Dr. Golkar is an adjunct professor at Northwestern University, and a senior fellow at The Chicago Council on Global Affairs. The author would like to thank Larry Diamond, Hendrik Spruyt, Daniel Brumberg, Rachel Bronson, Brian Hanson, Jonathan Caverley and Colette Salemi for their help and advice.
During the past three decades, numerous Western media sources have portrayed Iranians as opposed to the United States, epitomized by a small group shouting "death to America." However, many Westerners who have traveled to Iran have seen a completely different picture, often finding that many Iranians have more positive attitudes.1 Many American visitors have described Iranians as the most pro-American people in the Middle East.2 Deep frustration with the Islamic Republic and mistrust of the clerical establishment's propaganda have made Iranians "avid fans of America: its culture, films, food, music, it's open, free-wheeling society."3
In addition to many recent observations of pro-U.S. sentiment among the Iranian public,4 several polls depict a general desire for a better relationship with the United States.5 A survey conducted during the reform era in 2001 showed that 75 percent of Iranians favored the reopening of official contacts with America.6 A survey in 2009 showed that Americans are more widely liked in Iran than anywhere else in the Middle East, even compared to U.S. allies such as India, Turkey and Egypt.7 The same survey found that "almost two-thirds of Iranians support restoring diplomatic ties with the U.S."8
The positive perception of America and the popular desire for reestablishing the U.S.-Iran relationship are in conflict with the official position of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).9 The IRGC's opinion of the United States is based on its ideological perception of the international world. This understanding rests on two central concepts: domination and resistance. According to IRGC indoctrination material, the world is divided between two main axes: one of domination and one of resistance.10 The domination axis consists of colonial states that have been exploiting other countries for centuries.11
Within this framework, Western countries (especially the United States) have been successful in implementing their hegemony for decades. The system of world domination (Nezam-e Solteh-e Jahani) is inherently unstable, requiring war and exploitation.12 While many countries have contributed to this unequal power relationship, some are trying to overthrow the system. Iran is one of these countries. In fact, it is the leader of the "resistance axis," according to several IRGC commanders. For example, Major General Safavi, the former commander of the IRGC, has declared that the conflict between Iran and the United States is an ideological and fundamental conflict.13 The IRGC projects the United States and Iran as being on two opposite fronts: good (jebeh-e Hagh) and evil (jebeh Batel).14 It depicts their confrontation as strategic, not tactical.15 Hojjatol Islam Saeidi, the head of the Office of the Representative of the Supreme Leader (ORSL), has said, "Our problem with the U.S. is ideological; America is always looking to diminish Islam from Iran [sic]."16 That is why the American grand strategy has always been to overthrow the Islamic Republic.17 The IRGC has categorized U.S. tactics for toppling the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) into four main types: (1) hard war, (2) semi-hard war, (3) soft war and (4) intelligence war.18
Immediately after the Islamic Revolution in 1979, the United States attempted to topple the newly established regime through coups and civil conflict, and by pushing Iraq to incite war with Iran. According to the IRGC narrative, "During the Imposed War, the young Islamic Republic was not just fighting Iraq but also the Western powers, particularly the United States, which felt threatened by the emergence of a state that refused to serve U.S. interests."19
Since the "domination axis" was not able to topple the Islamic Republic of Iran through hard warfare, Western countries have opened a new front against the Islamic Republic using soft warfare. Iran's enemies modified their tactics, imposing economic sanctions against Iran. Soft warfare implies nonmilitary measures and includes both cultural and political elements, such as promoting Western culture and the American lifestyle.20 This is supposed to result in intellectual and cultural corruption.
According to Hojjatol Islam Saeidi, the representative of the supreme leader in the IRGC, the enemies of the Islamic Republic are always trying to undermine Islamic values by driving a wedge between the people and the regime. Western countries do not want Iran to become a new model for the Islamic world.21 The United States tries to provoke people, particularly the elites, into opposing the regime.22
The IRGC has recognized two main Western models for toppling the Islamic Republic. The first is the Huntington model, which emphasizes the role of the reformist in changing a regime from within. The second is Gene Sharp's model, changing the political regime through a "color" revolution.23 According to IRGC propaganda, Western counties used the Huntington model to corrupt the Soviet Union from the inside and to dissolve it by using revisionists. From 1990 onward, the IRGC has warned against the rise of liberals and a new Gorbachev in Iran. The IRGC interpreted the emergence of the reformist Khatami in the 1997 presidential election as evidence of regime change from within.24 After 2005, the IRGC focused on the electoral or color revolution as a new model of political change engineered by the West.
All in all, according to Simak Bagheri, the head of the Bureau of Political Guiders, the United States has used a variety of strategies to confront the Islamic Republic: social power such as public diplomacy; economic pressures; intimidation and threatening to declare war; supporting a moderate takeover of power; and promoting Iranophobia and Islamophobia worldwide.25
In confronting a system of domination, there are two choices: submission or resistance. According to the IRGC narrative, victory belongs to the resistance axis. Since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1990, IRGC propaganda has relentlessly promoted the fall of the United States as inevitable. In 1991, an IRGC journal predicted, "As Eastern imperialism was overthrown, Western imperialism will be subverted in the next 10-15 years."26 According to this narrative, the United States will fall for several reasons including America's huge debt, increasing social cleavages, and the changes in global power relations that began with the victory of the Islamic Revolution.27
The Perceptions Gap
Differing explanations exist for the cultural gap between armed forces and civilians.28 Some scholars point out that an individual with particular political beliefs may be more likely to self-select for armed service.29 In addition, while civilians have access to several sources of information, military personnel do not. In addition, indoctrination of armed forces is more intense compared to that of noncombatants.
In this context, the gap in perceptions of the West between the Guard and Iranian civilians can be explained by two factors: (1) the types of people recruited by the IRGC and (2) its comprehensive indoctrination program.
Since the establishment of the IRGC in 1979, youth from conservative and religious families have joined the Guard.30 After the incorporation of the Basij militia, a paramilitary group, into the IRGC in 1981, it became the human-resource pool for the IRGC. Basij members generally come from the lower socioeconomic strata and from religiously conservative households.31 The IRGC does not usually accept people who are not Basijis, and non-Basiji usually do not apply. In the past, Basij members looking for jobs usually applied to the IRGC selection and hiring centers (Marakez Estekhadm va Gozinsh Sepah), which consisted of the hardliners. These centers were responsible for evaluating the ideological qualifications of potential recruits.
Since 2008, the recruitment of Guard members has become more restricted in the hope of hiring more religiously conservative applicants. Ayatollah Khamenei always emphasized the importance of developing a more ideological cadre "who will remain Pasdar forever." Iran's supreme leader has asked the Guard to be concerned with new members' conservative and religious backgrounds (esalat khanvadeghi).
To achieve this goal, the IRGC's hiring policies have changed. Pointing (Nashaneh Gozari or Ozev yabi) is the last method of the recruiting process to "[discover] the candidates with ideological (Maktabi), security and moral qualifications."32 In the pointing method, some IRGC personnel are trained to find and recruit new IRGC staff among the Basiji and the IRGC enlisted personnel. These recruiters are responsible for finding and introducing "qualified" ideological and dedicated people to the IRGC. The inspectors look for a new generation in places such as Basij bases and Islamic ceremonies. Those who are discovered by the selection teams are invited to join the IRGC. The IRGC's active and retired personnel are asked to introduce and nominate their male children. According to General Ghasemi, head of IRGC selection and the founding member in Western Azerbaijan, "The Guard reviews their qualifications and recruits them if they have the Pasdari indicators."33
In addition to selection for background, the recruits undergo intensive ideological and political training (IPT), which is dominated by the hardliners. They are subjected to intensive ideological and political programs to internalize regime ideology. Through massive indoctrination, the guards became more ideological and conservative.
As many scholars have pointed out, indoctrination is an essential tool for subordinating the armed forces and establishing political conformity among military personnel. The IRI has used clerical influence and mass indoctrination to keep the armed forces under control since the regime's establishment in 1979.34 The Islamic Republic has attempted to create devout soldiers who are not only strong believers, but also show their commitment to the IRI through action. A special characteristic of the armed forces in the IRI is the extent to which members are subordinated to the supreme leader.35 To achieve this goal, IRGC members must pass several different ideological levels.
There are two types of IPT for IRGC personnel: vertical and horizontal. The vertical courses are divided into levels such as basic, complementary, primary rank, complementary rank and commandership. In addition to vertical courses, IRGC personnel annually participate in horizontal or continuing training. These courses, now called the educational and transcendental courses, usually take seven to 10 days to complete. In the past, only Guard personnel, who wanted to be promoted took these courses. However, since 2008-09, all IRGC members are required to take and pass them. The aim of these changes is not only to increase the Islamic and religious knowledge of IRGC members, but also to correct the behavior of the Guards and enhance Islamic attitudes among the membership.
In general, the indoctrination courses consist of two main components, religious and political. Ideological/religious training has a fixed content,36 while the political content changes according to the state of current affairs in Iran. Ideological training is supposed to deepen Islamic and religious ideas in the minds of the IRGC personnel. In contrast, political training should work as a spotlight to illuminate the political path of the Guards.
The religious component is meant to increase religious knowledge, deepen spirituality and legitimize the concept of velayat-e faqih (rule by a religious jurist). The content includes theology, prophecy and Shia leadership. Here, a very brief (and sometimes distorted) interpretation of Islam is presented. According to these courses, there are three interpretations of Islam: (1) American Islam, which is promoted by Western countries as a model; (2) secular Islam, which tries to separate religion and politics; and (3) pure Islam, which is represented by the Islamic regime.
Political education includes both domestic and international affairs. There is some focus on the constitution, various political parties and groups and the structure of political power in Iran. The essential duties of the clerical establishment are to promote Ayatollah Khamenei as the highest religious authority and to disseminate his ideas among the Guards. Velytmaderi, as this concept is known in Farsi, refers to the practice of complete commitment and submission to the supreme leader. Political indoctrination is implemented and supervised by religious clerics who work mainly at the Ideological Political Directorate (IPD) office.37 Like its Soviet counterpart,38 the IPD organizes indoctrination meetings to encourage the Guards' subordination to the Islamic regime and to enforce an Islamic code of behavior.39
With the establishment of the IRGC on May 5, 1979, Ayatollah Khomeini appointed his representatives to the Guard to manage the enthusiastic new revolutionary youth, supervising the clergy who worked mainly at the IPD office. This unit was one of 10 branches of the IRGC responsible for developing religious and political educational materials, and inculcating them among IRGC members. According to the first IRGC constitution, approved in 1982, Ayatollah Khomeini's representatives were responsible for approving IPT programs and training40 and for appointing the directors of important organizations such as the IRGC counterintelligence agency.41
With the selection of Ayatollah Khamenei in 1989 and the restructuring of Iran's military in 1990, the scope of activities that fell under the representatives' purview was dramatically expanded.42 Ayatollah Khamenei increased clerical control over the army, especially in the IRGC. In 1989-90, the representative of Imam Khomeini was promoted to the Office of the Representative of the Supreme Leader in the IRGC.43
The indoctrination of the Guard was intensified after the1997 presidential election, which brought the reformist Mohammad Khatami into power. This is a major reason the IRGC began a new wave of indoctrination: to keep its personnel loyal to the supreme leader and his hardline views. IPT training increased to comprise 20 percent of IRGC education and was made a prerequisite for promotion.44
Another wave of intensification of the IPT occurred after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq. The Islamic Republic changed its security doctrine to favor asymmetric warfare, emphasizing the importance of human resources over military equipment. Based on this strategy, the main strength of Iran's armed forces, especially the IRGC, is its motivated and committed personnel.45
The main change was a shift from increasing IRGC members' religious knowledge to deepening the religiosity of IRGC personnel. According to Hojjatol-e Al Islam Saeidi, the supreme leader's expectations of the clergy in the IRGC include three principles: (1) strengthening spirituality, (2) enhancing political vision and (3) total obedience to the supreme leader.46 The last refers to the mental, heartfelt and practical commitment to the supreme leader's personal, socioreligious and political orders and the acceptance of his divine authority in implementing religious laws and managing society.47
Since 2007-08, the IRGC implemented a program called the Transformation and Transcendence Plan.48 The aim was to empower the group's ideological beliefs and loyalty to the regime, especially to the supreme leader. An element of the plan is a new system for evaluating IRGC members, encouraging them to complete self-evaluations of their beliefs, personalities and behaviors,49 to discover, identify and analyze their weaknesses and strengths.50 There is also an official and organizational evaluation that assesses IRGC qualifications. According to this new evaluation system, personnel should possess several characteristics, including belief and commitment to Iran's supreme leader. IRGC members should know the enemies and friends of the Islamic regime and guard the Islamic Revolution through self-sacrifice and martyrdom.51
Another element of this plan is a new system of promotion focusing more on ideological qualifications than professional experience. IRGC personnel who show great loyalty and subordination to the Islamic Republic can be promoted faster than others.52 Based on the Transformation and Transcendence Plan, the IPT deputy is responsible for measuring the level of subordination to the supreme leader.53
The sparking of the Green Movement after the 2009 presidential election was another reason for the intensification of the IRGC personnel's IPT training. Several reports show that a group of IRGC personnel supported the reformists' political campaigns and were unhappy with the brutal suppression of the protesters. To vaccinate IRGC members against reformist ideas, the ORSL implemented several plans such as Accompanying Guiders, in which a group of IRGC members are put in touch with a political guide whose task it is to educate members. Another plan, called the Political Clinic, recommends "treatment" for IRGC members who have doubts about IRGC ideology in social and political issues.54 In addition, the IRGC increased its indoctrination of IRGC families, especially children.55 This tactic reflects what Hojjatol Islam Saeidi, the representative of the supreme leader in the IRGC, has said: "If the Guards' spouses and children would not accompany them, they will fail in doing their responsibilities to defend the Islamic regime."56
Although IRGC employees are bombarded by intensive ideological and political programs, there is an open question about their effectiveness and how many personnel adhere to this ideology. Passing IPT courses may enhance their knowledge, but IRGC members may not internalize the intended worldview.
A precise assessment of the effectiveness of the indoctrination program in the IRGC is impossible due to its secrecy. However, some scholars argue that the program has had a positive impact on the mindset and behavior of IRGC personnel.57 The Islamic Republic's propaganda depicts the IRGC as a fully ideological force,58 internalizing Islamic values and norms and completely loyal to the supreme leader. However, there is also some evidence of disloyalty. For example, in 1994, some IRGC members refused to suppress internal unrest (because of ethnic and other local affiliations and identities) after civil unrest in Qazvin.59 Reports also exist showing the disapproval of some top-ranking IRGC officials, including General Hossein Alaei and Ali Sanie Khani, over the suppression of protesters after 2009.60 Alaei, the former chief of the IRGC Navy, criticized his hardline fellows and compared the clerical establishment to the Pahlavi regime. Alaei's op-ed "was widely interpreted as criticism of the very same moves by Ayatollah Khamenei, including his green light to the 2009 postelection crackdown."61 Moreover, in spite of the Islamic regime's characterization of IRGC personnel as pious men, news of their involvement in crimes has emerged.62
On the other hand, some Western scholars argue that the IRGC is not an ideological force anymore because the motivations of most members are materialistic rather than ideological. According to these scholars, the involvement of the Guards in the economy has made the IRGC less ideological and more opportunistic.63 However, while its involvement in the political economy has increased during the last two decades and the members of the Guard are generally beneficiaries of this arrangement, only one group of IRGC personnel has been directly involved in business. Hence, many IRGC members may still be driven by religious and political ideology. Moreover, if the indoctrination programs are not effective, why has the Islamic Republic invested so much energy, effort and money in them? Why has the indoctrination of the Guards increased from 10 percent to 30 percent of IRGC training during the past three decades? The effectiveness of the indoctrination is actually more complicated than it seems. While not all Guard members become thoroughly indoctrinated, a significant proportion internalize Islamic ideology and its norms and values. To accurately evaluate the effectiveness of IPT training, two points should be emphasized: (1) generational differences among IRGC members and (2) the compatibility of indoctrination content and the religion of Islam.
Three distinct generations are represented in the IRGC. They have different levels of internalization of Islamic ideology and loyalty to Ayatollah Khamenei. In fact, comparative study suggests that the younger they are, the more amenable IRGC members are to indoctrination and the more they are bombarded with ideological political training.
It is widely accepted that a majority of the first generation of the Guard (those who joined during the Iran-Iraq War) came from religious families and were ideologically oriented. This generation truly believed in the defense of the oppressed against oppressors. The few Guard members who objected to the suppression of protesters following 2009 were members of this group. Almost all of the Guard personnel in the first generation have been retired since 1994. Some who are still serving are loyal to Ayatollah Khamenei (including General Jafari, commander of the IRGC). Many of these members owe their careers to the supreme leader, as the commander in chief who has promoted them to their high ranks. Such members obeyed Ayatollah Khamenei's orders to quell the Green Movement after 2009 and criticized their reformist compatriots. For instance, 23 Guard commanders warned the reformist president they could not tolerate the 1999 student revolts and would act directly if the president did not act. In addition, 12 high-ranking commanders in the Guard wrote a letter criticizing Alaei for writing his op-ed in 2010. These commanders are at the top of the pyramid and are involved in decision making.
It is accepted that the second generation of the Guard, who were recruited after 1989, are less ideological and more opportunistic. They joined the IRGC in peace time, after the appointment of Ayatollah Khamenei as the new supreme leader in 1989. Due to more limited indoctrination, many of these recruits were less ideological than those of the first generation. Then, in 2000, the supreme leader ordered enhanced indoctrination for Guard members. In 1997, 73 per cent of IRGC members had actually voted for Mohammed Khatami for president, even though Ayatollah Khamenei and the IRGC as an institution supported the hardline candidate.64
Since 2000, the third generation of IRGC members has been recruited from among the Basij and IRGC families. It is therefore more religious and ideological. These Guards were young enough to accept the authority of Ayatollah Khamenei as the supreme leader and proved more susceptible to indoctrination. Selecting IRGC members from among the Basij has given the Guard the ability to inculcate Islamic ideology more easily into the minds of the new members.
Furthermore, since Islam is the base of the IRGC's IPT training, Islamic ideology is more easily accepted by Guard members, compared to Marxism in the Soviet Union, for example. Using Islam as an ideology stems from the ideas of two main scholars, Ali Shariati and Morteza Motahhari. They interpreted Islam as having a plan for both the personal and public lives of Muslims and as a revolutionary ideology in competition with Western ideologies. Motahhari made a distinction between Weltanschauung (a comprehensive worldview) and ideology, a doctrine or set of rules. Islam is not only a Weltanschauung that interprets the world; it is also an ideology that has programs for the social and political life of Muslims. Conversely, Western ideologies are only sets of rules or false Weltanschauungs.65
While a certain amount of separation from civilians will help the military force operate effectively, a wide gap will alienate the military from society.66 It can lead to an appetite for intervention in politics and a desire to escape civilian authority. The result leaves society endangered by the force that is supposed to protect it.67
This study of the IRGC's indoctrination processes shows a wide gap between the worldview of civilians and that of guards. While most Iranians support the normalizing of Iran's relationship with the United States and the world, the IRGC believes this is neither possible nor desirable.
The IRGC depicts the challenge between the United States and Iran as ideological, essential and strategic, and impossible to resolve until one of the regimes changes profoundly or fails. In this view, subverting the Islamic Republic is the ultimate U.S. goal, no matter what U.S. policies are in practice. A relationship with the United States will only help America infiltrate Iran and prepare the country for change from within, like the Trojan Horse.
The IRGC has become more conservative and religious, while Iranian society as a whole has become less ideological and more secular. The cultural and political gap between the Guards and Iranian civilians has resulted in the alienation of the IRGC forces from the young (about 65 percent of the population in Iran are under 30). Moreover, indoctrination has strengthened the conservative values and beliefs of members of the Guard, making them more apt to support radical policies. For example, they are more supportive of morality policing based on Islamic values and the principle of commanding the right and forbidding the wrong.68
Strengthening Islamic values and attitudes has made the IRGC more conservative and religious, while society as a whole has become more secular and liberal. While many Iranian youth are looking for more social freedom and are limiting the state's inference in their private lives, the IRGC and the Basij are trying to shape a new Islamic society based on the "new Islamic Man." Right now, the Guard is trying to re-Islamize Iranian society and build a new Islamic lifestyle, the pious life.
In fact, while the Guards have become increasingly affiliated with hardliners and principalists over the last decades, the majority of Iranians have affiliated with reformists. In the presidential election of June 2013, although many of the IRGC and the Basij members voted in favor of the hardliner, the candidate who was supported by the reformists won the election. While the hardliner was strongly against negotiations with the United States, Hassan Rohani has supported reducing tensions with other countries and has approved negotiations with the United States.
On the international level, the IRGC is positive about supporting Islamic movements and negative about collaborating with the non-Islamic world. The IRGC's perception of the West and the United States is in harmony with that of Ayatollah Khamenei and the hardliners, who stand against comprehensive negotiations. For example, although one of the main slogans of Iranian youth in 2009 was "neither Gaza nor Lebanon, I will give my Life to Iran,"69 the IRGC harshly criticized it and emphasized supporting the Islamic movement in both Palestine and Lebanon.
The polarization of Guard-civilian views and the increasing role of the IRGC in politics will lead to more conflict. Although the chance of a coup against the supreme leader is low, the IRGC would be able to remain involved in politics and even take over elected political institutions if the supreme leader were to request it. Moreover, the Guard has the power to impede the process of political liberalization, interfere with efforts to loosen limitations on freedom, and block any attempts towards rapprochement with the United States.
1 Elaine Sciolino, Persian Mirrors — The Elusive Face of Iran (The Free Press, 2000), 28.
2 Nicholas D.Kristof, "Hugs from Iran," New York Times, June 13, 2012, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/14/opinion/kristof-hugs-from-iran.html?_… .
3 Steven Knipp, "A Different Face of Iran," Washington Post, Sunday, September 3, 2006, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/01/AR20060….
4 For example, see Stephen Kinzer, "I Just Got Back from Iran," Huffington Post, July 12, 2010, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stephen-kinzer/i-just-got-back-from-iran_…; and Ali G. Scotten, "Iranians' Love Affair with America," Christian Science Monitor, January 19, 2007, http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0119/p09s02-coop.html.
5 Abbas William Samii, "Winning Iranian Hearts and Minds," in H. D. Sokolski and P. Clawson, Checking Iran's Nuclear Ambitions (Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, 2004), 81-99.
6 Wendell Steavenson, "Pollsters on Trial for Suggesting Iranians Want to Make Up with U.S.," Daily Telegraph, December 5, 2002, http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/800939/posts.
7 Christopher Thornton, "The Iran We Don't See: A Tour of the Country Where People Love Americans," June 6, 2012, http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/06/the-iran-we-do….
9 There is a substantial number of publications on the IRGC's role in Iran's politics, society and economy. For example, see Ali Alfoneh, Iran Unveiled: How the Revolutionary Guards Is Turning Theocracy into Military Dictatorship (2013); Bernard Hourcade, "The Rise to Power of Iran's 'Guardians of The Revolution,'" Middle East Policy 16, no. 3 (Fall 2009); and Roozbeh Safshekan and Farzan Sabet, "The Ayatollah's Praetorians: The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps," Middle East Journal 64, no. 4 (2010): 543-558.
10 For a study of this concept in Iran's foreign policy, see Walter Posch, The Third World, Global Islam and Pragmatism; The Making of Iranian Foreign Policy (Berlin, German Institute for International and Security Affairs, April 2013), 27-28, http://www.swp-berlin.org/fileadmin/contents/products/research_papers/2….
11 Mohammad Reza Ahmadi, "The World Domination System and Soft War against Islamic Revolution," Misagh-e Basij Mostazafin Quarterly 2, no.7 (Fall 2009): 92.
12 Ahmadi, "The World Domination System and Soft War against Islamic Revolution," 89-106.
13 Major General Safavi, "The Todays' War Is on Ideology," Fars News Agency, March 16, 2013, http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13911225000719.
14 "The Next President Should Implement the Supreme Leader's Orders," Fars News Agency, April 11, 2013, http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13920122000523.
15 Hamid Habibi, "Iran and the U.S.: Strategic or Tactical Conflict," Hason Journal 8, no. 29 (2007): 136-165.
16 "Our Problem with the U.S. Is Ideological," Fars News Agency, March 28, 2013, http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13920108000280.
17 Hossin Sheydan, The America in Imam Khomenin's Thought (Qom: The Office of the Supreme Leader's Representative in the IRGC, 2001).
18 Simak Bagheri, "The Study of the Trend of Conflict of the Arrogance with the Islamic Regime," Psychology Operations Website, November 26, 2011, http://www.psyop.ir/?p=9206.
19 Annie Tracy Samuel, Perceptions and Narratives of Security: The Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps and Iran-Iraq War, International Security Program Discussion Paper Series, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, 8.
20 Shokroallah Shabodghi, "Soft Threat," Frahang-e Pasdari Magazine (the IRGC Magazine), 44-45.
21 "The Next Enemy's Seduction Is Putting People against the Regime," Digraban News Website, February 5, 2013, http://www.digarban.com/node/11022.
22 "Civil Disobedience Is New American Strategy in Iran," ISNA News Agency, February 5, 2013 http://qom.isna.ir/Default.aspx?NSID=5&SSLID=46&NID=16502.
23 "Layers and Approaches of the Soft War, Before and After 2009," Raja News Website, June 7, 2010, http://rajanews.com/detail.asp?id=52150.
24 Mohammad Bagher Zolqadr, American Reforms (Qom: Vosoq Publication, 2002).
25 Simak Baqeri, "Powerful Iran," Contemporary Political Studies Quarterly 4, no. 20 (Summer 2006): 117.
26 "The IRGC and Revolution," Morbian Journal (1991), http://tooba.net/Magazines/Show/277/6-2.
27 Ramezan Shabani Sarovi, "The Signs of America's Decline," Magazine of Basiret-e Salehin, no.1, December 2011, 38; Sobeh-e Sadegh, no. 473, 2010, 10.
28 Judith K. Lemire, Bridging the Civil Military Gap—Capitalizing on Crisis (Carlisle Barracks, PA: U.S. Army War College, 2002), 2.
29 Szayna, McCarthy, Sollinger, Demaine, Marquis, and Steele, The Civil-Military Gap in the United States: Does It Exist, Why, and Does It Matter? 74.
30 Kenneth Katzman, International Society for Iranian Studies, "The Pasdaran: Institutionalization of Revolutionary Armed Force," Iranian Studies 26, no. 3/4 (Summer-Autumn 1993): 389-402.
31 Afshon. Ostovar, "Iran's Basij: Membership in a Militant Islamist Organization." Middle East Journal 67, no. 3 (Summer 2013): 345-361.
32Sobeh-e Sadegh (the IRGC weekly), no. 206, 2005, 4.
33 "The Priority of Employment in the IRGC," Arya News Agency, December 25, 2011, http://www.aryanews.com/Lct/fa-ir/News/20111225/20111225182104132.htm (accessed January 13, 2012).
34 "The Responsibility of the Deputy of Ayatollah Khomeini Representative in the IRGC," Sahifeh-e Imam Khomeini, vol. 20, February 8, 1988, 486, http://farsi.rouhollah.ir/library/sahifeh?volume=20&page=468.
35 "A Report from the Center of Training of Clergies in the IRGC," Payam, no. 96, Summer 2009, http://www.nashriat-ps.com/article.php?id=98&article=11.
36 "Ashnaei ba edareh-e aghidati va siyasi setad namayandegi vali faghih dar sepah (gesmate dovom)" ["Knowing with the Ideological-Political Bureau at the Office of Representative of the Supreme Leader in the IRGC (Part 2),"] Morbian Quarterly 2, no. 4 (2002), 184.
37 Sepehr Zabih, The Iranian Military in Revolution and War (Routledge, 1988), 143.
38 Nikola B. Schahgaldian and Gina Barkhordarian, The Iranian Military under the Islamic Republic (Santa Monica, CA.: RAND Corporation, 1987), 30.
39 R. Cann and C. Danopoulos, "The Military and Politics in a Theocratic State: Iran as a Case Study," Armed Forces & Society 24, no. 2 (1998): 272.
40 "The Law of the Establishment of the IRGC," September 06, 1982, http://ghanoonbaz.com/anavin/Sepah_Pasdaran/Sepah_Pasdaran.htm.
41 Saeid Golkar, The Islamic Republic's Art of Survival: Neutralizing Domestic and Foreign Threats (The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 2013), 1-38.
42 "The IRGC Employment Regulation," Majlis Research Center Website, October 13, 1991, http://rc.majlis.ir/fa/law/show/91961.
43 "History of the Representative of the Supreme Leader in the IRGC," http://nvs.ir/Default.aspx?tabid=64&articleType=ArticleView&articleId=4….
44 "The Status of Ideological, Political and Religious Trainings in the IRGC Comprehensive Human Source System," Morbian Journal 7, no. 24, 191-198, http://www.ensani.ir/storage/Files/20120507085532-1177-168.pdf.
45Sobeh-e Sadegh (IRGC weekly), no. 298, 2007, 8.
46Sobeh-e Sadegh (IRGC weekly), no. 249, 2006, 5.
47Hason Journal (IRGC journal), no. 30, 2011, http://www.tooba.net/Magazines/Show/278/8.
48Sobeh-e Sadegh (IRGC weekly), no. 347, 2008, 9.
49Frarhang-e Pasdari magazine (IRGC magazine) 2, no. 17, 2009, 22.
50 "The Guard Qualifications," The Islamic Research Center, the Representative of the Supreme Leader in the IRGC, 2009.
52Sobeh-e Sadegh (IRGC weekly), no. 456, 2010, 4.
53Hason Journal (IRGC journal), no. 30, http://www.tooba.net/Magazines/Show/278/8.
54Sobeh-e Sadegh (IRGC weekly), no. 547, 2012, 8.
55 Ibid. no. 465, 2010, 4.
56Farhang-e Pasdari Magazine (IRGC magazine) 2, no. 13, November 2010, 5.
57 Golamreza Vaisi, "Research on the Effectiveness of Ideological-Political Training on the IRGC," Journal of Morbian, no 5 (2002), http://tooba.net/Magazines/Show/86/15.
58 Seyed Mohmmad Khatemi, as quoted in Mahan Abedin, "Iran's Revolutionary Guards: Ideological But Not Praetorian," Strategic Analysis 35, no. 3 (2011): 381–385.
59 Frederic Wehrey, Jerrold D. Green, Brian Nichiporuk, Alireza Nader, Lydia Hansell, Rasool Nafisi, S. R. Bohandy, "The Rise of the Pasdaran: Assessing the Domestic Roles of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps," Report, RAND, Santa Monica, CA, 2009.
60 Bahram Rafiei, "Ebraz-e Negarani az Rakhneh dar Sepah-e Pasdaran" ["Concern about Infiltration in the Revolutionary Guards"], Rooz, Tir 20, 1391 (July 10, 2012), http://www.roozonline.com/persian/news/newsitem/article/-da6c55fbb3.html.
61 Golnaz Esfandiari, "Former Senior IRGC Commander Comes under Attack," September 5, 2013, http://www.rferl.org/content/iran_former_irgc_commander_under_attack/24….
62 For example, see The Yazd Farda News website, May 28, 2007, http://www.yazdfarda.com/news/6009.html (accessed February 5, 2012).
63 M. Mahtab Alam Rizvi, "Evaluating the Political and Economic Role of the IRGC," Strategic Analysis 36, no. 4 (2012): 584-596.
64 Michael Eisenstadt "The Security Forces of the Islamic Republic and the Fate of the Opposition," Policy Watch, #1538 (June 19, 2009) http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/templateC05.php?CID=3076.
65 Saeid Golkar "The Ideological-Political Training of Iran's Basij," Middle East Brief, no 44, (2010): http://www.brandeis.edu/crown/publications/meb/MEB44.pdf.
66 Gregory D. Foster, "Civil-Military Gap: What Are the Ethics?" U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings 126, no. 4 (2000): 82-87.
67 Peter D. Feaver, "Civil-Military Relations," Annual Review of Political Science 2 (1999): 214; and Patricia M. Shields, ''Civil-Military Relations: Changing Frontiers,'' Public Administration Review 66 (2006): 924-928.
68 Saeid Golkar, "Politics of Piety: The Basij and Moral Control of Iranian Society," Journal of the Middle East and Africa 2, no. 2 (2011): 207-219.
69 Misagh Parsa, "Democratization Movement and Continuation of the Conflicts of the Iranian Revolution," Journal of Iranian Research and Analysis (JIRA), Volume 26, Number 2, Fall 2009, 83-96, p. 88.