Revolutionary Guards unveil propaganda bookmobiles

Reuters

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei dressed in a Revolutionary Guards uniform walks with soldiers at an undisclosed location during the Iran-Iraq war, in this undated handout image.

Article Highlights

  • The IRGC is charged not only with territorial defense, but also with the protection of Iran’s revolutionary ideology.

    Tweet This

  • Concern regarding the distracting influence of external culture extends to the IRGC.

    Tweet This

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is charged not only with territorial defense, but also with the protection of Iran’s revolutionary ideology. For the leadership of the Revolutionary Guards, the latter job is never ending. The Friday prayer leaders may spread the Supreme Leader’s vision in weekly sermons delivered in every city and town, but during the week Iranians are bombarded with cultural temptations, be they in manifestations of pre-revolutionary Iranian culture, Western television and radio beamed in from abroad, or from CDs and DVDs available on the Iranian black market. Indeed, this is at the root of the Iranian leadership’s obsession with “soft warfare” and what Iranian ideologues often call the “cultural NATO.”

Concern regarding the distracting influence of external culture extends to the IRGC. While many analysts and journalists place Iranian politicians along a continuum ranging from reformers to hardliners, there is no corollary understanding of the factional divisions within the IRGC. Some authors have tried to describe IRGC factions, but insight into personnel does not exist with the precision needed to categorize individual officers, let alone rank-and-file guardsmen, by faction. All but the most elite IRGC units, which are more ideologically vetted, probably contain a mix of guardsmen, some of whom may be committed to revolutionary principles, but others of whom might have only joined the IRGC for the economic, social, and vocational benefits that accompany membership.

It is in this context that the IRGC’s mobile propaganda bookmobiles—the announcement of which is excerpted here—is interesting. While it may sound harsh to label them “propaganda bookmobiles,” the term propaganda (tablighat) tends not to have the same negative connotation in Persian that it does in English; indeed, it is the term that is also used for television commercials. Nevertheless, the fact that the Revolutionary Guards must send mobile propaganda units to the peripheries of Iran, such as the three United Arab Emirate islands which Iran occupies in the Persian Gulf, might suggest that the IRGC leadership recognizes the hold of Ayatollah Khomeini’s philosophy on its rank-and-file may be tenuous or, at the very least, needs constant reinforcement.

Also Visit
AEIdeas Blog The American Magazine
About the Author

 

Michael
Rubin

What's new on AEI

In year four of Dodd-Frank, over-regulation is getting old
image Halbig v. Burwell: A stunning rebuke of a lawless and reckless administration
image Beware all the retirement 'crisis' reports
image Cut people or change how they're paid
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 21
    MON
  • 22
    TUE
  • 23
    WED
  • 24
    THU
  • 25
    FRI
Monday, July 21, 2014 | 9:15 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Closing the gaps in health outcomes: Alternative paths forward

Please join us for a broader exploration of targeted interventions that provide real promise for reducing health disparities, limiting or delaying the onset of chronic health conditions, and improving the performance of the US health care system.

Monday, July 21, 2014 | 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Comprehending comprehensive universities

Join us for a panel discussion that seeks to comprehend the comprehensives and to determine the role these schools play in the nation’s college completion agenda.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014 | 8:50 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Who governs the Internet? A conversation on securing the multistakeholder process

Please join AEI’s Center for Internet, Communications, and Technology Policy for a conference to address key steps we can take, as members of the global community, to maintain a free Internet.

Thursday, July 24, 2014 | 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Expanding opportunity in America: A conversation with House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan

Please join us as House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) unveils a new set of policy reforms aimed at reducing poverty and increasing upward mobility throughout America.

Event Registration is Closed
Thursday, July 24, 2014 | 6:00 p.m. – 7:15 p.m.
Is it time to end the Export-Import Bank?

We welcome you to join us at AEI as POLITICO’s Ben White moderates a lively debate between Tim Carney, one of the bank’s fiercest critics, and Tony Fratto, one of the agency’s staunchest defenders.

No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.