Beyond the Headlines on Iran’s Economic Transformation / Kevan Harris

When discussing the current state of Iran’s economy, commentators, activists, politicians, and the U.S. government all seem to agree on the massive role played by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Stanford University Professor Abbas Milani told an audience at the Carnegie Endowment in Washington D.C. in June 2010 that this “military junta” controls “minimally about 60% of the economy”.  Green Movement leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi have lamented the IRGC’s economic takeover in their perennial letters and interviews.  Even many conservatives in Iran’s narrowed but still fractious political elite have protested the transferring of state-owned enterprises and land to military-linked companies. Among the general population, the influence of the IRGC has become so well-known that any cab driver in Tehran can identify the highways and tunnels being built by the organization or its affiliates.

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