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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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Vanguard of the Imam

Vanguard of the Imam

(p.39) 3 Vanguard of the Imam
Vanguard of the Imam

Afshon Ostovar

Oxford University Press

This chapter covers the emergence of the IRGC and its role in monopolization of pro-Khomeini clerical power after Iran’s 1979 revolution. During this period, the IRGC was a fledgling organization that had been established to unify disparate militant groups loyal to Ayatollah Khomeini. Its pro-Khomeini activism brought the IRGC into conflict with competing revolutionary groups and anyone that did not adequately adhere to Khomeini’s authority. The IRGC’s politics were rooted in the revolutionary and reactionary ideologies of its founders, many of whom had once been members of the Islamist-Marxist Mojahedin-e Khalq and had become vehement enemies of that organization. The IRGC led the campaign against Khomeini’s revolutionary opponents, violently crushing the leftist and Marxist opposition. The IRGC’s political ground war paved the way for Khomeini’s greatest victory: the ratification of the Islamic constitution which cemented the concept of clerical rule (velayat-e faqih) as the foundation of Iran’s revolutionary system (nezam).

Keywords:   Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, IRGC, modern Iranian history, political violence, Shi`ism, Shiite Islam, Ruhollah Khomeini, armed forces, revolution, Mojahedin-e Khalq

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