Image by Khamenei.ir, via Wikimedia Commons. Accessed 29.01.2017
The 2015 deal between Iran and Western powers is yet to fully unravel in terms of reducing barriers and promoting opportunities for both sides. One of the actors most affected by the deal is the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (“IRGC”), who have built up a strong commercial presence in Iran that cannot simply be jettisoned.
While Rouhani has steadily tried to reduce the economic influence of the IRGC since his first election as President in 2013, the Revolutionary Guards are trying to counter his attempts. They will not be side-lined that easily, not least because the Iranian Constitution states that they have to use their capacities and capabilities to contribute to economic development during times of peace.
Despite all calls for more support to the private sector, the state and parastatal sectors have largely benefited from the nuclear deal and the removal of sanctions. With the nuclear deal agreement and implementation, the IRGC felt that their economic monopoly was being threatened. However, paradoxically and unwillingly, the deal appears to have strengthened their position, as shown by a Reuters survey dated January 2017.