The US Department of Justice announced on December 7, 2021 the successful seizure and forfeiture of two large caches of Iranian weapons. The arms were being shipped from Iran to the Houthis in Yemen, in yet another Iranian violation of UN Security Council Resolution 2140. One of the Iranian leaders' main objectives in empowering their militias and terror groups in other countries is to export the Islamic Republic Revolution to other nations. Pictured: Iranian Type 358 surface-to-air missiles that were seized by the US Navy on February 9, 2020. (Image source: US Navy via US Department of Justice)
In the wake of the largest seizure of arms and fuel from Iranian terror groups to date, the Biden administration has remained silent.
The US Department of Justice announced on December 7, 2021 the successful forfeiture of two large caches of Iranian weapons. The weapons reportedly included advanced arms such as "171 guided anti-tank missiles, eight surface-to-air missiles, land attack cruise missile components, anti-ship cruise missile components, thermal weapon optics and other components for missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles [drones]". The U.S. Navy also seized Iranian petroleum products from "four foreign-flagged tankers in or around the Arabian Sea while en route to Venezuela. These actions represent the government's largest-ever forfeitures of fuel and weapons shipments from Iran."
Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) -- created as a military counterweight to the Shah's army to promote Iran's 1979 Revolution, and designated as a terrorist organization by the US Department of State -- orchestrated these shipments.
The IRGC is also the backbone of the clerical establishment in Iran. The senior cadres of the IRGC and the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei enjoy the final say in Iran's domestic and foreign policy and support for proxies. The IRGC, in addition, is engaged in the domestic repression of dissidents; the suppression of freedom of speech, press and assembly, and imprisoning political opponents. The Washington office of an Iranian opposition group, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), has released a 175-page book, "The Rise of the Revolutionary Guards Corps Financial Empire," demonstrating that the IRGC controls more than half Iran's GDP and owns several major economic powerhouses and religious endowments, such as Astan-e Qods Razavi, in the northeastern city of Mashad. The NCRI also published another detailed book on 15 Iranian terrorist training centers, where the IRGC provides ideological, military and tactical training to foreign recruits, who are later dispatched to conduct terrorist activities in the Middle East and beyond.
These shipments of weapons, which were headed to the Houthis in Yemen, is yet another violation by Iran of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2140:
"Obligation to freeze all funds, other financial assets and economic resources that are owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by the individuals or entities designated by the Committee, or by individuals or entities acting on their behalf or at their direction, or by entities owned or controlled by them; no funds, financial assets or economic resources to be made available to or for the benefit of such individuals or entities."
Unfortunately the Biden administration has remained silent -- presumably because it does not want to scuttle the prospect of reviving the flimsy, lethal 2015 nuclear deal, also known as the JCPOA, which in reality is a runway for the Islamic Republic, in a few years, to have an unlimited nuclear arsenal.
Meanwhile, the Houthis in Yemen have been fortunate enough to have Iran as a powerful ally in attempts to unseat the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, presumably to take possession of Islam's two holiest places, Mecca and Medina. The Houthis' Iranian backers will not let them run out of ammunition. The Iranian government continues to be persistent in smuggling illicit weapons and technology into Yemen
Iran's efforts to smuggle these illicit weapons to its militia and terror groups gives an insight into the tactics and long-term strategies of Iranian-trained and armed proxies across the Middle East. Their plans and agenda appear to be built on four pillars: destabilization, conflict, assassination, and the rejection of any solution that has Sunni or Western origins. The conflict in Yemen means more to the Iranian regime than merely taunting its Gulf rivals. Rather, it appears to be an ideological crusade to unite the Muslim world under its own Islamist rule, one that will always see any attempts at peace as merely a delay in the process.
The Iranian regime utilizes various methods -- through land, sea and commercial flights -- to smuggle weapons. According to Israel's former ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon:
"The Iranian Al-Quds Force packs weapons, ammunition and missile technology to Hezbollah in suitcases and puts them on Mahan Air flights... These planes fly directly to the airport in Lebanon or Damascus and from there the weapons are transferred on the ground to Hezbollah."
One of the Iranian leaders' main objectives in empowering their militias and terror groups in other countries is to export the Islamic Republic Revolution to other nations. This mission is, in fact, part of Iran's Constitution. The Constitution, its preamble states, "provides the necessary basis for ensuring the continuation of the Revolution at home and abroad." The Iranian Constitution goes on to say that Iran's Army and Revolutionary Guards
"will be responsible not only for guarding and preserving the frontiers of the country, but also for fulfilling the ideological mission of (Shiite) jihad in God's way; that is, extending the sovereignty of God's (Shiite) law throughout the world ... in the hope that this century will witness the establishment of a universal holy government and the downfall of all others."
The Biden administration needs, once and for all, to abandon its appeasement policy towards Iran's ruling mullahs. They are in charge of a predatory regime that has understatedly been called the world's top state sponsor of terrorism. Yet the current US administration seems hell-bent on empowering them.
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