Information on the branch of the Revolutionary Guards (Pasdaran, Sepah) responsible for intelligence, its structure, activities, and goals [IRN28847.E]

Kenneth Katzman, author of The Warriors of Islam: Iran's Revolutionary Guard, states that the Revolutionary Guard established an Intelligence Unit "attached to all levels of its command structure" in order more effectively to combat armed organized opponents of the Islamic Republic, especially the Mojahedin-e-Khalq (1993, 83). Katzman adds that the Intelligence Unit was to have been "merged with the Ministry of Intelligence when that bureau was constituted in 1984 ... the Guard's Intelligence Unit remains separate and active, in part duplicating the efforts of the Intelligence Ministry" (ibid.). However, a 1995 ODR report says that the Intelligence Unit, created in 1981, "was incorporated within the newly created Intelligence Ministry, or Vezarat-e Ettela'at," but nevertheless maintained a considerable degree of autonomy (13 Jan. 1995, 4).

A German government report on Iranian intelligence activities in Germany published in the German newspaper Frankfurter Rundschau on 28 March 1995 claims that "[t]he intelligence service of the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC-armed force)"

is to be found in numerous Iranian facilities. So far, employees of this service have been identified with the Iranian Embassy, in semi-private firms, and in branches of Iranian foundations, such as the "Mostaz'afan." the activity of the IRGC employees that has been discovered in Germany so far is concentrated on the acquisition of military materiel; the acquisition of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons ... and security tasks within Iran Air (the posts of chief of security and armed security personnel aboard aircraft).

The IRGC employees identified in Germany so far are in close cooperation with employees of the Ministry of Information residency in the Iranian Embassy.

A 5 June 1996 article in the London newspaper Al-Sharq al-Awsat reports that Iran's Revolutionary Guards run training courses for armed opposition organizations from Iraq, Turkey, Lebanon, Palestine, and other countries in several camps in Iran. According to the article, participants in these training courses sometimes travel to Iran via Syria or Cyprus, "where they are received by representatives of the Revolutionary Guard's intelligence organ."

In the fall of 1996, the head of the Intelligence Unit of the Revolutionary Guards was identified as General Mohammed Jaferi (General Sardar Mohamed Jaafari) (AFP 15 Oct. 1996). He was posted to a joint command centre with the Iraqi Kurdish opposition organization, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), in the Iraqi city of Sulaymaniyah (ibid.). Defence and Foreign Affairs' Strategic Policy reported that Jaferi (Jaafari) was the head of the Revolutionary Guard's intelligence service in Iraqi Kurdistan (30 Sept. 1996).

On 3 June 1996 the government of Bahrain accused the Iranian government and the "intelligence department of the Iranian revolutionary guards" of supporting a militant Shi(i organization, "the Military Wing of Hezbollah ( Bahrain," which was accused of attempting to overthrow the Bahraini government (AP 3 June 1996).

On 19 February 1998, Intelligence Newsletter reported that "the military intelligence service" of the Revolutionary Guard had used an Iranian-based branch of al-Daawa, an Iraqi Islamist opposition group, "to infiltrate Baghdad and operate against Massud Radjavi's People's Mujahedeen," an Iranian armed opposition organization based in Iraq.

Additional information on the institutional structure of the intelligence branch of the Revolutionary Guard could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within time limits.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.


Agence France Presse (AFP). 15 October 1996. "Terrorism." (FBIS-TOT-97-001-L 15 Oct. 1996/WNC)

Al-Sharq al-Awsat [London, in Arabic]. 5 June 1996. "Iran: Revolutionary Guard Training Camps Profiled." (FBIS-NES-96-110 5 June 1996/WNC)

Associated Press (AP). 3 June 1996. Adnan Malik. "Bahrain: Coup Plot Foiled." (Global NewsBank)

Defence and Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy. 30 September 1996. "New Intelligence Bosses in Kurdistan." (International Media Corporation 30 Sept. 1996/NEXIS)

Frankfurter Rundschau [Frankfurt, in German]. 28 March 1995. "German Report Exposes Iranian Intelligence Service." (FBIS-NES-95-062 28 Mar. 1995/WNC)

Intelligence Newsletter. 19 February 1998. "Split in Iraq's Al Daawa Movement." (Indigo Publications 19 Feb. 1998/NEXIS)

Katzman, Kenneth. 1993. The Warriors of Islam: Iran's Revolutionary Guard. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press.

ODR Bulletin d'Information [Berne]. 13 January 1995. Iranian Security Forces.