The Revolutionary Guard’s Ideological Plan Under Rouhani

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A website close to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has presented four distinct roles that they believe they should play in the next four years under President Hassan Rouhani’s administration. Although the IRGC, also known as Sepah, still plays a significant role in the Iranian economy and intelligence community, with Rouhani’s new cabinet they have lost key cabinet positions that they enjoyed the last eight years under former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The article begins by saying that some of the main issues that Sepah will need to confront are “an emphasis on negotiations with America, accepting the entrance of globalization, the demands of 2009 (elections) … and satisfying Europe and the White House.” The author believes that “some around the new administration” have shown an inclination toward the above demands.

In the article on Yalasarat website, which is titled “Four Roles for Sepah and the Student Movement In the Next Four Years,” the author continued that perhaps “the most prominent aspect of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the original student movement is to shape [the] Islamic Revolution and prove your help to the revolution by protecting the ideological boundaries of the Islamic revolution.” By “student movement,” the author is referring to student groups aligned with Sepah and Basij forces rather than the various reform-minded student groups that have been at the center of various protests the last 2 1/2 decades.

The first role outlined is to “Consolidate the people’s relationship with the Islamic system.” According to the author, “the people of Iran have a close and constant relationship with the Islamic system. The consolidation of this relationship is a constant necessity, and it is undeniable. It could be acknowledged that in this sacred path, the student movement and Sepah, due to its philosophy … has an unparalleled role compared to others.” Therefore, the article states that Sepah should play a significant and “jihad-like” role in consolidating the relationship between the people and their government.

“Combating doubts” is the second role outlined in the article. “It could be said that perhaps since the beginning of Islam until today, the biggest danger for Muslims has been ‘deviation,’ and of course deviation is part of unanswered doubts.” Doubts should be answered by those who have “accepted responsibility of the Islamic revolution” such as “the seminaries, universities, and Sepah.” Combating doubts “will be one of Sepah’s and the student movement’s most important responsibilities in the next four years. Taking away doubts such as those mentioned at the beginning of the article will keep great damages to the Islamic revolution at a distance.”

The third plan is to “strengthen the front of ideals” against materialism. The Islamic Republic “is a new recommendation that one of its most fundamental basics is reasonable ideals against” those who seek material things. “This is the basic principle for which damages against it by topics such as “Andalusia-ization” of the revolution or the “materialism” of revolutionaries must be sought within the invasion of Western lifestyle and the cultural ambush that the desires of the enemy has targeted.”

By Andalusia-ization the author appears to be equating retreating on the revolution’s ideals with the retreat of Muslims from Spain. In addition to Sepah’s role, the author believes that “the student movement, being a youth association, has a heavy responsibility” in this field.

The fourth role the author believes is significant is the importance to serve the system rather than a particular administration. The author warns that “a big danger” is when politicians pursue the policies of the administration and “service to the people and the system is pushed to the margins.” Given a “better and more service to the people” and “securing the demands” of the system, Sepah is in a position to serve the system rather than just a particular administration.