A Conversation with Afshon Ostovar


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In this episode, I speak with Afshon Ostovar, a historian, author and a foremost expert on the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Afshon and I cover a lot of ground. We start by talking about the historical context around the IRGC, when and how it was started, its role in the Iran-Iraq war, how the organization evolved through the years, how it is different than Iran’s regular military, its Quds Force and the Islamic Republic’s foreign involvements, where Qasem Soleimani fit into the picture, his relationships with various Shia militia groups and other groups such as the Taliban and Al Qaeda, the mythology surrounding Soleimani and his role in ISIS’s rise and fall. We also discuss the recent events surrounding Trump’s decision to kill Soleimani, the legality of and the logic behind the killing, the downing of the Ukrainian jetliner and its implications on the survival of the Islamic Republic as a system, whether the system would have been strengthened as a result of Soleimani’s killing if the downing of the jetliner hadn’t happened, protests in Iran and their frequency, the possibility of an all-out collapse of the Islamic Republic and other topics.

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