Iran world’s primary state sponsor of terrorism, says prominent UK think-tank
One year after the Obama-backed Nuclear Deal came into effect, Islamic Republic of Iran remains the leading sponsor of international terrorism, says a policy paper published by British policy think-tank Henry Jackson Society. According to the report released on Wednesday at the House of Lords in London, Iran maintains a large and lucrative illegal financing network to bypass the remaining sanction that are in place to stop Tehran from funding terrorist outfits and regime.
The report quotes an economist close to current Iranian regime describing the extent of the network, stating that “between 5,000-10,000 people worked in the [illicit financing] network, handling deals worth between $300 billion and $400 billion over the past decade.” Even after easing of sanction by the U.S. and the West, Iran seems to have no intention of giving up this illicit financing network which also acts as a lucrative source of income for the members of the military and the regime.
The paper has been compiled by Dr. Matthew Levitt, an Associate Fellow of The Henry Jackson Society and Senior Fellow and Director of the Washington Institute’s Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence. Dr. Levitt, who has also worked as a counterterrorism intelligence analyst at the FBI, is a leading authority on the risks emerging from global terrorism financing.
Revolutionary Guard (IGRC), the armed wing of Iran’s Shi’a Islamist regime, exerts control over the sectors of country’s economy and industry well beyond the military and secutiry establishment. IGRC uses civil aviation assets to supply arms and equipment to terrorist outfit Hezbollah and Syria’s Assad Regime, reports says:
[…] Iran Air passenger aircraft has been used to ship missile and rockets. In certain instances, U.S. Treasury noted, “IRGC [Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps] officers occasionally take control over Iran Air flights carrying special IRGC-related cargo. The IRGC is also known to disguise and manifest such shipments as medicine and generic spare parts, and IRGC officers have discouraged Iran Air pilots from inspecting potentially dangerous IRGC-related cargo being carried aboard commercial Iran Air aircraft, including to Syria.”
In fact, in September 2012, the U.S. Department of the Treasury identified 117 aircraft belonging to Iran Air, Mahan Air or Yas Air to further highlight Iran’s ongoing effort to support the Assad regime’s WMD programs and its brutal repression of the Syrian people. It was discovered in the summer of 2012 that Tehran was sending both Iran Air and Mahan Air flights to Damascus to deliver military and crowd control equipment to the Assad regime. It was common practice for Iran to use “deceptive measures when shipping such items to Syria, by using a combination of passenger and cargo flights and declaring illicit cargo as humanitarian and other licit goods.”
The report quote Iran’s former Deputy Industry Minister Mohsen Safaei Farahani saying that “more than half of Iran’s economy is run by pseudo-private entities linked to “parastatal organisations”, including the IRGC.” FATF, Paris-based international agency monitoring terrorism financing, has also raised serious concerns over “Iran’s failure to address the risk of terrorist financing.”
Iran has been quick to fill the geopolitical vacuum created by President Obama’s foreign policy of retreat. Thanks to estimated $100 billion windfall from Obama-Kerry Nucelar Deal, Iran now exerts control over three major Arab capitals — Damascus, Baghdad and Beirut. Last year, Iranian-backed militia ousted the government in Yemen, extending Iran’s control over yet another Arab state.
Hezbollah terrorist outfit in Lebanon and Bashar Al Assad’s regime in Syria are two of the major recipients of Iranian funding. Shia Islamist group Hezbollah was trained and equipped by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard in mid-1980s to wage war against Israel. Initially created to wage a terrorist war against Israel, Lebanese group carries out international terrorism on behalf of the Iranian regime. On the direction from Tehran, Hezbollah entered the Syrian civil war 5 years ago to fight on behalf of Iran-backed dictator Assad. Since then, one-fourth of Hezbollah’s fighting force is pinned down in Syria. Hezbollah has taken hold of a portion of Syria, creating a base for Iran — a fallback option in case Assad regime were to collapse. Despite bloody inner-Islamic sectarian conflict in Syria, Iran continues to fund and arm Gaza-based Sunni Islamist group Hamas in its war of terror against Israel.
Regardless of the positive spin on Nuclear Deal sold by Obama administration to the media and public, Iranian regime remains at war with the U.S. and its allies. The lifting of sanctions hasn’t changed the hostile nature of the regime towards the West.
Iran’s continuation of illicit funding of its international terrorist network is an act of war, even if Obama administration isn’t willing to acknowledge it.
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