By Amir Taheri, Special to Gulf News
In what looks like a complicated chess game, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has moved to consolidate his hold on key organs of economic policymaking in Tehran.
What makes the high profile reshuffle significant is that all the departing officials have been replaced with members of the IRGC, strengthening the parallel army's hold on power.
The latest moves confirm what many Iranians see as "a creeping coup d'etat by the IRGC against the ruling mullahs and their business partners.
It is now safe to say that the IRGC is the dominant force within the ruling establishment in Tehran. This is, perhaps, one reason the Bush administration in Washington is mulling the possibility of declaring the IRGC a "terrorist organisation".
The IRGC is divided into five commands, each with a direct line to the "supreme guide" Ali Khamenei.
Of the five commands in question, two could be regarded as "terrorist" according to the US State Department's definition that, needless to say, is rejected by the Islamic Republic.
One, which includes the so-called Jerusalem (Quds) Corps, is in charge of exporting the revolution. Apart from Hezbollah and Hamas it runs a number of radical groups across the globe.
The second command that could be targeted deals with internal repression. It operates through several auxiliary forces, including the notorious Karbala brigades charged with crushing popular revolts in Tehran.
Many prominent IRGC commanders may be regarded as businessmen first and military leaders second. Usually, they have a brother or a cousin in Europe or Canada to look after their business interests and keep a channel open to small and big "Satans" in case the regime falls.
A few IRGC commanders, including some at the top, do not seek major military conflict with the US that could wreck their business empires without offering victory on the battlefield.
A blanket labelling of the IRGC, as opposed to targeting elements of it that do mischief against the Iranian people and others in the region and beyond, could prove counterproductive.
It could unite a deeply fractious force by leaving no door through which some of its members could walk out of the dangerous situation they have helped create.
Iranian author Amir Taheri is based in Europe.