The New York TimesThe New York Times

Iran's loyal security forces protect ruling system that protesters want to topple

By Ben Hubbard and Farnaz Fassihi

17 Oct 2022 · 6 min read

Editor's Note

Who are the men beating down women and teenagers in the streets of Iran? The New York Times explains why Iran’s most powerful military force resorts to brutal tactics to maintain power.

The intensity of protests that have swept Iran over the past month, with calls to topple the Islamic Republic, have shaken the state. But in some ways, the country’s authoritarian clerical rulers have been preparing for this moment since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, which established a conservative theocracy that has held firm until today.

The revolution’s founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, ordered the creation of the Revolutionary Guard force that same year to defend against coups or defections by the regular army.

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