Iran

Spotlight on Iran (December 13, 2020 – December 27, 2020)

In recent days, senior Syrian officials declared that Damascus does not intend to demand the withdrawal of Iranian forces from the country. An adviser to President Assad stated that Syria does not demand the departure of Iran or Hezbollah from the country, and that Russia too can not ask Syria to remove Iranian forces from its territory. Syrian sources reported about an agreement reached between Iran and Russia concerning the deployment of their forces in the Albu Kamal region along the Syrian-Iraqi border. In an interview to an Afghan television station, the Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammad Javad Zarif, discussed the activities of the Afghan Fatemiyoun Brigade, a militia operating under the guidance of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) in Syria.
Read more...

Iranian Subversion in Bahrain: The United States designates the Saraya al-Mukhtar as a Bahraini terrorist organization handled by Iran

On December 15, 2020, the American State Department announced it was designating the Bahraini terrorist organization Saraya al-Mukhtar as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist organization. According to the announcement, the organization receives "financial and logistic support" from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps. The organization's "self-described goal is to depose the Bahraini government with the intention of paving the way for Iran to exert greater influence in Bahrain" (State Department website, December 15, 2020).
Read more...

Spotlight on Iran (November 29, 2020 – December 13, 2020)

The recently appointed Syrian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Faysal al-Miqdad, arrived for an official visit in Tehran. In light of growing criticism in Iran arguing that the volume of trade between Iran and Syria and Iraq is insufficient, the Iranian Organization for Trade Development published updated data concerning the volume of Iranian exports to Syria. The Iranian Ambassador to Iraq, Iraj Masjedi, confirmed in a television interview that the commander of the Qods Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Esmail Qa’ani, recently visited Iraq and met with senior Iraqi officials. The Reuters news agency reported about Iran’s efforts to expands its influence in the religious sphere in Iraq, though the development of the Shia holy sites in Iraq.
Read more...

Spotlight on Iran (November 15, 2020 – November 29, 2020)

Senior Iranian officials have avoided publicly commenting on the statement of the IDF spokesperson about Israeli strikes on targets of the Syrian Army and Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) after explosive devices were discovered in two locations on the Syrian-Israeli border on the Golan Heights. The Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs Zarif and the special adviser to the speaker of the Majlis met in Tehran with the UN Special Envoy for Syria, Geir Pedersen. In mid-November, the Iraqi minister of defense visited Tehran and met senior Iranian officials, including the minister of defense, the chief of staff of the Armed Forces, the commander of the IRGC and the secretary of the Supreme National Security Council.
Read more...

Spotlight on Iran (November 1, 2020 – November 15, 2020)

The Senior Adviser to the Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ali-Asghar Khaji visited Damascus and met with President Assad and discussed the ongoing negotiations process concerning the settlement of the war in Syria, regional developments and bilateral relations. The Iranian deputy minister of defense visited Baghdad at the helm of a delegation made up of senior military and security officials, and met with high-ranking Iraqi officials, chief among them the national security adviser and the Iraqi minister of interior. Growing Iranian concerns about efforts to stymie its economic activity in Syria and Iraq. Iranian media outlets reported that the agreement, reached during the visit to Iraq of the governor of the Iranian Central Bank concerning the release of Iranian funds frozen in Iraqi banks, is gradually being implemented.
Read more...

The Intelligence Organization of the IRGC: A Major Iranian Intelligence Apparatus

The Intelligence Organization of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has become a major intelligence apparatus of the Islamic Republic, having increased its influence and broadened its authorities. Iran’s intelligence apparatus, similar to other control and governance apparatuses in the Islamic Republic, is characterized by power plays, rivalries and redundancy. The Intelligence Organization of the IRGC, which answers to the supreme leader, operates alongside the Ministry of Intelligence, which was established in 1984 and answers to the president.
Read more...