Iran's Sepah--More Secular or Simply More Severe?


by jigsawnovich

Dictators may or may not be religious. There is speculation in the US about whether Iran's Revolutionary Guards, Sepah, will become less and less religious as they seize more and more control over businesses and industries in Iran. The following news story might reinforce this speculation. But does it really mean that Sepah is becoming more secular? And if they did become more secular, would this result in an easing up on laws supposedly based on religion in Iran? Would the great irony of brutal secular dictators granting more personal freedoms of expression--as long as they did not challenge the State--occur? Well, from what I've seen, don't hold your breath for that. Religion is a mighty power in Iran, and a useful one. Sepah may instead be simply positioning themselves to perpetrate an even more severe round of political repression, exceeding even that of the clerics.

Some of my Iranian friends are secular and some are devout Muslims. Those who are religious resent the regime's exploitation and corruption of Islam as a means to the end of brutal repression. Those who are secular deeply resent having religion and Sharia laws forced upon them, and would prefer a separation of religion and state. Within the context of awareness of their concerns, I read the following article with great interest.
via Tehran Bureau headlines

"IRGC Chief: Preserving regime more sacred than Islamic prayers

According to Sepah News, the official website of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Mohammad Ali Jafari, the commander of the Guards, in an IRGC meeting in the city of Urumiye on Wednesday, said "Preserving the Islamic Republic establishment is even more vital [a duty] than performing namaz" [Islamic daily prayers, the main pillar of Islam].

[This is the first time an IRGC commander appears to be issuing a religious edict. Some suggest it is a reformulation of an existing 1988 fatwa by Ayatollah Khomeini.]

'No one dares to claim that the Islamic Republic regime must be destroyed, and no one must dare to challenge the principles of this establishment,' Jafari added.29 Oct 2009"


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Setareh Cheshmakzan

The nature of Sepah

by Setareh Cheshmakzan on

Thank you jigsawnovich. The nature of Sepah has undoubtedly changed in correspondence with its increasing control and monopoly of not just the military and the apparatus of the state but the enormous political and economic power.  Although many elements within various echelons of Sepah are religious, and although religion IS a very useful tool for regulation and control, but Sepah's unique concentration of economic, political and military power is bound to have changed the predominance of its religious considerations, in favor of more worldly considerations and blessings!  That is why Sepah has been and is undergoing continuous purge in line with this transformation.  There is now less and less of the old style interference in people's private sphere and liberties.  When I visited Iran some months ago, in a very lively garden party where alcohol was fearlessly on display and loud music and singing was there to publicize it (!), in response to my anxieties about being raided and 'found out', my hosts and other guests merrily replied that 'they are mainly not that different from us, they come from this population, they do the same things themselves.  It is the question of who holds power'.  

I believe it IS the question of power and a secular Sepah would be just as brutal in preservation of its power and economic interests as its fundamentalist counterparts. 


jigsnowich: you must not be

by vildemose on

jigsnowich: you must not be Iranian. The Sepah views itself more religious and the real protectors of Islam. They view the clerics as fake muslims. In fact, the country might become more religious a la Talaban.

The Sepah are the Iranian Talabans. The clergies are the only thing standing between them and turning Iran into a real medieval Talabanasque country.


Of course

by Cost-of-Progress on

IRGC will never ever be secular.... Currently, this occupying regime has sensed danger and feels a treat to its existence. The comments made by this guards commander are aligned and formulated as a measure to reassert the fact that this regime's bread and butter lies in its ways to repress the enslaved Iranains through religion.

What Iran needs is a renaissance of hearts and minds to rid itself of the brutal grip of this cancer we know as Islam.  This is far easier said - than done!