Covering Iranian economy,
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Single Report

A Look at Economic Activities of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)

Feb. 6, 2013

The Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) is a military unit that was founded after the 1979 Iranian Revolution by the direct order of Ayatollah Khomeini to safeguard the revolution. The IRGC has between 120,000 and 125,000 personnel that comprise ground, air and naval forces. The Basij and Ghods (foreign operations) forces are also part of the IRGC.

At least since seven years ago, the IRGC (Sepah-e Pasdaran-e Enghelab-e Eslami) has been one of the top economic news headlines. There is no absolute published rate to indicate how much share the IRGC possesses in the Iranian economy. Primary estimates indicate that at least during the last seven years, a number of 11,000 development projects have been awarded by the government to the IRGC. The IRGC senior commanders state that the participation of the Guard in economic activities is driven by developmental urges. The critics of the IRGC, however, hold that the presence of the IRGC in the economy of Iran has led to an increase in monopolistic completion if any.

With the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the presidency in 2005, the political and economic influence of the IRGC has been on the upsurge. The IRGC particularly amassed considerable economic power during the past 7.5 years. The government of Ahmadinejad granted the IRGC large contracts without obliging them to take part in government tendering procedures. The IRGC’s involvement in the economy ranges from oil and gas, construction, and many other commercial areas to military industries and aerospace.

In the following report, eleven common concerns about the activities of the IRGC are addressed and IRGC’s areas of economic activities are investigated.

Keywords: Iran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Islamic Revolution Guard Corps, IRGC, Revolutionary Guard, Khatam-ol-Anbia Construction Headquarters, Ghorb.

Table of Contents

1       Introduction. 5

2       Since When the IRGC Engaged in Economic Activities?. 5

3       Why is the IRGC Engaged in Economic Activities?. 6

4       Does the IRGC Execute just any Project?. 6

5       Does the IRGC Subcontract?. 7

6       Does the IRGC Build Towers in the UAE?. 7

7       Is the IRGC Going to Replace Foreign Firms?. 8

8       How Many Companies and Economic Projects is the IRGC in Charge of?. 8

9       What Kinds of Companies is the IRGC in Charge of?. 9

10     Is the IRGC Unofficially Involved in Economic Activities?. 9

11     What is the Share of the IRGC in GDP?. 9

12     Is the IRGC Involved in Economic Activities or Construction Activities?. 9

13     Commanders of the IRGC since the Beginning. 10

14     The IRGC and the Economy. 11

14.1     From Building Ramparts to Constructing the Largest Earthwork. 11

14.2     The IRGC and Urban Planning – Digging Tehran’s Tunnels. 12

14.3     The IRGC and Industries – Building Plants. 13

14.4     The IRGC and the Sea – Building Wharves. 14

14.5     The IRGC and Banking – A Private Bank or an NGO?. 15

14.6     The IRGC and Road Construction – Shortcuts for Roads. 16

14.7     The IRGC and Dam Construction – The Dam Construction Movement 18

14.8     The IRGC and Elimination of Deprivation – The Guard of the Deprived. 19

15     References. 20

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