CNS News, By Patrick Goodenough | February 28, 2017
(CNSNews.com) – As Iran’s government claimed that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is widely known to be fighting terrorism in neighboring countries, a newly-emerged video clip purportedly shows an IRGC strategist threatening to unleash terror cells in the U.S., targeting nuclear missile launch facilities, among other things.
At a time when the Trump administration is considering listing the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said at the weekend U.S. efforts to sanction the organization have never benefited the U.S.
Zarif said the world at large agrees that the IRGC has extended the utmost support for neighboring countries in their fight against terrorism.
Iran is supporting Shi’a militias fighting alongside the Iraqi military against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS/ISIL) jihadists. The IRGC is also heavily involved, in conjunction with Tehran’s Hezbollah allies and other Shi’a fighters, in supporting the Assad regime in the Syrian civil war, where combatants include Sunni nationalists, Kurds, Salafists, and ISIS and al-Qaeda affiliated jihadists.
The exiled Iranian opposition group National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) called Zarif’s claim that the IRGC fights terrorism “ridiculous.”
“The IRGC is the most powerful military-security organization that represses internal clashes and exports warmongering plans in the region,” it said Monday. “This organization is almost involved in all key industries and businesses in Iran.”
The NCRI added that Iran’s widely-criticized missile tests are also carried out by the IRGC.
U.S. lawmakers and others pressing for foreign terrorist organization designation for the IRGC point to a long history of involvement in perpetrating and sponsoring terrorism abroad – especially through its Qods Force foreign operations wing.
The State Department says Iran remains the world’s “foremost state sponsor of terrorism.”
A newly-emerged – although undated – video clip purports to show Hassan Abbasi, an IRGC strategist and theoretician associated with the IRGC think tank, “Center for Borderless Security Doctrinal Analysis,” threatening to unleash terror in the United States.
Abbasi says in the poor-quality clip that a small number of Saudi terrorists were able to carry out the 9/11 attacks, and he asks how much more an Iranian “guerilla army” could do, noting that large numbers of Iranians live in the U.S.
“If only 11 [sic] people carried out 9/11, do you realize that the possibility exists for us to execute [what we want]? We don’t need nuclear weapons.”
“You [Americans] possess 6,000 nuclear warheads in your land,” he continued. “These 6,000 nuclear warheads are targets of our plans for our guerilla movements to destroy them right there.”
“It won’t even be an Iranian-only guerilla movement, but from all Islamic countries,” Abbasi said. “You can deport all the Muslims, but we are involving and working on Mexicans as well, and Argentinians too. We will organize anyone who has problems with the United States.”
Abbasi went on to threaten to direct “global guerilla organizations” to target U.S. military and vulnerable targets.
Queries sent to Abbasi by email and via his official website brought no response by press time.
Excerpts of Abbasi’s video clip comments (The translation was reviewed by two first-language Farsi speakers):
“I’ll be brief with you. We have two million Iranians there [in the United States.] Be assured that I will raise a guerilla army from among them against you. You are fully aware of this.”
“Look how vulnerable you were on 9/11, when four [sic] Arabs from Saudi Arabia who don’t pose the spirit of fighting, managed to endanger your foundations. Yet with us [Iran] you face a nation that is even more deeply rooted.”
“Don’t forget we have 7,000 PhD holders in the United States. If only 11 [sic] people carried out 9/11, do you realize that the possibility exists for us to execute [what we want]?”
“We don’t need nuclear weapons. You possess 6,000 nuclear warheads in your land. These 6,000 nuclear warheads are targets of our plans for our guerilla movements to destroy them right there.”
“It won’t even be an Iranian-only guerilla movement, but from all Islamic countries. You can deport all the Muslims, but we are involving and working on Mexicans as well, and Argentinians too. We will organize anyone who has problems with the United States.”
“… We have identified all of the U.S. Achilles heel: We have all their ground, naval, air, technological, and their other vulnerabilities. We will let the global guerilla organizations target them.”
On February 14, 2017, the Washington office of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI-US) held a press conference to share details of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) terrorist training bases.
Alireza Jafarzadeh, Deputy Director of NCRI-US, explained that the intelligence had come from the NCRI’s main constituent group, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (MEK), which had previously exposed key information about Iran’s nuclear weapon program.
The unearthed information concerning the training facilities indicates a rise of recruitment of foreign nationals, an expansion that has been explicitly endorsed by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
Currently, the Quds Force, an operation division of the IRGC, is designated by the US Government under executive order 13224 as an entity engaged in terrorism, but the IRGC itself is not. The NCRI pointed out that there is no distinction between the IRGC and the Quds Force, either in the Iranian constitution or national budget.
Jafarzadeh showed maps and details of 14 terrorist training centers in Iran. The main headquarter, known as Imam Ali Garrison, is where terrorist training is provided to foreign nationals. He also included specifics on the types of training given to the mercenaries from around the world.
The conference emphasized the IRGC’s deep involvement in each of the “three pillars” upon which the regime’s power rests: the suppression of dissent inside Iran, the export of its Islamic revolution through terrorism and regional military operations, and the amplification of the Iranian military threat through the pursuit of WMDs.
IRGC’s connection to the international terrorist network was also discussed. Trainees were “dispatched to various countries in the Persian Gulf area, Asia, Africa, and Latin America.”
The NCRI said measures like designating the IRGC as a terrorist organization would decrease the likelihood of similar incidents in the West, and would strike a blow against the Iranian theocracy.
In his written statement, Jafarzadeh concluded: “If the day comes when the Tehran regime stops its export of terrorism and religious fascism; and if it reins in the Revolutionary Guards Corps, mandating it only to protect Iran from within Iran’s borders; and if it lets go of its hostility towards the United States and drops its ‘anti-imperialist’ slogans, that day the mullahs’ regime will collapse.”