The financial power of the Revolutionary Guards
guardian / Julian Borger and Robert Tait

It is impossible to gauge its share of Iran's GDP, but western estimates range from a third to nearly two-thirds.

Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani encouraged the Revolutionary Guard to get involved in business in the 90s Photograph: Vahid Salemi/AP

The extent of the Revolutionary Guards' control over the Iranian economy is ­apparent as soon as you enter the country. They run the main international airport, and the manner in which they acquired it was a bruising demonstration of the way big business is now done in Iran.

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