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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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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 18 January 2022

The War on Terror

The War on Terror

(p.159) 9 The War on Terror
Vanguard of the Imam

Afshon Ostovar

Oxford University Press

September 11th opened a window for brief collaboration between Tehran and Washington. Through Iranian diplomats, the IRGC’s Qods Force, and its chief, Qassem Soleimani, provided intelligence to American diplomats on Taliban positions and provided advice on how to defeat their shared enemy in Afghanistan. Any budding trust between the two ended after President George W. Bush’s designation of Iran as a member of the “axis of evil.” However, the toppling of Saddam Hussein and the Taliban—Iran’s two main enemies—greatly benefited the IRGC. The IRGC utilized ties to Iraqi Shiite organizations and developed a cadre of Shiite client militias to gain influence in Iraq and target US forces. Washington’s pressure on Iran, and allusions to potential war, help legitimize the IRGC’s influence in Iranian and Iraqi politics. The IRGC helped elect President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, who became a stalwart patron for the IRGC’s hardline politics and foreign adventurism.

Keywords:   Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, IRGC, Basij, modern Iranian history, Shiite Islam, U.S. foreign policy, modern history of Iraq, Qassem Soleimani, Qods Force, Quds Force

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