IRGC Fuels Turmoil, Runs Underworld


Ross Amin
December 14, 2015

Last week, the top Democrat and Republican in the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs agreed that Iran is still the leading state sponsor of terrorism and its Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) aggressively fuels turmoil in the Middle East.

Though IRGC’s main role in to maintain regime through oppression; more is being published about the mechanisms with which it controls Iran’s sizable underworld economy. Ranking Member of the House Committee, Rep. Elliot Engel of New York aptly criticized the Iran (nuclear) deal, noting that Iran “ will be awash in cash.” He then asked a rhetorical question of fact: “imagine how much destruction they can do in support of terrorist activities?”

Yes, it is certainly true that Ayatollah Khamenei and his IRGC is about to get a cash infusion from the civilized world, even as their machinery churns out billions each year & suffocates human rights in Iran. Indeed, IRGC presides over a vast power structure with influence over almost every aspect of Iranian life. Some have estimated the value of Iran’s shadow economy, based on Iran’s current GDP level, to be as high as $140 billion annually.

Acting as leading global smuggler, IRGC is involved in oil, goods, human, drug, and other forms of illicit commerce. Iran’s long & porous borders (mostly with its Eastern & Western neighbors) as well easy access to global waters allows the guards unhindered opportunity & transit points. IRGC is also the primary operator and benefactor of state sponsored misogyny, which regulators women’s rights in Iran (or lack thereof).

Its independent revenue stream gives Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei influence both at home and abroad and affords the IRGC the flexibility to expand its financial, political and military mafia.

But its might is also very hollow. Recent reports, for example, foretell of its defeat in Syria, where its effort to consolidate Assad’s reign on power is faltering. Already weakened by sanction on Iran, heavy loss of its lieutenants has reportedly contributed to its recent retreat from the previously full throttle deployment in Syria.

IRGC is also dealing with a significant challenge at home, where Iranian dissidents are fueling a rise in home grown rebellion. The greatest measure of this rising call for freedom is Ayatollah Khamenei decision to deploy IRGC strength to choke gatherings, curtain women’s rights in Iran, and stop all forms of protests across the country. Additionally, IRGC footprint is visible in Iran’s current ranking as the world’s leading executioner (per capita). Of note, this level of executions in Iran has not been seen in nearly 25 years.

It is therefore incumbent on the free nations to recognize and confront IRGC for what it is: A terrorist mafia bent on destroying human civilization, human rights in Iran, with the ultimate aim of enabling Iran’s supreme leader and his illegitimate Islamic Caliphate. Suffocating this murderous entity and supporting Iranian dissidents are absolute necessities, if Islamic Fundamentalism and its radical infiltration across the globe is the objective.

Ross Amin from Organization of Iranian American Communities (

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