Members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards march during a military parade to commemorate the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war in Tehran September 22, 2007. REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl
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BEIRUT: Determined to protect a dominant security role and vast economic interests, Iran's Revolutionary Guard military force is quietly backing a hard-liner in May 19 presidential polls, with an eye toward a bigger prize: the succession of the supreme leader.Media outlets affiliated with the Guard have been criticizing Rouhani's performance in power.The Islamic Republic's security hawks are worried that Rouhani with a fresh mandate would chip away at prerogatives that have given the Guard huge economic and political power.Whether or not Rouhani wins a second term, the bigger prize is controlling who will succeed Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, whose power far exceeds that of the elected president.Among the group were the head of the Guard, the head of the Basij, and Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Quds Force, the branch of the Guard responsible for operations outside of Iran's borders, including in Iraq and Syria.Some Iran experts say the Guard ses the nuclear deal and other steps toward opening the economy to foreign firms as a threat to their economic interests.
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