IRGC online manuals being translated into English for first time, says report

Report by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change has called the Revolutionary Guard Corps Tehran’s ‘ideological army'

(FILES) In this file photo taken on September 22, 2018 shows members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) marching during the annual military parade which markins the anniversary of the outbreak of the devastating 1980-1988 war with Saddam Hussein's Iraq, in the capital Tehran. Iran's top security body called an urgent meeting on January 3, 2020 over the "martyrdom" of Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani by the United States in Baghdad, semi-official news agency ISNA reported. The United States announced earlier that it had killed the commander of the Islamic republic's Quds Force, Qasem Soleimani, in a strike on Baghdad's international airport early on Friday. / AFP / afp / STRINGER
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A new report by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change has said Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps' internal training manuals, freely available on the internet in Farsi, has just become available in English.

The report from the organisation, led by the former British prime minister, was released as Mr Blair pressed the case for the UK and the EU to designate the IRGC a terrorist organisation.

The IRGC, the report says, has “an ideological mission" to defend its extreme beliefs at home and export them abroad.

The report shows how the IRGC’s internal documents articulate a violent and extremist interpretation of Islam that portrays other religions, the West and regime opponents as mortal enemies of the religion.

It is through such messages that the Guard exports its doctrine to its regional proxy militias, spreading violence throughout the Middle East, the report says.

“These internal manuals reveal how the IRGC operates as an institutionalised militia, with a formal programme of indoctrination that seeks to radicalise its members and proxies in the region with a violent distortion of Islam,” said Kasra Aarabi, of the Institute for Global Change.

Mr Aarabi said evidence in the report showed the IRGC’s extremist ideology should be treated as seriously as that of ISIS and Al Qaeda.

The report also outlines how the IRGC operates as an “institutionalised militia” and uses a formalised programme of indoctrination to radicalise recruits.

“We should recognise today that all over the Middle East and wider region there is one essential struggle – a struggle against extremism and in favour of rule-based economies and religiously tolerant societies,” Mr Blair said.

Parallels can also be drawn between the IRGC’s brand of extremism and other radical ideologies that have drawn the attention of international policy makers, the report concludes.

In April 2019, the US designated the IRGC as a terror organisation as it continued its policy of maximum pressure on Tehran.

On January 3, the US assassinated senior IRGC commander Gen Qassem Suleimani in a Baghdad drone strike.

Mr Blair will talk about tension with Iran at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York this week.

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