chapter  5
32 Pages

The Guard's Political Autonomy

ByKenneth Katzman

The key to demonstrating Guard autonomy is to show that the Guard, not the civilian leadership of Iran, controlled the Guard's internal affairs. Strong indicator of the Guard's institutional autonomy is the weakness of the clerics' oversight apparatus, the Iranian equivalent of the political commissariat structure found in many authoritarian regimes of both the right and the left. Even stronger evidence of Guard autonomy can be found in its relationship with die Iranian regular military. As a revolutionary institution, it is to be expected that the Guard would have political allies in a revolutionary government and that service in or association with the Guard would help officials rise in the regime power structure. The precedent for Guard influence in regular military personnel assignments was set in the early 1980s. Appointment to the Supreme Defense Council was a similar consolation prize for another senior regular military officer who disagreed vociferously with the Guard's strategy and tactics.