On Saturday October 28, 2017. The International Agency for Press for Strategic Studies (AIJES) held a conference in Paris, under the title of Paris Forum on Combating Terrorism and Organized Crime.

Welcoming the participants, Mr. Jamal Al-Awadhi, director of AIJES, announced the program, Opening speech was delivered by Alejo Vidal-Quadras the president of the Brussels-based International Committee in Search of Justice (ISJ) who talked extensively about the role of Iranian regime as the leading state sponsor of terrorism and its revolutionary guards corps (IRGC).

The conference was followed but informative and interesting speeches of many specialists and scholars.

The following is the full text of the speech, delivered by Dr Alejo Vidal-Quadras:

Thank you for inviting me to this important and very timely conference on Terrorism.

As President of the International Committee in Search of Justice (ISJ) which brings together parliamentarians, former MPs and politicians from both sides of the Atlantic, and also during my 15 years as Vice president of the European Parliament, I have followed the situation of the Middle East very closely.

Today I want to briefly speak about state sponsor of terrorism. This is a new phenomenon, which came to existence since the rise to power of Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran. Terrorism and even extremism under the name of Islam had existed long before that. However, they were scattered and isolate groups. The dangerous characteristic of this phenomenon is that it gained power in a power country such as Iran, with vast financial resource and a history of having influenced the political thinking in the region. For the first time a state with all its resources was using terrorism as means of advancing its goals on the ideological base of a religious, dogmatic and fanatical belief.

In this regard, I would like to concentrate on Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the ideological army established to protect the Iranian theocracy and its supreme leader. This is also the force that is tasked with repressing the people inside Iran.

Our organisation, the ISJ, published an extensive study on the IRGC earlier this year. We established that the IRGC has been meddling in the affairs of all 14 Muslim countries in the region and is directly involved in meddling in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Lebanon. In the summer of 2016, there were close to 70,000 Iranian proxy forces present in Syria, many of them mercenaries, including young Afghan refugees in Iran who agree to go Syria for short period of time in return for money or obtaining identity card and a status in Iran.

IRGC has many centres in Iran where they train foreign terrorists. Every month, hundreds of forces from Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan and Lebanon receive military training and are subsequently dispatched to wage terrorism and war.

The IRGC’s meddling is not limited to the military sphere and it has a defining role in Tehran’s foreign policy. In many countries of the region, the IRGC has effectively taken control of the foreign policy through the embassies where they also exploit diplomatic immunity.

We found also that while the IRGC is the most significant economic powerhouse in Iran and has dedicated its financial and economic skill to meddling in other countries, the extensive scope of the meddling has been a very heavy burden on the Iranian economy.

Over the past five years, Tehran has spent over $100B for IRGC operations in Syria alone. The money is spent on procuring weapons and paying for the Syrian army's expenses. They spend about $1B a year to pay salaries their affiliated forces.

The IRGC has its own intelligence unit that functions in parallel to the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence. It has as expanded its espionage throughout the region and has set up various intelligence posts in a number of countries in recent months.

In Europe, they have also been involved with Cyber-attacks. Last week, British media confirmed that IRGC’s cyber army had attacked email accounts of British MPs, including Prime Minister Teresa May. The German anti espionage agency reported recently that it had observed sophisticated cyber-attacks by IRGC on German business and companies.

I want to make one point very clear. The Iranian regime’s meddling in other countries does not reflect its strength. On the contrary, it is a sign of its deep crises at home and sign of weakness. Since its foundation, it has relied on two pillars to remain in power: domestic suppression and export of fundamentalism and terrorism. Regrettably, the Western policy of appeasement and the failure of regional country to stand up to this phenomenon, allowed it to expand.

In our study, published in March this year, we recommend that the IRGC should be put on the terrorist lists in United State and in Europe. The regional countries must stand firm and take all necessary measures to confront the IRGC and its proxies.

Two weeks ago, the United States finally put the IRGC on the Terrorist list. This was a very good news for the people of Iran who really hate the IRGC.

In Europe because of the enormous trade interests of some big countries and EU's close relations with the Iranian regime, the European governments wish not to annoy the mullahs and practically have closed their eyes to human rights violations. This is an attitude that is morally very reprehensible and strategically dangerous.

Since the IRGC is now designated as a - Specially Designated Global Terrorist – organisation by the US Treasury, the European companies trading with Iran will seriously risk of being sanctioned by the US, since the IRGC runs most of Iran's economy.

I believe we must warn our governments in Europe of the consequences of their trade links with the regime in Iran.

To finish, it is necessary to make a deep strategical reorientation of the policy of European Union and its member states towards the Iranian regime. A policy based on requirements on human rights, withdrawal of the Revolutionary Guards and its affiliates from Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen and strict conformity with the spirit and the text of the nuclear agreement.

The current resort to weakness, opportunism and prioritising of economic interests over moral principles that define the European Union will inevitably lead us to failure.

 

Share this post

Submit to DeliciousSubmit to DiggSubmit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to StumbleuponSubmit to TechnoratiSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn