The Iranian regime has been setting up terror cells in Africa to attack Western targets. In June 2019, the Daily Telegraph reported that a "new terror network has been established on the orders of Qassem Suleimani, the head of the Quds Force, the elite section of Iran's Republican Guard Corps that has responsibility for overseas operations." Six months later, Qassem Soleimani was killed under a direct order from US President Donald J. Trump. Pictured: A charred and pockmarked wall in Baghdad, Iraq marks the site where Soleimani was killed in a drone strike. (Photo by Ali Choukeir/AFP via Getty Images)
Some of the main objectives of the Iranian regime's terror cells and proxies are to create fear in other nations through terrorism, subvert foreign governments and ultimately impose on the world an Islamist and Sharia system that mirrors that of Tehran. As Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah previously acknowledged:
"Our goal, which we have no choice but to adopt due to our ideological beliefs, is the project of the Islamic State of Lebanon... Not as a separate Islamic Republic but as a part of a 'Great Islamic Republic,' ruled by (former Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah) Khomeini."
Lately, several of Iran's terror cells have been caught in foreign nations. On September 29, 2020, Saudi Arabia broke up an Iranian-trained cell, arrested 10 people and seized weapons and explosives. These included "electrical components used in the making of explosives such as capacitors, transformers and resistors, gunpowder, chemicals, Kalashnikov rifles, guns, sniper rifle, live ammunition, machine guns, blades, military clothes, and wireless communication devices."
The terrorist cell exposed in September, according to a statement issued by Saudi Arabia's Presidency of State Security, was trained by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), and had received "military and field training, including on how to make explosives."
Meanwhile, Bahrain's Ministry of the Interior revealed last month that early this year it had foiled a terrorist attack by a group also backed by the IRGC. The group, called the "Qassem Soleimani Brigade," had apparently been planning to attack several security and public structures in Bahrain.
In October 2019, Albanian General Police Director Ardi Veliu revealed in that the country's security institutions had detected an active cell of the foreign operations unit linked to the Iranian Quds Force. He warned:
"The Albanian authorities have identified these individuals and thanks to intelligence from informants inside the criminal organizations have prevented the plan (attack) of March 2018 and the eventual planning of attacks by organized crime members ... on behalf of Iran."
The Iranian regime has also been setting up terror cells in Africa to attack Western targets. In June 2019, the Daily Telegraph reported that a "new terror network has been established on the orders of Qassem Suleimani, the head of the Quds Force, the elite section of Iran's Republican Guard Corps that has responsibility for overseas operations." Six months later, Qassem Soleimani was killed under a direct order from US President Donald J. Trump.
Iran's terror cells also, it seems, aim to subvert other governments by carrying out assassinations. It was revealed last month, for instance, that Iran was weighing an assassination attempt against the US ambassador to South Africa, Lana Marks -- and that it was a terror plot in which the Iranian embassy in Pretoria was involved.
Iran has previously been accused, as well, of failed plans to bomb Saudi and Israeli embassies and, in 2011, to assassinate Adel Al-Jubeir, Saudi Arabia's Ambassador to the US at the time. An investigation revealed, in addition, that it was Iran that ordered the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, and was also implicated in the 9/11 attacks. In 2018, US Judge George Daniels issued an order stating that Iran was liable, as its support for Al-Qaeda had allowed the terrorist attacks to take place.
In 2018, the Iranian regime tried to orchestrate a terrorist operation in Europe: French officials foiled a planned bomb attack in Paris against a large "Free Iran" convention held by people opposing the regime, and attended by many high-level speakers, including former US House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird, as well as your humble correspondent.
Iran's terror cells and proxies, which have total loyalty to Iran, most likely receive direct orders and instructions from the "Supreme Guide" Ali Khamenei.
Khamenei also gave approval for last year's attack on Saudi Arabia's oil installations at Abqaiq and Khurais, according to the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), which previously disclosed Iran's clandestine nuclear sites in Natanz and Arak. NCRI stated:
"After Khamenei's initial approval of this operation detailed planning began and the SNSC (Iran's Supreme National Security Council) referred the plan to Khamenei for final approval. Khamenei ordered IRGC Maj. Gen. (Gholam) Rashid and Brig. Gen. (Amir-Ali) Hajizadeh to begin the operational implementation of the plan."
Iranian terrorist "sleeper cells" are reportedly continuing to operate in the US, according to intelligence officials and security experts. The Iranian regime is also continuing to target Latin American countries, where it dispatches its agents (specifically from Hezbollah), creates terror cells, and trains militias.
By turning a blind eye to the Iranian regime's terror activities in foreign countries and by refusing to open investigations or even condemn the mullahs, the United Nations is complicit in Iran's malign behavior across the globe. Perhaps it is time for the US to "pay for what it wants" from the UN, rather than automatically handing it billions, more than a fifth if its budget, every year -- and to make sure America gets what it pays for?
Dr. Majid Rafizadeh is a business strategist and advisor, Harvard-educated scholar, political scientist, board member of Harvard International Review, and president of the International American Council on the Middle East. He has authored several books on Islam and US foreign policy. He can be reached at Dr.Rafizadeh@Post.Harvard.Edu