Written by Mahmoud Hakamian
Iranian opposition activists and security analysts have revealed to Britain’s Daily Star the extent of the terrorist groups linked to the regime in Tehran.
Operations linked to Iran’s regime reach deep into Europe and in the US as part of the regime’s use of “proxy” terrorist groups, the Daily Star wrote on August 3, 2019.
And all of these are overseen by the military group known as the Quds Force, the extra-territorial branch of the regime’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). The U.S. State Department added the IRGC to its list of foreign terrorist organizations in April 2019.
The Daily Star wrote: “The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI) – an opposition group which advocates the overthrow of the regime – warned the worsening political situation will see more use of these so-called proxies.”
Security intelligence group StratFor also earlier this year detailed the spread of these forces – with Iran’s regime believed to have linked forces in at least six countries in the Middle East, the report said.
It comes as tensions flare in the Middle East as the dissolution of the so-called nuclear deal has paved the way for a new tanker war in the Strait of Hormuz.
Shahin Gobadi, spokesman for the PMOI, warned we can see a “stepping up” of Iranian terrorist activity as the regime is “facing crises from all directions”.
He told Daily Star Online: “In this situation, the mullahs’ only solution is resorting to stepped-up suppression, more arrests, more terrorism and extremist measures abroad to maintain the regime’s balance and to prevent the situation from further deteriorating.
“Export of extremism, terrorism, and belligerence in the region have been a pillar of survival of the clerical regime for the past 40 years.
“This pillar has complimented the other pillar, total repression and suppression.
“These two constitute the main pillars of the clerical regime based on the concept of ‘Velayat-e-faqih’, or the absolute rule of the religious leader.”
The Iranian regime’s so-called Quds Force – under command of General Qassem Soleimani – reports directly to the supreme leader of the fundamentalist regime, Ali Khamenei.
It is estimated the force is up to 20,000 strong and is understood to be responsible for supporting and training proxy groups worldwide, the report said.
Stratfor’s analysis from earlier this year points to Iranian proxy forces being directly involved in Iraq, Lebanon and Gaza.
And it marked out Iran’s regime providing material support for forces in Saudi Arabia, Syria, Afghanistan, Lebanon.
Terror plots and surveillance linked to Iran’s regime stretch much further than the Middle East, reaching into Europe, the Americas, Asia and Africa.
Iranian proxies have linked to incidents in France, Denmark, Germany, the US, Argentina, Thailand, Nigeria and more.
“Iran’s embassies, intelligence networks and proxies give it a global reach,” StratFor said in analysis of the ongoing tensions with US.
It is also believed Iranian proxies have been responsible for six attacks on shipping in the Strait of Hormuz amid the new tanker wars.
The Daily Star added:
PMOI officials also estimated they believe Iran is now linked to training foreign mercenaries as part of the proxes.
And one of the largest groups linked to the Iranian regime is the Lebanese Hezbollah, which is linked to attacks on US forces in the 1980s.
Gobadi told Daily Star Online it is estimated that the Iranian regime continues to hand around $1 billion every year to Hezbollah.
“Hezbollah has played a key role in the regime’s terrorism even outside of the Middle East,” he said.
“Hezbollah explicitly confessed that Iran provides everything, from money to weapons, ammunition, food, and clothing to Hezbollah and that without the clerical regime in Iran, Hezbollah cannot continue its survival.”
Iran is also linked to the ongoing war in Yemen, with the regime believed by the PMOI to be supporting Houthi rebels who have staged numerous attacks on Saudi Arabia.
“It provides them with missiles and other weapons and equipment,” Gobadi said.
“In addition to warfare, the proxy groups have been engaged in terror acts, bombings, car bombs, firing missiles and similar acts that result in heightened tensions in the region.”
British security sources warned earlier this year about the ongoing threat from the Iranian proxies as the UK is drawn into the row in the Middle East.
Tensions have flared between Britain and Iran after a tit-for-tat tanker seizure which has led to two Royal Navy warships being deployed to the Persian Gulf.
Security sources told the Telegraph: “Iran uses proxies and they have control of a network of individuals linked to Hezbollah.
“Iran has Hezbollah operatives in position to carry out a terrorist attack in the event of a conflict. That is the nature of the domestic threat Iran poses to the UK.”
Iranian terrorist groups have also been linked to the cyber attacks on UK infrastructure – including on MPs in 2017 and on government email servers in 2018, the Daily Star wrote.
Gobadi told Daily Star Online the rise of the proxies can be linked to the Iraq War in 2003, which “opened the doors to the regime as a gateway to the rest of the region”.
“The expansion of the regime’s conduct in the region did not stem from its strength and prowess. Rather it was the consequence of the weak approach of the international community,” he said.
He also claimed that “until two years ago, [the Iranian regime] paid no price for its outlaw conduct” – which is helping to fuel the expansion of the proxies.
More sanctions must be placed on the leadership of the Iranian regime and they should be designated as “terrorists”, Gobadi added.
“The ultimate solution is regime change by the Iranian people and the Resistance. The West should recognize the right of the people of Iran and the Resistance for regime change and should stand on their side.
“The clerical regime has never been as weak as today, and the prospect of its overthrow has never been so close.”
Tensions have heightened in recent months as Iran’s regime is accused of attempting to disrupt global oil markets by locking down the Strait of Hormuz.
Iran’s regime has been accused of staging attacks on tankers.
It also shot down a US drone – nearly prompting a limited strike by the Pentagon before an 11th hour U-turn by President Trump.
And causing further tensions, the regime in Iran has broken the binds placed on its enrichment of uranium by the nuclear deal.
President Trump’s administration argues the deal was too soft on Iran’s regime and it didn’t impact its missile programme of sponsor of terrorism.
Britain’s new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has inherited the crisis as tensions rise in the Middle East.
HMS Duncan and HMS Montrose have been given instructions to escort all British shipping in the Strait of Hormuz amid fears of further seizures after the capture of Stena Impero.
US officials called on Britain, France and Germany to join a naval task force to secure shipping in the Persian Gulf.