Wonder who is really in charge, pulling all the strings in Iran?
The Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), or Sepah, controls as much as half of the total imports, and governs almost one-third of the whole economy. From engineering and construction to oil, wherever huge sums of money are involved, openly or covertly, the IRGC’s presence is apparent.
The striking influence that the IRGC gained beyond Iran’s borders in the four years of President Mahmud Ahmadinejad’s presidency, especially in Iraq, is arguably one the main factors that established the position of Iran as a decisive player in the region, threatening the authority of the United States. The IRGC’s intelligence operations, as well as allegedly equipping, organizing and financing Islamic movements in the region, demand a considerable amount of money. In terms of ideology and personality, Ahmadinejad was an ideal character to assist the IRGC in materializing its ambitions. From his rise to power in 2005, up until the current election, Ahmadinejad had the persistent, overt and obvious support of the IRGC.
In February, 2009, a National Audit Office report revealed that US$1 billion of oil money was missing. Reformist opponents of Ahmadinejad have estimated the missing oil dollars could be as high as $46 billion.
Some observers have assumed that the Islamic Republic of Iran, through the IRGC, has spent a good portion of these missing billions in Iraq and Lebanon. Interestingly, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrollah was the first foreign political figure to congratulate Ahmadinejad on his re-election.
Thanks to the efforts of the IRGC during his first term, Ahmadinejad dramatically changed Iran’s position in the region.
It is widely believed that only an exclusive group of individuals, including the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, have been in the loop of dealings with the IRGC’s finances. This would make it very costly for the IRGC if an outsider came to power. It could not only jeopardize their alleged control over oil revenue, but also hundreds of projects – including oil and gas – that are granted to companies affiliated with the organization.
No one knows better than the exclusive group which deals with the secret projects of the IRGC, how costly and risky it would be to let a team of strangers take over the administration.