The Dual Military System and the Framework for the Counter-Movement

  • Majid Mohammadi


The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (Sepāh-e Pāsdarān-e Enqelāb-e Eslāmi) was established under a decree issued by Khomeini as the Revolution’s leader on May 5, 1979, less than three months after the victory of the Iranian Revolution. The Revolutionary Guards were intended to guard the victorious revolution, consolidate the clerical regime and assist the ruling clergy in the day-to-day enforcement of the government’s Islamic codes and moral strictures. It was also impossible to dissolve a well-equipped and well-trained army, although the new regime could not trust it. The Islamization of an Americanized army that was emasculated in the first two years after the victory of the Revolution was not something accomplished quickly. In this situation, a dual military system was unavoidable. The eighth chapter of the book discusses the reasons and causes behind this duality in Iranian polity and governmental structure.

Post-revolutionary Iran is the only nation-state that has two formal military systems under one commander-in-chief—the guardian jurist—beside its militia (Basij) and the disciplinary forces. Each of these two military systems has an army, navy and air force. This chapter examines the sociological causes (from the revolutionary leaders’ and analysts’ point of view) of this dual system, the interaction between society and the military, how this dual system can survive, the relationship between the dualism in the military system and the dualism in the political system, and the consequences of this duality for social and political structures and changes. The duality is the context in which the military forces interfere in the day-to-day politics and, at the same time, restrict the legitimacy and popularity of the country’s armed forces.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Majid Mohammadi
    • 1
  1. 1.Radio Free EuropeStony BrookUSA

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