Revolutionary Guard (Iran)

Country: Iran
Details of Formation: The revolutionary guards were created after the Islamic Revolution in 1979 by Ayatollah Khomeyni. They were founded to protect the principles of the revolution by assisting the clerics to enforce the new Islamic law. (Wikipedia)
Details of Termination: The group is not terminated.
Purpose: After the Islamic Revolution the new government feared possible opposition by the regular army as they were traditionally loyal to the Shah. Hence, they created the Revolutionary Guards to consolidate the paramilitary forces. In addition to protecting the Islamic principles in Iran, the group also wants to spread its ideology abroad. (Wikipedia)
Organisation: The militia is fully institutionalized with its own ministry that directly reports to the Supreme Leader. Its structure is very similar to the regular army because it was intended to counter the army’s influence and power. Since 2008, the group is made up of 31 divisions that are spread across the whole country. The Quds Force is a subdivision of the Revolutionary Guard and also conducts operations in other countries. In addition, the Basij Militia (another PGM) is subordinate to the Revolutionary Guards. President Rafsanjani tried to merge army and Revolutionary Guards after Khomeyni’s death; however, this plan was met with resistance from commanders. (Wikipedia, al-Husna 2016: 145)
Weapons and Training: Militia members are heavily armed with rifles and pistols. The members also receive training in how to use these weapons.
Size: Shortly after formation, the group had about 60,000 members. They have expanded to an organization that has about 250,000 military personnel including air and naval forces. (Wikipedia)
Reason for Membership: Sources (see PGMD sources from 1985 and 2007) report that the commanders of the group are deeply ideological. In addition, membership can help ease applications for jobs in public administration and university enrollment.
Treatment of Civilians: The militia represses political dissidents. With its violent behavior towards internal threats such as political opposition or criminals, it contributes to the escalation of violence (Wikipedia).
Other Information: Other name Pasdaran. In 2011, The Gazette (Montreal) reports that the group's loyalty primarily goes towards the Ayatollah while they maintain distance from president Ahmadinejad: "Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards and Basij militia have distanced themselves from Ahmadinejad and remain fiercely loyal to Khamenei." The Revolutionary Guard was initially created as an non-political organization which is why President Rafsanjani and other reformists tried to curbed its political role. In this situation, the group became allies with Supreme Leader Khamenei when reformists threatened his position. In 2009, there was a bombing allegedly carried out by Pakistan where several top commanders of the Revolutionary Guard were killed. Further, members of the group were killed in operations abroad. (Wikipedia)
References: al-Husna, Sadiq. 2016. "Essay: Iran's Revolutionary Guard." Middle East Policy 23(3): 144-150.

Wikipedia. “Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution”.