Islamic Republic of Iran, an Islamic Popular System (20)

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Today we focus on the armed forces of Islamic Iran. The Islamic Revolution brought about fundamental changes in all spheres of the Iranian society including defence. Before the Islamic Revolution, the armed forces were at the service of the British-installed and US-backed despotic Pahlavi regime and their duties were to serve its vested interests at the expense of the Iranian people and national interests. Mohammad Reza Pahlavi thought that by relying on his loyal officers he would suppress the aspirations of the Iranian people.

His supporters in the West thus supplied him with sophisticated armaments to brutally oppress the Iranian people, especially the grassroots Islamic movement. It was the most highly equipped army in the region. With such a repressive military force, the Shah and his supporters in the West never thought that the monarchic regime would be overthrown by the unarmed masses inspired by the leadership of the Sage of the Age, Imam Khomeini (God bless his soul). However, thanks to the resolve of the Imam and the people’s determination to free the country from domestic tyranny and foreign hegemony, the armed forces of the Shah despite the brutality of the generals who massacred thousands of people, failed to stand up to the public. Not that the Iranian soldiers lacked courage, but it was their innate Islamic and national sentiments that made them heed the call of Imam Khomeini to leave the barracks and join the people. Even those of the soldiers who stayed in the army, did so, in order to stop any coup against the Islamic Revolution. The Shah’s fleeing from Iran meant the collapse of the regime and the imperial army. Although some hard core pro regime officers tried to stand against the resolve of the masses, they could not do so, as the army joined the people. Among those of the armed forces that were the first to give pledge of allegiance to Imam Khomeini on his historic return to Iran, were air force officers.

After the victory of the Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini stressed the necessity to preserve and strengthen the army’s power in order to serve people and the Revolution, and to defend the country. He knew that Iran required disciplined, organized and strong armed forces to safeguard the independence, security and territorial integrity of the country. The Islamic Revolution needs strong and integrated armed forces in view of the threat to national interests by regional and other enemies. That is, confronting foreign-backed insurgents or invasion of the country by any country was possible only by having strong military capability. In the system of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the armed forces are required to have belief in Islam and national interests. The viewpoint of Islam about defense and Jihad is the cornerstone of the structure of the Islamic Revolution’s armed forces. According to the Islamic instructions, the military affairs are not restricted to specific organs or people, and all the people of Iran are tasked to mobilize their capabilities for protecting and safeguarding national interests, and the achievements of the Islamic Revolution. In addition to patriotism, this is considered a divine task in Islam. In accordance with this belief, along with the army of the Islamic Revolution, another military structure called “the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps” was formed to protect the security and the territorial integrity of Iran, as well as the Islamic Revolution against the local and foreign threats. The structure of this military body is based on the active participation of revolutionary youngsters and it was established in April, 1979, about two months after the victory of the Islamic Revolution by Imam Khomeini’s order.

The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps or IRGC, as it is also called, has the mandate to defend the country. Among other duties of this organ, one can point to cooperation with the regular army and the law enforcement forces for safeguarding the country’s stability, when required. On the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, the two power blocs of the capitalist west and the socialist east tried to undermine, and if possible, overthrow the Islamic Republic’s military, since the fall of the Pahlavi regime was a great loss for their vested interests in Iran. One of their techniques was to instigate certain wayward elements in Iran in the hope of destroying the Islamic Revolution system from within. The IRGC bravely stood up against such plots and foiled them. Imam Khomeini repeatedly stressed that the country’s independence is indebted to the IRGC. He said “the IRGC is a great pillar in the victory of the Islamic Revolution, thanks to its inspiration from the Martyr of Karbala, Imam Husain (AS).”

The Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei states that the IRGC’s place in the system of the Islamic Revolution is indispensible. He calls the IRGC as a unique phenomenon of history, and says that ever since its formation in the initial stages of the Islamic Revolution the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps have succeeded in passing the most complicated tests of the Islamic Revolution.”

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