The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) is one of the oldest institutions of the Islamic Republic of Iran, yet, it is less than 40 years old, and there is still no consensus on how it was formed and who were its real founders.
The IRGC, which is tasked with "defending the Islamic revolution" as opposed to the conventional army that defends the borders of the country, has been used as a tool for Ayatolah Rouhollah Khomeini's "Exporting the revolution" thesis. In fact, one of the founders of IRGC, Mohammad Montazeri, was in charge of the office for liberation movements with links to militant groups in Libya and Lebanon.
IRGC facilitates Iran's long reach in areas as wide and far as Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa though its extra-territorial army the Qods Force.
IRGC's links to Lebanese Hezballah and Palestinan groups such as Hamas is public knowledge and its role in regional civil wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen, has been the topic of numerous media reports.
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