The leader of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (I.R.G.C.) has that his forces are now involved in Iran’s agricultural industry in an effort to help the country’s policy of “resistance economy” and self-reliance. “Sepah [I.R.G.C.], in addition to other missions, has recently entered the fields of agriculture to assist the resistance economy,” I.R.G.C.'s Chief Commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari said at a gathering of Iranian scientists and technology experts on Tuesday. “God willing, Sepah will be the first to seek and purchase domestic technological products,” he pledged, urging other Iranian entities to buy domestic products instead of importing foreign merchandise. He also tasked the head of the Basij Organization to develop a mechanism to ensure that the purchase of domestic products is given priority.

Comment: Iranian leaders - particularly those from the I.R.G.C. and the clerical establishment - use the term “resistance economy” to emphasize policies that help promote self-reliance and counter international economic sanctions.

In early 2014, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei a decree that outlined general policies for the “resistance economy”  that required the government to diversity Iran’s exports, reduce the country’s dependence on foreign imports of raw materials, and develop knowledge-based high-tech industries. Even after the Rouhani government signed a nuclear agreement with world powers in July 2015 and hoped the deal would boost the country’s economic and trade relations with the outside world, Khamenei and I.R.G.C. leaders continued to look inward for Iran’s economic development. The Supreme Leader named the current Persian year – which ends on March 20 – the “Year of Resistance Economy: Action and Implementation.” This shows that Khamenei, who has the final say on all state matters, does not want the nuclear deal to divert attention from the regime’s efforts to reduce its vulnerability to external pressures and economic sanctions.

And I.R.G.C. has been the main beneficiary of the regime’s “economic resistance” policies. Founded by the Islamic Republic’s founder Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini after the 1979 revolution to safeguard the regime from internal and external threats, the I.R.G.C. has not only evolved into Iran’s most powerful military force but also dominates the country’s key economic sectors, such as energy, construction, telecommunication, media, mining, electronics, automobile, banking, nuclear, and more. The I.R.G.C.'s involvement in the agricultural field is the latest indicator of the I.R.G.C.’s growing power and influence as well as the increasing militarization of Iran’s economy.