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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Iran's supreme leader has ordered the Revolutionary Guard to loosen its hold on the economy, the country's defense minister said, raising the possibility that the paramilitary organization might privatize some of its vast holdings.The Guard formed out of Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution as a force meant to protect its political system, which is overseen by Shiite religious scholars.The Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies, which has been critical of Iran and the nuclear deal struck with world powers, suggests the Guard controls "between 20 and 40 percent of the economy" of Iran through significant influence in at least 229 companies.How any privatization of Guard-owned companies would work remains to be seen, as Guard-linked officials permeate Iran's economy.
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