Intensification of terrorism, belligerence, ballistic missile program
The following report is compiled by the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran.
Four years after the start of serious nuclear talks in mid-2013 in Geneva and more than two years after the agreement reached in July 2015, the impact and outcome of this agreement at the regional and international level have evolved as major issues of concern and debate.
In the preface of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the P5+1 stressed that the signatories “anticipate that full implementation of this JCPOA will positively contribute to regional and international peace and security.”
Therefore, in order to assess the implications of this agreement, the key issue is to examine the impact of Tehran’s actions on regional and international peace and security since the implementation of the agreement.
Khamenei’s post-JCPOA strategy
The Iranian Resistance obtained several reports from inside the regime, via the network of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), which indicated that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei was compelled to embrace nuclear negotiations because of the critical conditions the regime was facing. According to Khamenei’s calculations, accepting the agreement and halting Iran’s nuclear activities would be a serious setback for the regime. To compensate, Khamenei planned to use the circumstances created by nuclear talks and the appeasement policy of the Obama administration to increase Tehran’s meddling in the region and to intensify its missile activities.
An internal report of the Political Bureau of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) in February 2014 stated that Khamenei's goal to go ahead with the nuclear talks with Western countries was to focus their attention solely on the nuclear issue in order to allow for the expansion of IRGC intervention in the surrounding region. The report said that the clerical regime had made significant progress in Yemen in 2014and that the IRGC Qods Force and its commander Qassem Soleimani were planning to train their focus on Bahrain next. The report also stressed that Khamenei would use his ultimate authority to prevent the missile issue from becoming part of the nuclear negotiations.
Soon after nuclear talks became serious in 2013, Western countries turned a blind eye to the massacre in Syria and the use of chemical weapon by the Syrian regime against its own people. Attacks on defenseless Iranian dissidents, members of the PMOI in Iraq in camps Ashraf and Liberty, were similarly ignored. Alireza Zakani, a member of the regime’s parliament who is also a member of the IRGC and a close associate of to the supreme leader wrote on August 28, 2014, “Khamenei figured how without even firing a bullet, the United States had no choice but to give up on the attack on Syria.” He added that the "commander of the Qods Force has threatened US interests in the region through a high-ranking Iraqi official who seems to have transmitted this kind of message to the Americans."
The National Council of Resistance of Iran revealed on September 2, 2013: "Following the chemical bombing of Damascus outskirts and the rising probability of a military strike by U.S. against Syria, Khamenei demanded that the project of massacre in Ashraf be expedited. On Tuesday, August 27, Commander of the terrorist Qods Force, Qassem Soleimani hurriedly travelled to Iraq and met with Nouri al-Maliki out of ordinary administrative hours (at 10:30 pm). In that meeting, the probability of a U.S. attack on Syria and the Ashraf massacre were discussed. In that meeting, where Maliki’s National Security Advisor Faleh Fayaz was also present, Soleimani and Maliki concurred on the timing of the attack on Ashraf. As such, practical steps to implement the attack, while the preparations had already been made, started.”
Fayaz travelled to Washington the following day on behalf of Maliki. Four days later, on September 1, 2013, an attack was launched against Camp Ashraf, massacring 52 defenseless residents.
Terrorist attack on the Camp Ashraf of the People's Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI/MEK), left 52 PMOI members dead
Much later, in a speech on March 20, 2016, Khamenei made reference to possible agreements on regional issues, missile production and test, calling them JCPOA2, JCPOA3, and JCPOA4. In that speech he explicitly stated that after the end of the first agreement, he was not willing to abandon missile tests or his plans for regional intervention, including activities in Bahrain, Yemen, and Palestine.
Increasing intervention and belligerence in the region
What follows is an overview of the most important instances of regional meddling between 2013 and 2017.
1. In mid-2014, the Yemeni civil war was at its peak after having been fueled by the Quds Force. The capital, Sanaa, was captured by pro-Iranian regime forces in September 2014. Khamenei and the commanders of the IRGC consider the ongoing intensification of the war in Yemen to be one of their major achievements in recent years.
2. On September 22, 2014, Alireza Zakani, revealed the role of the mullahs’ regime in the events of Yemen and suggested that the regime should export fundamentalism and terrorism to the whole region under the guise of "Integration System for Muslims by the Islamic Revolution." He explained:
"What is taking place in Yemen is much bigger that what has transpired in Lebanon. Out of Yemen's 20 provinces, 14 provinces are currently under the control of Yemeni revolutionaries, and 90% of its capital is under the control of the revolutionaries… With such an achievement they have changed all the calculations. After the victory in Yemen, it will definitely be the time to focus on Saudi Arabia, because the two countries have a common border of about 2,000 kilometers, and on the other hand, there are two million armed people who are organized in Yemen today. ... Today, the Islamic Revolution controls three capitals in Arab countries and in the near future it will take over Sanaa and will implement the system of Muslim integration.”
3. Ansarullah forces, with direct assistance from the mullahs’ regime and the previously ousted Yemeni president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, now control Yemen's northern cities. In February 2015, after the occupation of the presidential palace in Sanaa, a delegation of Houthi leaders traveled to Tehran and met with Khamenei's office, commanders of the Qods Force and other institutions.
4. Citing regional and Western sources, Reuters reported on March 21, 2017: “Sources with knowledge of the military movements, who declined to be identified, said that in recent months Iran has taken a greater role in the two-year-old conflict by stepping up arms supplies and other support. This mirrors the strategy it has used to support its Lebanese ally Hezbollah in Syria.”
The report added that Qassem Soleimani met top IRGC officials in Tehran in February 2017 to look at ways to “empower” the Houthis. At this meeting, they agreed to increase training, arms deliveries, and financial support.
The intervention of the IRGC in the Syrian war, which began after the Syrian people's uprising in 2011, increased significantly in 2014 and 2015. In addition to the IRGC officers and commanders who were dispatched to Syria to keep Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad in power, the Iranian army’s ground forces also participated directly in the war.
1. Based on reports from inside the Iranian regime, particularly from the IRGC and the army, the National Council of Resistance of Iran estimated in July 2016, the Iranian regime had deployed 70,000 fighters to Syria. In addition to Iranian forces, this figure includes paramilitary forces from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Lebanon. The IRGC commanded the ground fight in Syria and also organized a militia force of pro-Assad forces. The 50,000-unit force was modeled after the Iranian Bassij, with the IRGC paying all salaries.
In addition to military forces, the clerical regime has also engaged all relevant government entities in the Syrian war. Over the past five years, Tehran has spent $100 billion on the Syrian war. The bulk of this secret budget is transferred to Syria under the cover that it is from of Khamenei's office. Paying for the military hardware and expenses of the Syrian army is also paid from this budget. The Iranian regime spends about one billion dollars in the form of salaries for the IRGC forces and the Shiite para-military mercenaries who are deployed in Syria.
2. One of the IRGC’s major crimes was the massacre of the people of Aleppo in December 2016. Washington Times reported on December 20, 2016: “Iran’s brutal Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Qods Force has played an extensive role in the rape of Aleppo, building a network of bases around the Syrian city and directing militiamen from Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan to do the killing, an Iranian opposition group says in a new intelligence report. ‘The fact is that Aleppo has been occupied by the IRGC and its mercenaries,” says the People’s Mujahedeen of Iran, or MEK, the largest opposition group to the Islamic mullahs who rule Iran. “Mass executions, preventing the transfer of the civilians, including women and children, [and] attacking the civilians has all been done by the forces of the mullahs’ regime. The MEK says in its report provided to The Washington Times that the Corps has amassed an army of 25,000 Iranian and militia troops in and around the burned and cratered Aleppo. These include homegrown Syrian mercenaries who receive cash transferred from Tehran to Damascus.’…The MEK has relied on its spying network inside the IRGC and the regime to cobble together a picture of Iran’s deep military involvement in keeping Mr. Assad in power.”
3. According to the National Council of Resistance of Iran, IRGC Brigadier General Seyed Javad Ghafari was commanding all IRGC forcers in Aleppo. Ghafari, a veteran of the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s, commanded the Aleppo military campaign and Syria’s northern front starting in 2013. In the months preceding the capture of Aleppo, he was appointed field commander of all IRGC forces in Syria and joined IRGC Qods Force commander Qassem Soleimani in a meeting with Bashar Assad, where the Syrian dictator praised Ghafari. In an interview with the Fars news agency on December 15, 2016, IRGC Brigadier Saa’d-ollah Zare’i, the political advisor of the Qods Force, indirectly referred to the role of Ghafari in capturing Aleppo and said “Creating unanimity in the command in Aleppo was a crucial point. In the beginning accepting the commanding role of a relatively young IRGC commanders seemed difficult but pretty soon even the prominent Syrian generals conceded to it.”
4. On August 27, 2017, the New York Times quoted Hamza Mohammed, an Iraqi militiaman who was trained by Hezbollah and fought in Aleppo, as saying, “On the front lines, there were lots of nationalities. Hezbollah was there, Afghans, Pakistanis, Iraqis – everyone was there, with Iranian participation to lead the battle.”
The article also noted that the battle for Aleppo involved more than 10,000 Iraqi fighters and thousands from other countries, and that Hezbollah has deployed as many as 8,000 fighters at a time to Syria.
While Hezbollah has extended its regional reach, it has made its greatest foreign investments – and paid the highest costs – in Syria, and its intervention there has reshaped the group. (NYT)
5. The role and involvement of the IRGC and its affiliated militants in ground battles in Syria is so obvious that following the capture of Deir ez-Zor in September 2017, Assad officially congratulated Khamenei.
6. In its 2016 Country Reports on Terrorism 2016, the U.S. Department of State wrote: “Iran continued its terrorist-related activity in 2016, including support for Hizballah, Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza, and various groups in Syria, Iraq, and throughout the Middle East. Iran used the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Qods Force (IRGC-QF) to implement foreign policy goals, provide cover for intelligence operations, and create instability in the Middle East. Iran has acknowledged the involvement of the IRGC-QF in the conflicts in Iraq and Syria and the IRGC-QF is Iran’s primary mechanism for cultivating and supporting terrorists abroad.”
Following the presidential elections in 2014, and after Haider al-Abadi became Iraq’s prime minister, the Iranian regime no longer enjoyed full control over Iraq as it had during Maliki’s tenure. In order to institutionalize its presence in Iraq, Tehran used its proxy groups, organizing them under the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU or Al-Hashd Al-Sha'abi).
1. A week after the Mosul takeover by the ISIS, Qassem Soleimani and other Qods Force commanders began forming the PMU in Iraq, based on the model of the IRGC’s Basiij paramilitary. The main PMU structure consists of paramilitary groups such as the Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, Badr militias, Kata’ib Hezbollah and other Qods Force-affiliated proxy groups. Currently, all such paramilitary groups maintain their identity under the PMU banner and IRGC directly commands them and provides arms, equipment, intelligence, planning, reconnaissance, and artillery support for them.
2. Soleimani and Admiral Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of the Iranian regime’s Supreme National Security Council (the highest body in charge of national security affairs), have made it clear in their meetings with Iraqi officials that the PMU’s dissolution is a red line for the Iranian regime, and that they are prepared to take serious measures to prevent it. They insisted that the PMU must remain an independent military entity and should not be merged into any other government or military entity.
3. On January 2017, IRGC Brigadier General Iraj Masjedi, was appointed as Iran’s ambassador in Iraq. Masjedi, a veteran Qods Force commander has filled the role of a deputy to Qasem Soleimani in Iraq since late 2013. Because of the importance of Iraq to the mullahs' regime, in March 2014, Masjedi officially took charge of Iraq’s dossier in the Qods Force and was stationed there. As the Security and Anti-Terrorism Committee of the NCRI stated on January 25, 2017, the purpose of the appointment was to continue and expand meddling by the Qods Force in that country.
4. The PMU forces have committed many crimes in Al-Anbar and Mosul provinces under the guise of fighting ISIS. Sky News Arabia issued a report on July 16, 2017 regarding ethnic cleansing of Sunnis in these areas. Videos have shown the PMU forces arresting, torturing, and killing the residents. Looting was also reported to be widespread. These aggressions created concern that terrorism of ISIS was being replaced with terrorism of proxy para-military groups, a phenomenon that had set the stage for the growth of ISIS in Iraq in the first place.
Expansion of terrorism worldwide
Apart from the above-mentioned countries in which the Iranian regime is directly and overtly engaged in belligerence, it has used the funds available to it after the agreement with P5+1 to intensify its efforts to foment terrorism and Islamic extremism.
1. Matthew Levitt, the Fromer-Wexler fellow and director of the Washington Institute's Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence stated on July 8, 2016, “It is clear that Iran's support for terrorism has only increased since the deal was reached.”
2. In a speech on June 24, 2014, Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Lebanese Hezbollah acknowledged for the first time that Hezbollah receives all of its funds from the Iranian regime. Nasrallah said, “We are open about the fact that Hezbollah’s budget, its income, its expenses, everything it eats and drinks, its weapons and rockets, are from the Islamic Republic of Iran… As long as Iran has money, we have money.”
3. The Islamic Republic has boosted its financial support for Hezbollah to more than $800 million a year, a dramatic increase from $200 million, according to Israeli media.
4. On June 20, 2016, Qassem Soleimani officially threatened the government of Bahrain with armed struggle in a public statement and said if the country crosses red-lines set by the Iranian regime, “it will set Bahrain and the whole region on fire and the people will be left with no choice but to resort to armed resistance.” He added, “The only result will be the destruction of the cruel regime.”
5. The IRGC has expanded its terror network in Africa and Latin America in recent years. A case in point was in Kenya, where two of the regime’s terrorists were put on trial on December 1, 2016. The Associated Press reported, “Two Iranian men were charged Thursday in a Kenyan court with collecting information to facilitate a terrorist act after they were allegedly found with video footage of the Israeli embassy. Sayed Nasrollah Ebrahim and Abdolhosein Gholi Safaee were arrested Tuesday in an Iranian diplomatic car on Bishop Road in Nairobi…The suspects were taking the pictures using a mobile phone.”
6. The assassination of Saeed Karimian, the director of Jam TV, in Istanbul on April 29, 2017 is one of the latest cases of the Iranian regime’s terrorist conduct against Iranian expats outside of the country. Subsequent to it, Turkish media reported that the assassins were arrested in Serbia while trying to escape to Montenegro using fake passports, with the apparent intention of returning from Europe to Iran. The Turkish daily, Milliyet reported on May 18, 2017 that police in Istanbul had initiated the extradition process for the assailants, who were members the Iranian regime’s special forces.
Ballistic missile tests and export of missiles
Following the JCPOA, upon orders of Khamenei, the regime has stepped up its ballistic missile tests.
1. The Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee of the US House of Representatives’ Foreign Affairs Committee held a hearing on March 31, 2017 titled, “Testing the Limits: Iran’s Ballistic Missile Program, Sanctions, and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps”. In it, Congresswoman Ileana Ros- Lehtinen, the Chair of the Subcommittee said: “Since the signing of the JCPOA, Iran has tested, according to some sources, at least 15 ballistic missiles. And it has done so in open defiance of [UN Security Council] Resolution 2231.”
2. German Chancellor Angel Merkel said in the Bundestag on July 7, 2016, Iran "continued unabated to develop its rocket program in conflict with the relevant provisions of the UN Security Council."
3. The clerical regime tested a rocket that can deliver satellites into orbit, on July 27, 2017. Following a test of the Simorgh (Phoenix), the U.S., France, Germany, and Britain issued a joint statement on July 29 condemning the action and expressing their concern that these tests have a “destabilizing impact in the region.”
The Khorramshahr is a medium-range ballistic missile. Its range is 2000 km with 1800 kg warhead and 13 m length.
4. On July 28, the U.S. Department of the Treasury sanctioned six Iran-based subordinates of Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group (SHIG), an entity central to Iran’s ballistic missile program, in response to Iran’s continued provocative actions including the test of the Simorgh space launch vehicle.
5. In a press conference on June 20, 2017, the representative office of the National Council of Resistance of Iran exposed 42 centers for missile production, development, and testing by the IRGC throughout the country. The exposed information included details on the Aerospace Force of the IRGC (the entity in charge of launching missiles) and the Aerospace Industries Organization (the entity that oversees missile production.)
Regarding ballistic missiles, the revelation pointed out, “These missiles include Shahab 3, Sejil, Qadr, Ashura and some of the missiles that launch satellites into space, such as Safir. These missiles all have a range between 1,500 km to 2,000 km and have the capability to carry a nuclear warhead. Despite a ban on the regime using these types of missiles by UNSC Resolution 2231, the IRGC continues to launch these missiles on Khamenei’s orders.”
6. The IRGC has also been exporting missiles to other regional countries with increasing frequency. US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on April 18, 2017, "We see Iranian-supplied missiles being fired by the Houthis into Saudi Arabia -- and this is something, with the number of innocent people dying inside Yemen that has simply got to [be] brought to an end."
7. Ansarullah of Yemen (Houthis) fired a Burkan-1 missile toward Mecca, Saudi Arabia on October 28, 2016 that caused an uproar in Muslim countries, particularly in the Middle East. This missile was manufactured by the IRGC and was copied from the Scud-B missile. Ansarullah had acted upon the IRGC orders.
8. In addition to exporting all sorts of missiles to countries throughout the region including Lebanon, Palestine, Yemen, and Iraq, the clerical regime has set up factories to manufacture missiles in Syria and Lebanon. According to media reports in August 2017, the IRGC has been building a new missile manufacturing factory near the city of Baniyas, in Tartous Governorate in Syria.
9. Tehran has also been obtaining illicit and contraband equipment and parts needed for manufacturing missiles and weapons of mass destruction. According to a Fox News report on July 6, which cited reports from German intelligence agencies, “Iran is targeting German companies in its bid to advance its missile program, in possible violation of an international agreement.” The report added “Iran is actively seeking ‘products and scientific know-how for the field of developing weapons of mass destruction as well missile technology… In one case, Iran allegedly worked through a Chinese front company to seek ‘complex metal-producing machines’ from a German engineering firm.”
According to the German intelligence report, following the JCPOA, “there has been little or no decrease in the Islamic Republic’s efforts to gain technology for missiles capable of carrying warheads…The amount of evidence found for attempts to acquire proliferation-sensitive material for missile technology/the missile program, which is not covered by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, remained about the same."
Expansion of arms transfers to terrorist groups and proxy forces
There has been a sharp rise in export of arms by the Iranian regime to other countries in the region, resulting in escalation of war and terrorism.
1. There were a number of caches of weapons intercepted that were destined for Houthis in Yemen in 2015 and 2016.
2. On January 18, 2017, during a Security Council briefing on the Second Report of the Secretary-General on the Implementation of Resolution 2231 (2015), Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman said, “In terms of restrictions on arms-related transfers, the report includes information on the seizure of an arms shipment by the French Navy in the Northern Indian Ocean in March 2016. France concluded that the arms shipment originated in Iran and that such transfer had been undertaken contrary to annex B of the resolution.”
3. The top American admiral in the Middle East, Vice Adm. Kevin M. Donegan said on September 18, 2017 that Iran is sustaining the Houthis with an increasingly potent arsenal of anti-ship and ballistic missiles, deadly sea mines, and even explosive boats that have attacked allied ships in the Red Sea and in Saudi territory across Yemen’s northern border.
4. In the latter part of 2014, the Qods Force escalated shipments of weapons and ammunition to Bahrain and formed many networks for that purpose. Bahrain’s security forces announced the discovery of these networks on September 30, 2015. On the same day, Reuters quoted the interior ministry as saying the bomb-making facility in Nuweidrat, a residential district south of the capital Manama, contained more than 1.5 tons of high-grade explosives, making it one of the biggest finds in the kingdom. “The facility had been adapted to accommodate an elaborate network of hidden underground bunkers and an above-ground manufacturing operation,” the statement said.
5. The Washington Post reported on April 1, 2017: “Six years after the start of a peaceful Shiite protest movement against the country’s Sunni-led government, U.S. and European analysts now see an increasingly grave threat emerging on the margins of the uprising: heavily armed militant cells supplied and funded, officials say, by Iran….Western intelligence agencies are seeing a new boldness by Iran in supporting armed insurgents in the kingdom, according to multiple analysts from the United States and two Western European governments.”
“Documents and interviews with current and former intelligence officials describe an elaborate training program, orchestrated by Tehran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, to school Bahraini militants in the techniques of advanced bomb-making and guerrilla warfare. A wide variety of increasingly sophisticated weaponry — much of it forensically linked to Iran — has been discovered in Bahrain over the past three years, including hundreds of pounds of military-grade explosives that almost certainly originated in Iran, U.S. and European intelligence officials say. The efforts appear to mirror similar ongoing operations to build a network of pro-Tehran militant groups elsewhere in the Middle East, from Yemen to Iraq and Syria, several analysts said.”
“We are seeing more evidence of an Iranian destabilization effort,” said a U.S. intelligence official with years of experience monitoring Bahrain’s civil and political unrest.”
Bahraini authorities on Sept. 30, 2015, uncovered a bombmaking facility at a warehouse in Nuwaidrat, Bahrain, that contained military-grade explosives as well as chemical precursors.
Threats to shipping and security in the Persian Gulf
The IRGC has increased its threats to shipping in the Persian Gulf following the signing of the JCPOA and the IRGC’s commanders continue to repeat threats against vessels in the Gulf and the Sea of Oman.
1. One such action was the detention, on January 12, 2016, of 10 American sailors who had allegedly trespassed into Iranian waters. On January 31, 2016, Supreme Leader Khamenei personally awarded Fath (Victory) medals to commanders of the IRGC naval forces who captured the American sailors.
2. Bill Urban of the Navy's Fifth Fleet told Business Insider in a phone interview on September 6, 2016: "The number of unsafe, unprofessional interactions for the first half of the year is nearly twice as much as the same period in 2015, and the trend has continued. There's already more in 2016 than all of 2015."
3. Melisa Dalton of the Centre for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) prepared a paper in May 2016 titled, “Navigating Gulf Waters After the Iran Nuclear Deal: Iran’s Maritime Provocations and Challenges for U.S. Policy.” In it she wrote: “Iran’s maritime provocations have long been an irritant for the U.S. Navy and partners in the Gulf. Now, as the United States and other members of the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, plus Germany and the European Union) enforce the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to curb Iran’s nuclear program, Iranian naval provocations pose a new challenge for the United States.”
Iranian regime’s speedboats causing provocation in Persian Gulf
Intensification of Cyber-attacks
The use of cyber-attacks as an offensive weapon by the Iranian regime has also seen a notable increase since the implementation of the JCPOA.
1. According to the U.S Department of State’s report, “State Sponsors of Terrorism 2016,” The Iranian government maintains a robust cyber terrorism program and has sponsored cyber-attacks against foreign government and private sector entities.
2. Director of National Intelligence Daniel R. Coats presented the “Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community” to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on May 11, 2017, and stated: “Tehran continues to leverage cyber espionage, propaganda, and attacks to support its security priorities, influence events and foreign perceptions, and counter threats—including against US allies in the region. Iran has also used its cyber capabilities directly against the United States. For example, in 2013, an Iranian hacker conducted an intrusion into the industrial control system of a US dam, and in 2014, Iranian actors conducted a data deletion attack against the network of a US-based casino.”
3. An April 26, 2016 Financial Times article, “Cyber warfare: Iran opens a new front,” stated: “With its nuclear programme curbed, digital weaponry has become even more central to Tehran’s arsenal”. The report mentioned the 2015 cyber-attack, which targeted European and American institutions, and it explained that the Iranian perpetrators had begun using customized malware while broadening their reach.
“In December 2014, Cylance, a US cyber security firm, informed its clients of the activities of Iranian hackers engaged in a project it called Operation Cleaver… The hackers behind Cleaver successfully infected the computers of hundreds of companies and sensitive organisations, from military systems, to oil and gas production controls, to airport and airline security databases. The countries hit hardest were not just the regional and traditional foes of Iran. They included places such as South Korea and Canada,” the article pointed out.
Two years after the implementation of the JCPOA, events have shown that in return for its gains under the nuclear agreement, the Iranian regime has escalated its terrorism and belligerence in the region and the world. Moreover, it has expanding its testing of nuclear-capable ballistic missiles and has helped offensive weaponry to spread among regional proxies.
Gen. Joseph Votel, the head of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) addressed the intensification of the Iranian regime’s malign activities after the JCPOA in a testimony before the House Armed Services Committee on March 30, 2017. During the hearing, Jacky Rosen, a Democratic Representative from the State of Nevada, asked, “Do you believe Iran has increased destabilizing activity since the JCPOA?” “I do believe they have,” responded Gen. Votel.
In his speech before the United Nations General Assembly on September 19, 2017, the U.S. President said: “The Iranian government masks a corrupt dictatorship behind the false guise of a democracy. It has turned a wealthy country, with a rich history and culture, into an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed, and chaos. The longest-suffering victims of Iran's leaders are, in fact, its own people. Rather than use its resources to improve Iranian live, its oil profits go to fund Hezbollah and other terrorists that kill innocent Muslims… This wealth, which rightly belongs to Iran's people, also goes to shore up Bashar Al Assad's dictatorship, fuel Yemen's civil war, and undermine peace throughout the entire Middle East. We cannot let a murderous regime continue these destabilizing activities while building dangerous missiles and we cannot abide by an agreement if it provides cover for the eventual construction of a nuclear program.”
A review of Tehran’s destructive conduct since the nuclear talks became serious in 2013 points to the following realities:
1. The clerical regime has drastically stepped up its belligerent conduct and terrorist sponsorship over the past four years.
2. The Iranian regime’s terrorist activities have grown throughout the region and the world, in part because of access to funds that were unfrozen due to the JCPOA.
3. There has been an increase in production and testing of ballistic missiles.
4. Iranian regime’s illicit exports of weapons to various countries in the region has grown.
5. Tehran’s provocative activities in the Persian Gulf have expanded considerably.
6. Cyber attacks against the Western targets and neighboring countries have also intensified in the years since the opening of nuclear negotiations.
There is need for a comprehensive policy that deals with the threat emanating from the clerical regime’s conduct. It should address Tehran’s flagrant human rights abuses, egregious belligerence in the region, sponsoring terrorist groups, pursuit of nuclear weapons, proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, and manufacturing and testing of ballistic missiles.
As Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran pointed out on September 19, 2017, “The recognition of the National Council of Resistance of Iran as the only democratic alternative to the terrorist, religious dictatorship in Iran is indispensable to ending and rectifying the United States’ disastrous past policy towards the people of Iran.”
The Iranian Resistance believes that the correct policy should include:
• The dossier of the Iranian regime’s crimes, particularly the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in 1988, must be referred to the International Criminal Court, and the regime’s leaders and perpetrators of these crimes must face justice;
• The clerical regime must be evicted from the Middle East and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its mercenary militias must be expelled from Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan and Lebanon;
• And, the previous UN Security Council resolutions on the clerical regime’s nuclear weapons projects, ban on nuclear enrichment, as well as free and unconditional inspections of military and non-military centers must be implemented.