Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) plays an important role in the Iranian economy now. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, himself a former commander of the IRGC, belonging to a newly formed faction in the mullahs’ hierarchy called the Abadgaran swept the Majlis (parliament) seats and soon became the dominant power in the country’s economy. Indirectly, the IRGC controls both executive branch and dominates the Iranian financial system. With the backing of the entire security apparatus and full support of the political power centers in the clerical rule, IRGC has become the unique power broker in Iran.
The engineering units of both IRGC and the State Security Forces (SSF) with many of the retired commanders of both forces were assigned to the so-called "financial branch" of the IRGC. Lucrative government contracts have been awarded to the IRGC without having to report the enormous income generated to the Central Bank.
A. Oil and gas projects
– Commissioning the Development of phases15 and 16 of South Pars gas fields
On June 28, 2006, the contract for development of phases 15 and 16 of South Pars Gas Field was signed in the presence of then Oil Minister with the deputy commander of Khatamolanbia Garrison. The theoretical goal is to produce 50 million metric tons of refined natural gas per year. In addition it is anticipated that one million tons of "ethanol" gas will be produced and another 1,050,000 tons of liquid gas will be produced as well. The offshore drillings of the same project is also monopolized by Khatamolanbia Garrison in southwestern city of Asaloyeh.
The original value of the contract was estimated at $2.95 billion. However, adding the offshore development costs, it would be $9.2 billion. Former CEO of Pars Gas Company, Akbar Turkan, commenting on how to come up with the sizable budget for the project, said, "President Ahmadinejad ordered Iran’s Central Bank to finance the project by withdrawing from the foreign exchange reserves," the state-run news agency Fars reported on March 5, 2006.
– Lucrative contract to build a major gas pipeline
On June 7, 2007, a major contract, worth $3.1 billion, to build a 900 kilometers pipeline from southern cities of Asaloyeh and Bandar Abbas on the Persian Gulf to the impoverish southeastern province of Sistan and Baluchestan was signed between Khatamolanbia Garrison and Iranian National Oil Company. Former Commander of IRGC, Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi and Oil Minister were present at the signing ceremony.
– New oil and gas resource discoveries
With the help of Chinese companies, the Khatamolanbia Garrison has begun discovering new oil and gas resources.
B. Building Construction Projects
It has been a fact that the IRGC has been building secret bomb proof bunkers for quite sometime now. These facilities are designed to conceal the newly manufactured missiles as well as underground nuclear projects. Some sources believe that the IRGC is involved in building bomb proof shelters for the missile it provided for Hezbollah in Lebanon.
-IRGC and utility projects
In the mid-summer, Iran’s Ministry of Energy awarded the IRGC a fat deal to develop water and electricity lines to remote Iranian villages. Ironically, there were no other competitors except the IRGC; it won the contract without running into any problem.
Reza Shafa is an expert on the Iranian regimeâ€™s intelligence networks.