAT BADBAKHT BOGOO KE PSYCHIATRIST BEBEENAN AS DAST SHOMA MOZDORA BACHA AKHOONDA HARAMZADEH.
Amir you made my day! I almost died of laughter this morning after reading your comment regarding the IRGC.I am speechless where have you been in the last thirty two years on the moon? Next we will be reading stories about the Waffen SS being good to Jews by building gas chambers and providing work for joy.What a load of rubbish and utter nonsense.I really hope you reconsider your article regarding this unfortunate issue.Best wishes a Patriot.
C'mon folks, the guy writing as Amir Taheri is just a great satirist.
You fail to see that he's just kidding when he writes this obscene and utterly f'ed-up nonsense pretending to praise these winged-monkey type goons called the IRGC?
You really think that this guy is such an utterly lame tiny tool that he writes this stuff and expects it pass as sincere?
Agar Iran engadar bad hast, vah zendegeeh beeron az Iran engadaar khoob hast . . . pas cherah Iraneehah keh beeroon hastan engadar asabanee vah deevoneh shodan?
Anon. 31 July 10.20 PM
Inja zendegi kheyli khube. Haminke adam ba heyvanate bisavadi mesle pasdar va basiji va hezbollahi saro kar nadare ye nemate bozorgiye. Shoma ha hamunja bemunid va az zendegi dar madineye fazeleyi ke akhunda baratun dorost kardan lezzat bebarin. Hamatun sar az Behesht dar mirayin.
@Anon july31 10:20 PM..Avalan man to Iran zendegeeh mekonam va khalee az Iraneehah injah 95% sakhtea mekeshan valley asabanee vah deevoneh in regime zed Irani be pedar vah madareh agha mozdor.
Anon. Aug. 1 6.00 AM
Man az shoma mazerat mikham. Moteasefane az neveshtare shoma malum nabud ke darid az Akhunda hemayat mikonid ya na. Omidvaram ke Iran ruzi ruye azadi va esteghlale vaghei bebine. Dorud bar shoma.
Amir joonam in cherto pert cheh digeh neveshtee? Magar ma to in mamlecate kharab shodehyeh jun khoreh isalee koorem ya khareem ??Agha juneh moderet in bassato jam kon basseh degeh.
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