The Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution (Persian: سپاه پاسداران انقلاب اسلامی / Sepāh-e Pāsdārān-e Enqelāb-e Eslāmi, or Sepāh for short), often called Revolutionary Guards, is a branch of Iran's military, founded after the Iranian revolution to prevent internal dissident and military uprisings. The IRGC has 125,000 military personnel including ground, air and naval forces. It also controls the paramilitary Basij militia which has 90,000 active personnel, and in recent years has developed into a "multibillion-dollar business empire," and is reportedly the "third-wealthiest organization in Iran" after the National Iranian Oil Company and the Imam Reza Endowment.
Since its origin as an ideologically driven militia, the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution has taken an ever more assertive role in virtually every aspect of Iranian society. Its expanded social, political, military, and economic role under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's administration — especially during the 2009 presidential election and post-election suppression of protest — has led many analysts to argue that its political power has surpassed even that of the Shiite clerical system.
The Chief Commander of the Guardians is Mohammad Ali Jafari, who was preceded by Yahya Rahim Safavi.