For decades, Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the IRGC, has been extending its power and reach. Founded in 1979 to defend Iran's Islamic revolutionary principles at home and export them abroad, the IRGC now controls Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile programs, its foreign terror operations, the repression of the Iranian populace, and broad swaths of the Iranian economy.
U.S. State Department Deputy Spokesman Gordon Duguid commented on the IRGC's expanding role, including its current control of 9 out of 21 cabinet ministries:
"This is an unprecedented level since the Islamic Republic was established. Also, you've had disputed elections that have taken place since last year, and the unprecedented repression of opposition to those election results. You have a regime in Tehran that is more and more resembling a police state in which force is used to suppress discussion, to suppress demonstrations, and to control the activities of its people."
On her recent trip to the Middle East, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that the increasing role of the Revolutionary Guard is moving Iran "toward a military dictatorship."
Secretary of State Clinton says that as the IRGC expands its power, repression of the people of Iran increases and the regime's "belligerence and negativity [are] even more prevalent