Gendarmerie and National Police
The Gendarmerie, numbering nearly 74,000 in 1979, was subordinate
to the Ministry of Interior. Its law enforcement responsibilities
extended to all rural areas and to small towns and villages of
fewer than 5,000 inhabitants. The International Institute for
Strategic Studies estimated its manpower at 70,000 in 1986.
The National Police operated with approximately 200,000 men in
1979, a figure that has not fluctuated much since. Like the Gendarmerie,
the National Police was under the Ministry of Interior, and its
responsibilities included all cities with more than 5,000 in population--a
total of 20 percent of the population. In addition, the National
Police was responsible for passport and immigration procedures,
issuance and control of citizens' identification cards, driver
and vehicle licensing and registration, and railroad and airport
policing. Some of these duties were absorbed into the Ministry
of the Pasdaran during the early years of the Revolution, and
cooperation between these two branches seemed extensive.
Since 1979 both these paramilitary organizations have undergone
complete reorganizations. IRP leaders quickly appointed Gendarmerie
and police officers loyal to the Revolution to revive and reorganize
the two bodies under the Republic. Between 1979 and 1983, no fewer
than seven officers were given top National Police portfolios.
Colonel Khalil Samimi, appointed in 1983 by the influential Hojjatoleslam
Nategh-e Nuri, then minister of interior, was credited with reorganizing
the National Police according to the IRP's Islamic guidelines.
The Gendarmerie followed a similar path. Seven appointments were
made between 1979 and 1986, leading to a full reorganization.
In addition to Brigadier General Ahmad Mohagheghi, the commander
in the early republican period who was executed in late summer
of 1980, five colonels were purged. Colonel Ali Kuchekzadeh played
a major role in reorganizing and strengthening the Gendarmerie
after its near collapse in the early revolutionary period. The
commander in 1987, Colonel Mohammad Sohrabi, had served in that
position since February 1985 and was the first top officer to
have risen from the ranks.
As of 1987, the National Police and the Gendarmerie reflected
the ideology of the state. Despite their valuable internal security
operations, the roles of both bodies were restricted by the rising
influence of the Pasdaran and the Basij.
Data as of December 1987