As head of the 125,000 strong Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRCG or Pasadaran) Mohammad Ali Jafari, aged 53, is a very powerful figure in the establishment. From Yazd, a very conservative city in central Iran, he was always a fervent loyalist for the revolution. During the war he fought with distinction with the paramilitary Basiji forces founded by Ayatollah Khomeini and reporting directly to the Revolutionary Guards. After the war Jafari completed an engineering degree at Tehran University and soon rose in the 90’s to be both head of the IRCG land forces, and its strategic research centre. He is considered an expert on ‘asymmetrical’ defence (combating superior forces), a close associate of both Ayatollah Khamenei and President Ahmadinejad – and an expert at dealing with ‘internal threats’. Sadly for some in senior positions in the government there is a false assumption that Christians pose a threat and so would be of concern to Jafari.