From its nine-story headquarters in an upscale neighborhood of Tehran, a giant construction company directs its operations across Iran, building mosques, airports, oil and gas installations, hospitals, and skyscrapers.

Armed guards stand watch at the doors, and small posters on its exterior walls honor Iranians who have died in the current wars in Syria and Iraq.

But this is not just any company. Khatam-al Anbiya, whose name means “seal of the prophet,” is the most important economic arm of Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. It employs nearly 1.5 million people, including subcontractors, and is led by a military commander.

Yet the company’s outward signs of strength belie the powerful currents of change that are eroding its business. A crackdown is being led by Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, who ran for office promising to unleash economic growth by completing a nuclear deal and freeing the country from international sanctions.

Read the whole story from The New York Times.

Featured image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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