File - Iranian Revolutionary Guards members march during a parade ceremony, just outside Tehran, Sept. 21, 2008. (AP/Vahid Salemi)
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Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard have done well out of international sanctions – and if a nuclear deal is agreed in Vienna this week under which those sanctions are lifted, they are likely to do better still.Iranian officials refuse to reveal the IRGC's market share, but $12 billion would be around a sixth of Iran's declared GDP, at current exchange rates.Much of the IRGC's business is done through front companies, many of them not even formally owned by the Corps, but by individuals and firms linked to it.To do business in Iran, foreign firms need an Iranian partner, which for large-scale projects often means firms controlled by the IRGC.The IRGC has good reasons of its own to welcome the deal, beyond the prospect of economic growth and contracts with the foreign firms now queuing up to invest in Iran.For now, however, there is little or no sign that the political backing that the IGRC enjoys will fade, as Iran's leaders publicly praise its role in managing Iran's oil industry.
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