The Revolution Will Be Mercantilized

Because of these fissures within the IRGC, which are of course clear to all those involved, the hard-line clique now removes and marginalizes anyone who is considered of dubious loyalty to the wider (theological) project. Safavi, the former head of the IRGC and current special adviser to the supreme leader, for example, recently reinsured his safety by categorically supporting the notion that Ayatollah Khamenei is the Hidden Imam’s representative and in his absence can effectively exercise absolute power. Though seen as dangerous nonsense by most senior clerics (including Montazeri), statements of this nature are intended to show loyalty and commitment to, and complicity in, a particular idea of power. Those who do not adhere to this view are being purged, and recent indications are that many of the remaining old-generation Guards are being retired and replaced with new believers. This creates a dangerous polarization of views in the wider society, with a governing establishment made up of clerics, politicians and the IRGC poised on a pyramid whose base is becoming increasingly narrow and unstable. The Guards are but one aspect of a broader hard-line seizure of power. And these hard-liners are surrounded by a newly disenfranchised and discontented “ex-elite.”

The immediate consequence for the Iranian state is the reinforcement of a self-perpetuating paranoia, enhanced and exaggerated by the development of a security apparatus dependent on informants, and fuel… >>>

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