Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has instructed the Revolutionary Guard Corps to decrease its investment participation in the state economy, raising the possibility that some of the organization’s holdings may be privatized.
The announcement was made by Iranian Defense Minister General Amir Hatami.
Speaking to state-run IRAN newspaper, Hatami stated that Khamenei instructed both the country’s regular armed forces and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to withdraw from business that is not directly affiliated with their work.
According to Hatami, Khamenei instructed the armed forces and the IRGC to either divest economic holdings on the country’s capital markets or sell them to the private sector, according to a report by Bloomberg.
“They will pursue this matter until these forces withdraw from irrelevant economic activities, ” Hatami added.
The defense minister did not disclose what companies would be privatized. According to Radio Farda’s report on the issue, Hatami alluded to entities related to the “investment sector.”
Khamenei’s office did not comment on the issue or on the IRGC.
According to Bloomberg, the IRGC has holdings in Iranian construction, energy, banking, insurance and telecommunications industries.
“Our success depends on market conditions,” Hatami reportedly said.
The idea that the IRGC should decrease its share in the state economy has been pursued by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani since early in his first term in office.
While the IRGC is estimated to have control over one third of the state economy, it is unlikely that the organization will withdraw entirely, as one of its task is to assist and support the government on various projects at its request and this could take the shape of economic activities — a directive cemented in the Islamic Republic’s constitution.
“These tasks are of another nature and are in order to help various sectors,” Hatami said. “Depending on the requirements of the government, this work can continue or it may not.”
According to Radio Farda, the Khatam ol-Anbia, the country’s major engineering arm and one of Iran’s largest contractors in industrial and development projects, will continue to operate in the construction sector, according to the needs of government.