The election of Hassan Rouhani as president of Iran has reignited intense debate both inside and outside of Iran about the future of the Islamic Republic. Most in the West expected a hardline candidate favored by the Supreme Leader or the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) to win and the status quo to remain unchallenged. The unexpected turn of events suggests that there are still forces in Iran that wish to make meaningful reforms within the context of the current system. But even if Rouhani indeed desires to make reforms, can his government make substantive changes on issues that most concern the US, such as Iran's nuclear program and support for Bashar al Assad's regime in Syria?
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While U.S. and Iranian diplomats continue their efforts to hammer out a nuclear deal, the most powerful Iranian body not at the negotiating table remains the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
Should Rouhani try to starve Khatam al-Anbia of new projects, it will signal a renewed effort by Iranian political leaders to bring the IRGC under control.
Despite the election of a new president in Iran and his seemingly more moderate cabinet picks, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) remains disproportionately powerful in directing Iranian policy.
How have the Revolutionary Guards reacted to Hassan Rouhani's victory? AEI's Will Fulton provides clarity in a Q&A with the United States Institute of Peace.
This report examines the formal structures that comprise the IRGC's senior leadership and the informal influence networks that dominate it. The central focus is a faction within the IRGC referred to here as the "Command Network" (IRGC-CN), and its extended branches.
Decisions about the character of Iranian policy and diplomacy most often rest in the hands of the Supreme Leader and his unelected aides, as well as increasingly the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
Within days of Hasan Rouhani’s election as Iran’s president, the White House and several European governments were already ecstatic at the possibility of resuming negotiations over Tehran’s nuclear-weapons program.
Editor's Note: The following is an interview posted by National Review Online about the latest developments in Iran.
KATHRYN JEAN LOPEZ: Just who is Hassan Rouhani?MICHAEL RUBIN: The Wall Street Journal’s Sohrab Ahmari has provided the best summary of Rouhani’s rise and record:
For 16 years starting in...