I.R.G.C. Increases Its Involvement in Iran’s Agricultural Sector

By Ahmad Majidyar | Fellow and Director of IranObserved Project - The Middle East Institute | Apr 6, 2017
I.R.G.C. Increases Its Involvement in Iran’s Agricultural Sector

The head of Khatam al-Anbia Construction Headquarters has said that the conglomerate last year began to implement large-scale agricultural projects in remote provinces to tackle poverty, create jobs and improve security. The company is the main construction and engineering arm of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (I.R.G.C.). According to General Ebadollah Abdollahi, the company’s head, the agricultural projects will strengthen Iran’s “resistance economy” – a term Iranian leaders use for a set of policies advocated by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to reduce the country’s dependency on foreign exports, promote self-sufficiency, and counter the impact of international sanctions. These projects are being implemented in the provinces of Khuzestan, West Azerbaijan, Kerman, Sistan and Baluchestan, Lorestan, Yazd, Kermanshah, and Khorasan-e Razavi.

Comment: Founded by the Islamic Republic’s founder Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini after the 1979 revolution to safeguard the regime, the I.R.G.C. has not only evolved into Iran’s most powerful military force but also dominates the country’s key economic and industrial sectors, such as energy, construction, telecommunication, media, mining, electronics, automobile, banking, nuclear, and more. The I.R.G.C.'s involvement in the agricultural field is the latest indicator of the I.R.G.C.’s growing power and influence as well as the increasing militarization of Iran’s economy.

On February 28, I.R.G.C. Chief Commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari announced that his forces are now involved in Iran’s agricultural industry in an effort to help the country’s policy of “resistance economy” and self-reliance. “Sepah [I.R.G.C.], in addition to other missions, has recently entered the fields of agriculture to assist the resistance economy,” he added.

While I.R.G.C. leaders claim I.R.G.C. companies’ involvement in the economic sector benefits the Iranian people and economy, in reality the I.R.G.C spends most of the revenues on military expenditures at home and abroad. Khatam al-Anbia and its front companies implement major projects not only inside Iran but also in regional countries, particularly in conflict zones such as Syria and Iraq. The company is one of the main sources of revenue for the I.R.G.C. In October 2007, the U.S. Department of Treasury designated Khatam al-Anbia because I.R.G.C. uses profits from the company for its illicit activities, including nuclear proliferation and support for terrorism in the Middle East.

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