Even as he was blasting the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) for corruption on Monday, President Hassan Rouhani of Iran increased the organization’s budget by 50%.
Bloomberg News reports that Rouhani enacted this increase even as oil prices, a primary source of Iran’s revenues, are dropping:
Rouhani proposed increasing the Islamic Revolutionary Guards’ budget to 174 trillion rials ($6.5 billion) from 115 trillion rials, according to figures published today by Tasnim news agency.
The IRGC budget constitutes 62 percent of Iran’s armed forces budget, according to government figures. Total defense spending, including for the regular army and Basij paramilitary force, will climb 33 percent to about 282 trillion rials, reflecting Iran’s increasing commitment to fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and propping up Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria.
On Monday, Rouhani was quoted saying in reference to the IRGC, “If guns, money, newspapers and propaganda all gather in one place, one can be confident of corruption there… Even Abuzar and Salman [allies of Prophet Mohammad] would have become corrupt under one organisation that has accumulated everything.”
In recent weeks, Iran’s involvement in Iraq and Syria has gotten more attention. Last month Syrian opposition forces reported that Iran was organizing pro-regime Shi’ite militias. A week later, Reuters reported that parallel Iranian attempts to unite Shi’ite militias in Iraq “have certainly fueled sectarian violence,” and have been described as “just as brutal” as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), whom they are fighting.
In How Iraq Became a Wholly Owned Subsidiary of the Islamic Republic of Iran, published in the December 2014 issue of The Tower Magazine, Jonathan Spyer and Aymann Jawad Al-Tamimi describe the IRGC’s incursions into Iraq, disrupting any possible hope for regional stability.
The growing importance of the [Iranian-backed] Shia militias’ resistance to [ISIS] in Iraq is not simply the result of their own combat skills. It is very much a product of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the Iranian regime’s elite paramilitary force, whose role in regional conflicts—and, it should be noted, terrorism—is large and expanding. The Shia’s success in Iraq reflects the effectiveness of IRGC doctrine regarding the construction, support, and use of sectarian political and military proxies as a central tool—sometimes the central tool—of Iranian policy in the region.
[Photo: Manuchehr Lenziran / YouTube ]