Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Iran's Military Economy

During the 1990's, Iran's military forces came to have important economic interests throughout the country, something which many thought was a crucial factor in Ahmadinejad's rise to power, and especially his disputed 2009 re-election. victory.  It sounds like their interest in profit-making is continuing under Rouhani:
The volleys between Rouhani’s administration and the influential Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) continue. Soon after the chairman of the joint command of Iran’s armed forces publicly censured the state-run media for the Guards’ undermining of the administration, the government spokesman responded by announcing that it would welcome the Guards’ activities in economic projects.

The public relations office of the IRGC announded that Mohammad Bagher Nowbakht, the executive and planning deputy of president Rouhani participated in the IRGC’s 20th cross-country seminar of the Guards’ political messengers and in his speech said, “The Guards have provided many services in the last 35 years to the country and people, particularly during the holy defense (the 8-year war between Iran and Iraq) and the reconstruction period (following the war) when this was very prominent.” He continued, “Today, the Guards posses a lot of potential to construct and develop the country...”

Just a month earlier, IRGC’s top commander had complained about the government’s cooperation with the Guards in the economic sphere. “Unfortunately, the government has not welcomed the recommendations and actions of the Basij for resistance economy. We hope the government will utilize the successful capabilities of the Basij (ideological militia), the Guards and the public,” he had said.

Two weeks prior to that the political deputy of the Guards also spoke of the determination of the force to remain active in economic activities and reminded Rouhani’s government that the force had to be active in this sphere as a way of helping the “regime and the government.” 
As I read the article as a whole, Rouhani's government had been holding back some economic opportunities from the military because of criticism of him, a stand-off which he seems to have won, at least temporarily.



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