COVID-19 and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards economic domination
COVID-19 has become a catastrophe in Iran. According to the government, more than 25 million people have been infected, and statistics indicate that at least 100,000 people in 450 cities have died. Iranian society has shown strong support for the initiative proposed by the opposition leader to dissolve the Iranian Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) and use all the funds of this dire force to face the health crisis.
In response to this phenomenon, IRGC officials and Supreme Leader Alí Khamenei emphasized, in an interview with the national television network, the need and importance of the IRGC to protecting ideological boundaries.
Militarism and the export of terrorism
Abolfazl Shekari, Senior Spokesman and Deputy Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, said in television that protecting the ideological boundaries of the Islamic Republic and the Revolution was “an essential mission of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)”.
The ideological frontiers were once Palestine and Yemen. This clearly shows that the major role of the Revolutionary Guards is nothing but the export of terrorism for the survival of the Iranian regime.
This repressive force was established shortly after the fall of the monarchy by killing the people of Turkmen Sahara, Kurdistan, and Khuzestan. The creation of death squads against the freedom devotees as well as the assassination of political opponents inside and outside the country are some of the legacies of the Revolutionary Guards.
The Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Division, led by Qassem Soleimani, played a key role in fueling proxy wars in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen. They have been in charge of spreading terrorism to neighboring countries and creating a strategic depth for the regime.
Suppression of the opposition inside
But the senior IRGC spokesman does not limit the IRGC’s duties to just exporting terrorism. When asked if the ideological border protection didn’t contradict the defense of Iran’s geographical border, the spokesman replied:
“It does not mean that the IRGC has no mission inside the country. We must deal with the hypocrites (the way to call the opposition and the regime’s enemy, the Mujahideen) to ensure the internal security of the country. These are all missions of the IRGC”.
Besides exporting terrorism, one of the IRGC’s tasks is repression. The establishment of a massive “Sarollah” garrison to suppress the uprising in Tehran is another aspect of the role of the Revolutionary Guards. This is what Shekari, the IRGC spokesman, has called “internal security”.
Recently, following the shocking Amnesty International report of a torture epidemic in Iran, the opposition revealed the names and locations of a number of IRGC torture chambers applied to protesters during the 1998 popular uprising.
Call circulation in society
This call from the opposition has restricted the mullahs’ field of action. The most deprived people in Iran see that even the nurses and doctors who work hard to tackle the Coronavirus have not been paid for several months, while Hezbollah’s salaries and expenses in Lebanon have been paid with no trouble.
According to the Deputy Health Minister, Iraj Harirchi, of the 1 billion the ministry is to receive, only one-third has been paid so far, and it is unclear on what other priority tasks it has been allocated. But the priority of this government is somewhere else. People ask why Iran has a repressive and terrorist force in addition to its official army, and why it has to spend billions of dollars on its maintenance and equipment. They wonder why the money that should be spent on the economy and development of the country and in the fight against Coronavirus is spent on killing, destruction, and devastation outside the borders of Iran.
“Leave Syria and think about us”, people are claiming in many protests in Iran. Meanwhile, the Revolutionary Guards dominate Iran’s economy. It is believed they control 60% of the country’s economy, and 100% of COVID relief funds.
Isn’t it time also for European democracies to impose financial and weapons sanctions over this force to contribute to the peace in the Middle East and the defense of human rights in Iran?
Lead image: By MrInfo2012 This W3C-unspecified vector image was created with Inkscape. – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=29737229