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Vanguard of the ImamReligion, Politics, and Iran's Revolutionary Guards$
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Afshon Ostovar

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199387892

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199387892.001.0001

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(p.235) 13 Conclusion
Vanguard of the Imam

Afshon Ostovar

Oxford University Press

The concluding chapter returns to the central themes of the book: the role of conflict—regional, political, religious, and ideological—in the formation of the IRGC and the Islamic Republic; the IRGC’s role in the development of Iran’s revolutionary state; the IRGC’s relationship to Shiite clerical authority and pro-clerical activism; the role of religion in its domestic and foreign involvement; and the centrality of the supreme leader to the IRGC’s identity and place in Iran’s Islamic system. It then looks ahead at potential challenges the IRGC could face in the future: the threat posed by Iran’s enduring regional rivalries and continued regional conflicts; the threat sectarianism poses to Iran’s long-term security and stability; the IRGC’s need for an enemy and the problem of peace; and the opportunities and pitfalls that will follow the inevitable death or replacement of Ali Khamenei as Supreme Leader.

Keywords:   Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, IRGC, modern Iranian history, armed forces, state formation, Sunni-Shia sectarianism, modern Middle East history, Shi`ism, Shiite Islam, armed forces

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