Iran Continuing to Train Terrorists After Nuclear “Implementation Day”
To those who boasted Iran would begin shifting its conduct following the implementation of the “landmark” and “historic” nuclear deal sealed with the West, think twice. Iran is known as the leading state sponsor of terrorism, and this is literally found in their DNA. Recent reports show Iran’s Revolutionary Guards continues to train terrorist groups in various cities across the country, including Arab, Afghan and even Chechen recruits. The export of terrorism is simply a characteristic Iran cannot put aside as something of its past. The regime ruling this important country thrives on exporting a radical version of Islam and extremism to all corners of the globe, and this will not alter through any deal reached with the West despite any claimed bona fide.
The most important training bases belonging to the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and Iran’s intelligence apparatus, including the “Imam Ali” located in northern Tehran, “Amir al-Momenin” in Karaj, west of the capital, and “Mersad” in Shiraz are involved in training new recruits from across the Middle East and beyond, Al Arabiya TV reported.
The IRGC has established training bases in Ba’lbak in northern Lebanon alongside Hezbollah, Homs in Syria, Eritrea in Africa, and Port Asab and Dehlak Island in the Red Sea, reports indicate. Iran has been known to send men for training in these sites. Signs also indicate IRGC bases have also reached the far corners of South America in Alvahira Province located in the border area connecting Venezuela and Colombia, Al Arabiya added.
Iran has a long history of blessing major terrorist attacks across the globe. The U.S. Marine barracks bombing in Beirut in 1983 leaving over 240 American servicemen killed; the Mykonos restaurant killings in Berlin in 1992 that eliminated leaders of dissident groups; and the Khobar Towers bombings in Saudi Arabia in 1996 that left 20 American military personnel killed. And there is no sign Tehran has any intention of stepping on the breaks in this regard. The recent arrest of U.S. sailors in the Persian Gulf is proof of Iran’s continuously reckless behavior.
From 2001 various signs of IRGC and intelligence bases affiliated to Iran were revealed after a series of terrorist cells were discovered in member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council, more specifically Bahrain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. More recently Iran has been fueling the war in Yemen by providing arms and financial aid to the Shiite Houthis sitting at Riyadh’s backyard.
Iran has long sought to take advantage of Bahrain’s Shiite population to target its regional archrival, Saudi Arabia. In Bahrain the police and National Guard were able to bust and neutralize a number of terrorists cells trained and funded by the IRGC. All those arrested were involved in previous terror attacks in Bahrain, admitting to their association with the IRGC and trained to disrupt security in the Persian Gulf region.
Bahrain security officials revealed the members of this cell received training in Iran alongside Saudi citizens, adding they stayed in a luxurious hotel in Tehran and learned the necessary know-how of smuggling arms, explosives and targeting Saudi and Bahrain security personnel.
Confessions obtained from the busted terror cell members shed more light on Iran’s very detailed intentions. The IRGC used citizens from Bahrain and Saudi Arabia to use weapons and heavy explosives. An IRGC member provided training on how to bypass mobile phone surveillance and how to actually carry out missions involving espionage and phone tapping. Little by little Iran was able to absorb new recruits and increase the number of its trained terrorists.
Iran was forced into accepting the nuclear deal with the West, and rest assured Tehran had found itself facing a major turning point between bad and worse. Iran may have been able to forgo its nuclear ambitions for now, at least through means discovered to this day. However, a significant alteration in behavior, such as putting a lid on the goals it has pursued since day one of establishing a caliphate across the Middle East long before ISIS, is completely out of the question. An irony amongst all this is seen in remarks made by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in the World Economic Forum saying some of the windfall of billions from Iran sanctions money is likely to fund terrorists.
The two indispensable pillars of Iran’s rule are domestic crackdown and the export of terrorism, extremism and Islamic fundamentalism in the region and as far beyond as possible. Targeting these two specific features is the correct policy that sends a convincing message of seriousness to the ruling elite in Tehran.
Follow Salami at @SalamiKeyvan who is a human rights advocate and political activist seeking democracy for Iran and peace for the region