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The Military in the Islamic Republic of Iran: an Assessment of the Sepah’s Role (IRGC) as a Political and Economic Actor

FOROZAN, HESAM (2013) The Military in the Islamic Republic of Iran: an Assessment of the Sepah’s Role (IRGC) as a Political and Economic Actor. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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This thesis analyses the rise to power of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps or Sepah-e Pasdaran-e Enqelab-e Eslami, also known as ‘the Sepah’, in post-Khomeini Iran, particularly after the election of Ahmadinejad to the presidency in 2005. It explains the manner in which the Sepah has become a powerful political force with a substantial stake in Iran’s economy and foreign policy. To understand the growing role of the Sepah as a political and economic actor, the thesis develops a theoretical framework by combining the literature on civil-military relations and institutionalist studies with an analysis of power relations in post-revolutionary Iran. Drawing on Laswell’s concept of the ‘garrison state’, the thesis explains the growth in power of the Sepah from the vantage point of its evolution from a pillar of the regime, referred to here as an ‘auxiliary guardian’, to a leading political and economic player in the IRI. The thesis demonstrates that this evolution has taken place gradually, within the context of Iran’s factionalised political process, and under conditions of perpetual domestic and international tension; moreover, it will show that while the Sepah was imbued with political and non-military functions owing to its role as the guardian of the revolution, the scope of its political involvement and its influence over Iran’s economy and foreign policy was the outgrowth of its responses to internal crisis and perceived external threats in the context of Iran’s ongoing elite struggle for power.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Government and International Affairs, School of
Thesis Date:2013
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:13 Mar 2014 16:26

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