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Rouhani seeks to limit IRGC role in politics, economy

Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is resisting the president's efforts to limit its influence in political and economic affairs.
Members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard look at memorial pictures of their commanders and colleagues, who were killed in a suicide attack in southeastern Iran, during a funeral in Tehran outside the Revolutionary Guard garrison on October 20, 2009. Sunni group Jundallah claimed responsibility for the suicide attack that killed seven Revolutionary Guards commanders and 28 other people, including several tribal leaders. AFP PHOTO AFP PHOTO/BEHROUZ MEHRI (Photo credit should read BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images)

At an April 18 ceremony marking Armed Forces Day in Tehran, President Hassan Rouhani urged the military to respect the will of Imam Ruhollah Khomeini, the late leader of the Islamic Revolution, by “avoiding interfering in political affairs.” The president praised the army, which he said has sacrificed much since the 1979 revolution to protect the country from external threats “without requesting its share from the nation and the elected government.” Rouhani’s comments were a clear reference to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which has challenged Rouhani’s foreign policy from the start of his administration, especially after the influential organization found the president reluctant to grant it massive economic projects.

In the weeks leading up to the June 2013 presidential elections, conservative circles were concerned about losing their influence on the incoming administration. Almost all polls conducted by different organizations, including the IRGC and national television, suggested that the moderate candidate was in the lead against his seven rivals — all representing the conservative camp — according to a source familiar with the polls, whose results were never published.

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