Elsewhere, Michael Slackman endorses claims that what occurred in Iran after the recent elections was actually a coup, led by the increasingly-powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard corps:
From its origin 30 years ago as an ideologically driven militia force serving Islamic revolutionary leaders, the corps has grown to assume an increasingly assertive role in virtually every aspect of Iranian society.[...]The corps has become a vast military-based conglomerate, with control of Iran’s missile batteries, oversight of its nuclear program and a multibillion-dollar business empire reaching into nearly every sector of the economy. It runs laser eye-surgery clinics, manufactures cars, builds roads and bridges, develops gas and oil fields and controls black-market smuggling, experts say.
Apparently, the Revolutionary Guards' influence has grown under Ahmadinejad:
Since 2005, when he took office, companies affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards have been awarded more than 750 government contracts in construction and oil and gas projects, Iranian press reports document. And all of its finances stay off the budget, free from any state oversight or need to provide an accounting to Parliament.
The financial interests of the corps have been linked directly to the Iranian government’s foreign policy: 'Iran may well have remained silent on the attacks on Uighur Muslims in China this month in part because Beijing is one of the main trading partners with the corps.'
Slackman quotes Iran expert Rasool Nafisi as stating that the country is no longer, strictly speaking, a theocracy: 'It is a regular military security government with a facade of a Shiite clerical system.'
So much for the claims of western apologists for the regime that Ahmadinejad is some kind of champion of the poor and his opponents merely the 'gilded youth' of Tehran. (In the words of Slavoj Žižek, leftists supporters of Ahmadinejad are 'saddest of all', since they assume 'patronisingly, that Ahmadinejad is good enough for the backward Iranians: they aren’t yet sufficiently mature to be ruled by a secular left.')
Ironic, isn't it, that supposedly radical leftists like Milne and Galloway have ended up defending the actions of a military-industrial-financial elite against a mass popular arising.
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