The influence of the Revolutionary Guards has been steadily increasing in Iran under the presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is a former member of the organisation. Khatam al-Anbia has benefited from this as much as any organisation and it now plays a critical role in the development of the country’s transport infrastructure, oil and gas and petrochemicals industries and in many other areas of life.
The lack of financial data on the company makes it impossible to fully understand its size or growth, but it is clear that it has become one of the most important actors in the Iranian economy. Given its close ties to those in the power and the presence of sanctions, which keep major foreign competitors out of the Iranian market, it is difficult to see how any local or international rival could challenge its dominance any time soon.
Its longer-term health is dependent on that of the regime as a whole. Should a sustained opposition movement emerge again to challenge the authorities, then Khatam al-Anbia could well emerge as a target for them.