Revolutionary Guards,officially the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) or Pasdaran, Iranian military group formed in the aftermath of the 1979 revolution by young Islamic activists loyal to Ayatollah Ruhollah KhomeiniKhomeini, Ayatollah Ruhollah
, 1900–1989, Iranian Shiite religious leader. Educated in Islam at home and in theological schools, in the 1950s he was designated ayatollah, a supreme religious leader, in the Iranian Shiite community.
..... Click the link for more information. . Originally intended as a people's army that would defend the country's Islamic rule and its revolutionary values, it also acted as a counterweight to Iran's regular military forces. The Guards grew into a major military force during the Iran-Iraq WarIran-Iraq War,
1980–88, protracted military conflict between Iran and Iraq. It officially began on Sept. 22, 1980, with an Iraqi land and air invasion of western Iran, although Iraqi spokespersons maintained that Iran had been engaging in artillery attacks on Iraqi towns
..... Click the link for more information. in the 1980s. Now generally considered Iran's dominant military organization, it is responsible for the country's internal security, oversees Iran's strategic weapons, commands the volunteer Basij religious militia, and is in charge of the charitable foundations (bonyads) that are integral to the nation's economy; the group is also reported to be significantly involved in and enriched by black-market smuggling. The elite branch of the Guards, the Quds [Jerusalem] force, is responsible for its foreign activities. By the early 21st cent. the Revolutionary Guards included ground, naval, air, intelligence, and special forces components. The organization has considerable political influence; many members of parliament, cabinet ministers, and other politicians (including President Mahmoud AhmadinejadAhmadinejad, Mahmoud
, 1956–, Iranian politician. From a humble background, he supported the Islamic revolution (1979) while working toward his civil engineering doctorate and was a founder of the student union that occupied the U.S. embassy.
..... Click the link for more information. ) have been members. In Oct., 2007, the United States imposed sanctions on the Revolutionary Guards, which it accused of supporting terror attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq, and against its Qods force, which it accused of supporting the HezbollahHezbollah
[Arab., = Party of God], Lebanese Shiite political party and militia. Founded in 1982 with Iranian help to oppose Israeli forces occupying S Lebanon, Hezbollah launched guerrilla attacks and suicide bombings against Israeli forces (which were a factor in Israel's
..... Click the link for more information. in Lebanon and the TalibanTaliban
, Islamic fundamentalist militia of Afghanistan and later Pakistan, originally consisting mainly of Sunni Pashtun religious students from Afghanistan who were educated and trained in Pakistan.
..... Click the link for more information. in Afghanistan. Under President Ahmadinejad, the Guards' political and economic influence grew, and the support of it and the Basij militia was critical to the suppression of protests after Ahmadinejad disputed reelection (2009). The Guards have also provided support and forces in support of the Syrian and Iraqi governments in their conflicts with Sunni rebels in the 2010s.