Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp. (IRGC) structure

First it was supposed to be named “National Guard”, however the Council of the Islamic Revolution suggested the name of “Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC)” in 1979. An organization that was designated to guarding the Islamic Revolution. The first article of is statute clearly states the aim of this organization as “guarding the Islamic Revolution of Iran and its achievements, and constant endeavor in the way of realizing the divine ideals and spread of the rule of God in accordance to the law of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the full strengthening of defense of Islamic Republic through cooperation with other
armed forces and through military training and organization of popular forces” a statute that included 49 articles and 16 notes and was ratified on 6 September 1982 by the Guardian Council.

Until the formation of the Ministry of Intelligence of the Islamic Republic of Iran (MOIS) in 1983, the IRGC Intelligence Unit was one of the parallel institutions that carried out intelligence activities in the country. After the formation of MOIS these parallel activities turned to a tight competition between the two organizations which led to internal conflicts between the two. A conflict that continued for years during the Hashemi Rafsanjani presidency to Khatami presidency (before and after the political assassinations of autumn of 1998) and still continues to this day. Finally, in October 2009, with the direct order of the supreme leader this organization was officially promoted to the Intelligence of Revolutionary Guards.

After the political assassinations of the fall of 1998 and later specifically after 2009 events known as the Green Movement, the IRGC Intelligence became the main security institution dealing with critics, dissidents, and political, civil, and ideological activists in Iran. From the arrest of the nationalist-religious Activists of Iran in 2000 and their transfer to the IRGC 59 Detention Center in the Ishratabad (Vali-e-Asr) until today, the IRGC’s intelligence system has surpassed other intelligence agencies in the country in dealing with those who are deemed threat to the security of the regime and has become the main human rights violator in the country. Furthermore, IRGC has become the largest military institution today and one of the most effective economic, security and political actors in Iran.

The IRGC Command is appointed by the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic, who is the highest-ranking official of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Iran. According to Article 110 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the appointment, removal and acceptance of the resignation of the Commander-in Chief of the Revolutionary Guards is one of the powers of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. This issue is also specified in items 1, 12 and 28 of the IRGC statute. Also, according to the note in paragraph 15 of Article 15 of the IRGC Statute, “The content of educational, ideological, and political programs and publications and propaganda must be approved by the Supreme Leader or the representative he has appointed in the IRGC.” According to Articles 18 and 20 of this statute, the representative of the Supreme Leader is also a member of the Supreme Council of the IRGC, and without his presence, the meetings of the Supreme Council of the IRGC will not be formalized. Also, the representative of the Supreme Leader in the IRGC is appointed directly by the Supreme Leader, and he is in charge of forces and institutions such as the Deputy Representative of the Supreme Leader in the IRGC, the representative of the Supreme Leader in the relevant forces and institutions, the Office of Sharia Approval of Criteria and Programs, Institutions such as the Imam Sadegh Institute of Islamic Sciences and the Mahallati High Complex have seniority and supervision.

According to the organizational chart of the IRGC, the Commander-in-Chief of this institution is the most senior official in this group, and the four IRGC forces, namely the Army, Navy, Air Force and IRGC Quds Force, are defined under this command. Also, the joint headquarters of the Revolutionary Guards and the Deputy  Commander-in-Chief of the Revolutionary Guards are defined under the command of this institution. More so, the head of the IRGC Joint Staff and the deputy commander of the IRGC are defined under the supervision of the IRGC Command. However, his appointment decrees are issued by the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic.


According to the same organizational chart, the Deputy Commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is the senior official of the following groups: 

Basij (the Mobalization): Basij is a paramilitary volunteer militia that was created with the order of Khomeini to send volunteers to fight in Iran-Iraq war. However later in 17 Febuary 1981 it was officially incorporated into IRGC and became one of the five forces of the IRGC. 

IRGC Camps and bases including:

  • Education and Training Center for Excellence,
  • Progress and Development Camp,
  • Sarollah Base in Tehran,
  • Rahyan Noor Base,
  • Borunsi Base in Mashhad,
  • Fighting Deprivation Camp and Soft War Camp (Baqiyatallah).

Departments including:

  • Executive,
  • Emergency Relief,
  • Health and Medical Education,
  • Safety,
  • Inspection,
  • Physical Education,
  • Ideological-Political Education and Training,
  • Industrial Research,
  • Support and Logistics,
  • Preservation,
  • Legal,
  • Public Relations and Advertising,
  • Political,
  • Strategic Planning,
  • Operations,
  • Cultural and Social,
  • Information and Communication Technology,
  • Finance,
  • Engineering,
  • Manpower,
  • Coordinators,
  • Provincial IRGC

Intelligence and security institutions such as:

  • IRGC Intelligence Organization,
  • Cyber Defense Command
  • And Information Protection Organization
    The Information Protection Organization also includes the two institutions of the Ansar al-Mahdi Protection Corps (physical protection) and the Aviation Protection Corps.

Scientific and educational centers:

  • Baqiyatallah University,
  • Imam Hussein police and guarding university,
  • Imam Hussein Comprehensive University

Cultural and social institutions:

  • Tasnim News Agency,
  • Political Office,
  • Javan Newspaper,
  • High Council of Thought

Economic institutions:

  • Bonyad Taavon Sepah (BTS)
  • Khatam al-Anbiya (Khatam): construction arm of IRGC, initially Khatam was involved in reconstruction of places destroyed after the war, but eventually using their influence in getting government contracts Khatam became one of the main construction units in the country.

as mentioned above, in the field of media, groups such as Fars News Agency, Tasnim News Agency, Javan Newspaper, Daneshjoo News Agency and Nasim News Agency are affiliated with the IRGC. In the field of cinema, “Owj Arts and Media Organization” is affiliated with the IRGC and is one of the most powerful organizations in Iranian cinema today.


  1. IRGC Statutes, The Research Center of the Islamic legislative Assembly
  2. Montazeri, O. (2020). Published film of Intelligence Ministry, revealing the conflict with IRGC. BBC Persian
  3. Montazeri, O. (2019). What’s Happening at the Intelligence Ministry?, BBC Persian
  4. Bastani, H. (2017). How far is the conflict between IRGC and Intelligence ministry going? BBC Persian

Spreading Justice: A database of human rights abusers in Iran

Spreading Justice: A database of human rights abusers in Iran

For fifteen years HRA has maintained a victim-centric approach to documenting and reporting on human rights violations in the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI); The primary focus has been to document rights abuses and highlight the crimes perpetrated against victims. Through the years, while perpetrators have enjoyed widespread impunity, victims have endlessly struggled for justice

On the occasion of the International Day for the Right to the Truth Concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims, and alongside the adoption of the resolution on the situation of human rights in the IRI at the 46th session of the Human Rights Council, HRA launches Spreading Justice, a database of human rights violators in Iran.

At Tuesday’s closing of the Human Rights Council, organizations, member States, and activists alike called for an end to impunity in Iran.  Spreading Justice was created to equip the international community with a tool to work towards holding perpetrators accountable, increasing both social and political pressure, and ending the widespread impunity that is currently enjoyed throughout the country.

The database, housed at, includes unique profiles of both individual and institutional violators; those well known as well as those that seemingly fly under the radar.

Who is included in the database?

While all known violators will be included, Spreading Justice is primarily focused on new human rights violations. While many individuals or institutions included in the database have been committing violations for several years, there are oftentimes recent events that have contributed to their place in the database. By placing a focus on recent events, researchers are better positioned to collect, document, and fact-check information on the violations in question.

Along with profiles of individual violators, such as Masoud Safdari, there are also profiles for institutional violators like the Tehran Islamic Revolutionary Court. Profiles of institutional violators are linked to the profiles of affiliated individuals, both individual violators, as well as individual and group victims. This feature aims to aid in establishing connections for research purposes. Similarly, when users click on a victim’s name, they are directed to a list of any violators within the database that may also be affiliated. 

While the existing profiles are complete, users are able to aid in the development of profiles by anonymously submitting additional information. Informed users are encouraged to submit both missing information and information on violators not currently included through an anonymous, easy to use and secure form. All information submitted through this form is verified for authenticity before being added to the database. Utilizing a tool created by a German University, users are also able to submit information on a wide array of physical appearance indicators. Facemaker, the tool mentioned above, mocks a virtual drawing of the violator based on user submissions. These submissions are compiled for internal comparative analyses.

HRA researchers have spent countless hours collecting, documenting, and verifying the information within the database. All of the information included has been through a strenuous fact-checking process and is verified for authenticity prior to being added. New profiles will continue to be added to the database in real-time as information is collected and verified.

All of the information, documents, and reports collected on violators are both online and stored internally via PDF. Requests for documents can be made through the Contact Us page.

How are the violators profiled?

Over the years, HRA has learned what information is most necessary for stakeholders when working towards holding violators accountable. The lessons learned were taken into consideration when building out the database. The individual violator profiles, where available, include a photo or photos of the violator, evidentiary documents (including witness or victim testimony and/or relevant multimedia), verified articles written by reputable media outlets that have mentioned the violator by name, and a detailed legal review written by Brian Currin, a leading expert in international human rights. One can also find information on work history, current residency, travel history, and educational background.

The profiles include basic information such as full name and any alternative spellings, date of birth, place of birth, and any current institutional affiliation. If a violator has known family members, such as a spouse or child, they are listed by name. Additionally, there is information on physical appearance including, eye color, hair color, height, and weight. Certain aspects of the basic and physical information are categorized into one of three levels of certainty: exact, partial, and approximated. Information categorized as exact is verified and precise. Partial is listed when some part of the information provided is unknown at the time of writing. The approximation category is used when HRA researchers have used approximating techniques with available information to offer a range. Institutional Violators are profiled similarly. Users also have the ability to toggle between both unit and date conversions.

Violators are tagged and searchable by documented victims, identified rights violations, and any relevant institutional affiliation. All of the profiles are available in a downloadable PDF format. Download links are located at the bottom of all violator profiles alongside a form to submit any missing information.

How does one use the database?

Spreading Justice is available in both English and Farsi. Users can search the database utilizing a variety of tagged violation indicators including torture, the right to life, labor rights, women’s rights, social rights, prisoner’s rights, the right to peaceful assembly, freedom of expression and thought, and more. These searches enable those focused on specific violation types to filter. One can also search tags by institutional affiliation such as the Tehran Islamic Revolutionary Court or the Iranian Cyber Police among others. The database is also searchable by victim name to assist lawyers or researchers working on specific cases. There is additionally an option to search by keyword. Users can find the main search tool on theSpreading Justice homepage.

Not simply a database

Spreading Justice is not simply a database, it also offers resources on Iranian power structures and judicial systems, unique reports and analyses on human rights violators in Iran, as well as statistical overviews including a breakdown of the situation of human rights in Iran by province and violation type.

Similarly to the profiles, all of the information found at including statistics, resources, and reports will be updated regularly.

HRA encourages readers to share the Spreading justice database with their networks. For any additional information on Spreading Justice please contact Skylar Thompson, HRA Senior Advocacy Coordinator at [email protected]

The Court System of Iran

Based on the Iran’s constitution the Judiciary “should be an independent power”, which means no one shall be above the law “ultra vires”, however this is contradictory as based on article 57, the judiciary is under authority of the Supreme Leader and  The Supreme leader directly appoints the head of the judiciary (5 year renewable term), who then appoints the Chief Public Prosecutor, head of state chief inspectorate, head of Administrative High Court, and the head of Military Courts (Iranian constitution 1998: article 156, 172, 173, 174). According to article 160 of the Iranian constitution the head of the judiciary recommends candidates for the ‘Minister of Justice’ to the President who then choses one as the Minister of Justice.

There are two basic types of judicial investigations in Iran

  • Legal: these investigations are mostly around settling civil disputes. The legal investigations do not include cases where an act is a “crime” by law and rather its about complaints and disputes between citizens or citizens and a governmental institution.
  • Criminal: The criminal investigations, include cases where there has been a “crime” committed which is punishable by law.

Iran’s Court system consist of ‘General courts’ and ‘Special Courts’

  1. The General Court| دادگاه عمومی

The General Courts have jurisdiction over all cases unless the case falls under the jurisdiction of a ‘Special Court’.
1.1. Preliminary Courts | دادگاه بدوی

  • Civil courts: hears civil disputes which are not within the Dispute Settlement Councils jurisdictions.

‘The Dispute Settlement Council (شورای حل اختلاف)’ follows (1) cases such as properties of minors and those that have incapacities without any beneficiaries. (2) pecuniary disputes of under certain amounts in villages and cities (3) residential tenant evictions, and (4) determining wills or intestacy. All the appeals from The Dispute Settlement Council is heard at the General civil courts.

  • Second Criminal Courts | دادگاه کیفری (دادگاه کیفری دو)
    hears all criminal cases other than the ones that fall within jurisdiction of Special criminal Courts.  This courts are held by one judge.

‘Criminal Dispute Settlement Council’(شورای حل اختلاف کیفری) hears all the summary offences such offences which could result in less than 3 months of imprisonment. However, this body does not issue prison terms.

  • Family courts| دادگاه خانواده  
    hear all cases regarding family disputes and criminal investigations including: (1) Marriage (2) divorce (3) dowry (4) Allomony (5) Guardianship (6) Paternity, and (7) capacity 
  • Juvenile Court| دادگاه اطفال و نوجوانان
    This court is held for those under 18 and should be held by one judge and two social workers.
  • First Criminal Court or Criminal Court of the province| دادگاه کیفری استان (دادگاه کیفری یک)
    this court deals with criminal investigations where the prosecutor is responsible for making a case against the accused. Less serious offences are heard at the Criminal court while indictable offences are brought to the Criminal Court of the Province. This court generally has to be held by 3 judges, for crimes with possible capital punishments court session should be held with 5 judges present. This court hears the following cases: (1) Political and Press offenses, (2) criminal complaints against members of the official bodies such as parliament, ministers, judges, governors, etc. (3) general complaints against police, army, and intelligence ministry authorities, (4) crimes with possible imputation sentences, and (5) crimes with possible Capital punishments such as death penalty, stoning, and life in prison.

    1.2. Appeal Courts| دادگاه تجدید نظر  
  • Appeal Court of the Province: This court has family, Civil and Criminal branches and hears the appeals from the preliminary courts.
  • The Supreme Court: This is the highest court in both criminal and legal investigations. This court has supervision powers over all other courts and is responsible for assuring that all procedures and trials are uniform across cases. The supreme court has both Criminal and General branches and hears the appeals of Criminal Court of The Province and the Revolutionary courts. The jurisdiction of the supreme court also includes resolving disagreements between courts in judgement or interpretations of the law.
    * The head of the Supreme court serves a 5-year term and is nominated by the head of judiciary

2. Special Courts| دادگاه‌های ویژه
The special Courts have been established to have jurisdiction over specific cases such as clergies, militaries and Revolutionary.

  • Revolutionary Courts| دادگاه انقلاب

The revolutionary courts started their work, days after the 1979 revolution with multiple executions carried out before their procedure was written. It was on June 17, 1979 the first codes of procedure for the Revolutionary Courts were established. The first article of this code indicates that the leader of the Islamic Revolution has ordered establishment of office of the revolutionary Public Prosecutor and required numbers of Revolutionary Courts at administrative centers in every province.

On July 4, 1979 the Revolutionary council accepted the bill and the revolutionary courts jurisdictions was set to investigating counter-revolutionary crimes.

The revolutionary courts today are at the capital of each province and any region that the Head of Judiciary orders. They are under direct supervision of the Head of Judicial Distrit.

Revolutionary court hear the following cases: (1) crimes against national security, (2) Insulting the Supreme Leader or the Islamic Revolution Leader, (3) Conspiracy against the Islamic Republic, Armed Terrorism, destruction of institutions in order to undermine the government, (4) spying, (5) Drug Crimes, (6)embezzlement, non-sharia Activities, corruption, etc.

There are also some financial frauds that fall under the jurisdiction of the Revolutionary Courts such as smuggling artifacts, plotting to disturb national exports, disruption of monetary currency, etc.

  • Military Courts| دادگاه نظامی
    This court hears cases where the defendant is part of a security or armed force such as Army, Police, Gendarmery, or IRGC. According to article 172 of the constitution, the Military Court shall hear Crimes of Military forces only when they are in relation to Military or Security duties all other cases committed by these individuals should be heard in general and criminal courts.
  • The Clergy Courts| دادگاه روحانیت
    This courts hears all cases against Clergies.
  • Administrative Court| دیوان عدالت ایران
    This court is the Highest court that hears Administrative dispute. Its jurisdiction includes: (1) complaints of private parties against public administrators i.e. ministers and institutions, (2) cases against regulations, (3) cases of complains of public employees with about their employment, (4) hears appeal of preliminary administrative council.

Related َrticles and Sources:

  1. Lahidji, K. (N.A). The History of the Judiciary in Iran. Legatum institute
  2. Rahmani, T. & Koohshahi, N. (2016). Introduction to Iran’s Judicial System. Journal of Law, Policy, and globalization (Vol45)
  3. Daraeizadeh, B. (2010). Legal Commentary: Alook at Criminal Procedure in Iran. Iran Human Rights Documentation Center.
  4. Zare, M. (2015). An overview of Iranian Legal System. Hauser Global Law School. Retrieved from:

The Border Guard Command (NAJA Border Guard)

From Wikipedia the free Encyclopedia:

The Border Guard Command, commonly known as NAJA Border Guard is a subdivision of the Law Enforcement Force (NAJA) that performs border guard and border control duties for land borders, and coast guard duties for maritime borders. Between 1991 and 2000, border control was the responsibility of the Security deputy of NAJA. Prior to 1991, border control was the responsibility of the Gendarmerie.

In June 2020, Ahmad Ali Goudarzi was appointed as the chief commander NAJA Border Guard.

Iran has more than 6000 Km of land borders and 2700 Km of Water Boarders.

Some border stations and towers particularly in sensitive borders are given to other forces such IRGC and Military to control.

The following Chart illustrates the Hierarchy within The NAJA Border Guard: