The escalation of tensions between Iran and the international community over Iran’s nuclear program is but another manifestation of the de facto militarization of the Islamic regime. This trend became apparent with the brutal suppression of the popular protests following the fraudulent presidential election in June.
The suppression was designed to quell once and for all the vast democracy movement and instead establish a military regime. Ahmadinejad and his military allies have established their supremacy at the expense of the religious elites, overshadowing the Supreme Leader Khameni and the various religious-dominated governing councils.
While the secret police and militias were always a key pillar of the regime, they were subordinated to religious leaders, reporting directly to the supreme leader. However, things changed with the election of Ahmadinejad in 2005. Deprived of political power – which is vested in the supreme leader – Ahmadinejad used his administrative powers to staff the central and provincial governments, as well as key economic and educational positions with loyalists.
He also paid special attention to key police groups, replacing top commanders and diverting economic resources to his loyal followers – among others, the Khatam-al-Nabeein Company, which was awarded its first multibillion-dollar contract to develop an oil field. Over the next few years, the security forces extended their control over the military, the media, and al… >>>