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Established in the wake of the revolution in 1979, the Islamic Republic traditionally rested on an alliance between the Shia clergy, which ruled Iran, and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), which defended the regime against internal and external enemies. However, the IRGC is increasingly both ruling and defending the regime and in doing so, is transforming the Islamic Republic from a theocracy into a military dictatorship. But how did the IRGC manage to do so and what are the implications of this transformation for U.S. interests in the Middle East region?
Ali Alfoneh is a Senior Fellow at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington (AGSIW) and the author of Iran Unveiled: How the Revolutionary Guards are Transforming Iran from Theocracy into Military Dictatorship, published by the AEI Press in April 2013.
Alfoneh grew up in Tehran, but moved to Denmark with his family in 1988. In 1993, he ran for public office, and served as elected member of the Herlev City Council from 1994 to 1998 (Social Democrats). His work experience includes various positions at the Press and Information Office of Federation of Danish Industries, the parliamentary group of the Social Democratic Party of Denmark, a lectureship in political economy at the University of Southern Denmark from 2003 to 2004, and a research fellowship at the Institute for Strategy at the Royal Danish Defence College from 2004 to 2006. In the United States, Alfoneh worked as a research fellow at American Enterprise Institute (AEI) from 2007 to 2013, and as a senior fellow at Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) from 2013 to 2016. Since 2016, Alfoneh has worked as the main Iran analyst of The Arab Weekly, and is a Non- resident Senior Fellow at the Rafiq Hariri Center for the Middle East at Atlantic Council.
Alfoneh is a political scientist by training and holds a B.A. and a M.A. from the University of Copenhagen. He speaks Persian, Danish, English, and reads German.