From the Deep State to the Main Stage: The IRGC and Iran’s 2021 Presidential Elections
Hossein Dehghan, an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps heavyweight with strong ties to Hizbullah, has announced his candidacy for Iran’s 2021 elections. What would his presidency mean for Iran’s policies at home and abroad?
There is little doubt that the issue of Iran will be among the most important foreign policy challenges for the next US president. Both Donald Trump and Joe Biden have proposed to enter talks with Tehran and reach a future agreement as a way to de-escalate tensions with the Islamic Republic. But they will be dealing with a country whose political landscape is changing. For decades, Western policymakers have treated the Iranian regime’s ideological army, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), as part of Iran’s ‘deep state’, but today it is on the verge of taking over the state in its entirety – and in doing so has set its eyes on Iran’s presidency.
The new decade has begun with the IRGC expanding its power across the Iranian state on an unprecedented scale. The Iranian parliament is the latest state organ to fall into its hands, with both the new speaker, former IRGC commander Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, and the majority of parliamentarians having strong ties to the Guard.