IRGC Controls Legitimate & Illegitimate Economy


Update from November 12th: 

Reuters investigates Khamenei’s economic empire worth at least $92 Billion.


Original Post

The IRGC gets Richer by the Day

The exact amount of money controlled by the IRGC will never be known by the outside world, since the IRGC’s empire is very diversified and includes both legitimate businesses as well illegitimate deals, black-market activities and smuggling.

And yet, enough is known to understand that the IRGC is probably the most influential economic enterprise in Iran – controlling approximately $80 Billion, half of Iran’s imports and one-third of the country’s non-oil exports, an estimated 11 thousand projects and 40% of the economy , generating an annual revenue of at least $12 Billion a year.

The IRGC’s political ties to the regime and to the Majlis (parliament), together with its high security credentials, allow it take control of businesses without tenders, without legal supervision and, in some cases, even with huge tax-breaks.

Huge Corporations with Huge Influence

One example: Khatam al-Anbiya, the IRGC’s powerhouse construction company, controls over 812 registered companies inside or outside Iran, and (is) the recipient of 1,700 government contracts ,including numerous tunneling projects, nuclear/missile activities, gas and oil pipelines, and the international airport. Most of these projects were handed to the IRGC without tender or competition.

IRGC Major General Rostam Qassemi, who just happens to be oil minister, makes it quite clear what the IRGC’s goal and future should be: This base (Khatam al-Anbiya) should become the replacement for big foreign companies. In fact, since taking over as oil minister, the IRGC was awarded, again without tender, numerous projects in the energy market including a “$2.5bn contract to build infrastructure in the South Pars oil field” and “a $1.3bn contract to build a natural gas pipeline running nearly 560 miles from Bushehr province to Sistan-Baluchestan“.

IRGC Gets Richer as Iranians Get Poorer

Not content with controlling the businesses themselves, the IRGC is now poised to take over the management of the Central Bank of Iran: “The CBI and IRGC (are) to prepare an urgent plan for an orderly transfer of responsibility for running the entire banking system to the IRGC.”

Perhaps when that happens, the IRGC won’t have to deal in smuggling gold from Turkey, through Dubai, successfully profiting from and circumventing the effects of the UN-backed sanctions on the economy.

Paradoxically, the IRGC profited enormously from the sanctions, which eliminated foreign competition and increased profitability from smuggling.

The IRGC’s (not so) Secret Partner

A closer look at the IRGC’s partners in businesses it bought or manages shines a bright light on the shady connections of the IRGC with the pinnacle of power in Iran – Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

Khamenei controls numerous foundations such as the Imam Khomeini Foundation, Mostazafan Foundation, Abdolazim Shrine, and and Astan Qodsmanages. These foundations are directly appointed by the Supreme Leader and therefore, they do not pay taxes, and they cannot be audited by the parliament or by the judiciary system. Apart from huge assets in real estate ($45 Billion back in 2008), the Imam Khomeini Foundation is also a partner in Iran’s Telecommunication Company together with the IRGC and other profitable businesses in the energy markets, food and mining and much more.

The tie between Khamenei, the IRGC and Iran’s assets is no trivial matter. To quote Meir Javedanfar – “Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as the regime’s supreme investment manager” and “Khamenei’s shareholders consist mainly of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the Principalists“.

Khamenei and his IRGC partners not only have complete control over where Iran’s money will be invested, they also profit from the businesses that own and manage these projects.

The next post will focus on the IRGC’s control military activities in and outside Iran.

Relevant posts:

IRGC controls national & foreign policy

IRGC controls politics & politicians

IRGC Controls Iran


4 thoughts on “IRGC Controls Legitimate & Illegitimate Economy

  1. Passage by the House of another round of toughened sanctions comes against a backdrop of evidence that Iran has consciously used sanctions to bludgeon its own people to make points with the global press. While its people can’t access capital, Iran offers a $3.6 billion credit line to Syria. While its people can’t find employment, Iran builds and operates 5,000 new centrifuges to enrich uranium and while hyperinflation wracks the economy, Iran dabbles in credit swaps to bolster its support for Hezbollah and now Hamas. Rouhani, a career hardliner, speaks of moderation, but ultimately Iran must demonstrate its commitment to advancing peace not by making demands on the world like it did under Ahmadinejad, but take steps to release political prisoners, halt public executions, restore open Internet access to social media, restore shuttered opposition media, prohibit the moral police from abusing women and step back from its support of foreign ventures in Syria. Economic sanctions can be quickly lifted if Iran’s leaders, especially Khamenei, took some of these steps, but I am not hopeful of such a change in direction, which is why these new sanctions are important to keep the pressure on. If you want to see what I mean, check out Rouhani’s career highlights at The only real long term solution to Iran is regime change either at the ballot box or through street demonstrations just like the rest of the Arab world.

  2. Such a stupid article. The writer either know nothing about Iran and It’s economy or part of a Zionist lobbying machine.

    Iran’s Revolutionary Guardians Corps are the defenders of Iran’s foreign and defence policy where hold the responsibility of Economic & defence progress in particularly when western zionist governments have put unjust, inhumane and crippling sanctions against Iran. IRGC is responsible of Iran’s security & national solidarity under the banner of Islamic Revolution and have to spend huge budget on producing indigenous weapon technology to prevent against Zionist aggressors who hold more than 130 Military Basses encircling Iran. Budget is spent on Health Services, Space Research, Medical research, Subsidising small businesses, Education and Science as Iran holds the 3rd place in the list of Scientific Research Papers in the world and last years banned from taking part in such academic competitions by Canadian government.

    For those who want to know about Iran must visit Press TV Iran website that western so called free speech society has hypocritically shut down from all it’s satellites as part of Iran’s media Blackout. Iran will never be a part of Zionist World Order Perhaps will be the Graveyard of such Bullying forces. Iran will never accept but the equality in humanity and will never thwart all sort of Bullying by the western Zionist.

    • the way you put it, the IRGC is nearly a charitable fund meant to help the iranian citizens to lead a better life and nothing more than that.
      i think you should visit some other websites apart from pressTV and get a wider, and i believe, more accurate picture.
      the irgc is involved in activities that are beyond your despcription and it looks more like what the KGB once had in the former USSR.

  3. Pingback: IRGC Controls Conventional and Unconventional Military | IRAN 24/07

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