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Iran’s Islamist Proxies in the Middle East | Wilson Center

By Ashley LaneSince the 1979 revolution, Iran has built a network of proxies across the Middle East. At of beginning of 2020, Tehran had allies among more than a dozen major militias, some with their own political parties, that challenged local and neighboring governments. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and the elite Qods Force provided arms, training and financial support to militias and political movements in at least six countries: Bahrain, Iraq, Lebanon, the Palestinian Territories, Syria and United States has struggled to deal with Iran’s proxies short of military confrontation. Since 1984, and across six presidencies, the United States has sanctioned Iran’s extensive network of militia proxies in the Middle East to contain Tehran’s regional influence. The Trump administration increased the pace and scope of punitive economic measures between 2017 and 2021. But sanctions have never fully succeeded. In 2020, the State Department estimated that Iran gave Hezbollah $700 million a year. In the past, Tehran had historically given $100 million annually to Palestinian groups, including Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Iranian proxies sanctioned by the United StatesImage CreditU. S. Institute of Peace/The Woodrow Wilson CenterThe Reagan administration first designated Iran a State Sponsor of Terrorism in 1984, but the Clinton administration was the first to sanction Iran’s proxies. In 1995, the United States sanctioned Hezbollah, a Shiite militia and political movement in Lebanon, Hamas, a Sunni militia and political movement in the Palestinian territories, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, also a Sunni militia in the Palestinian tween 1995 and 2020, five administrations – Clinton, Bush, Obama, Trump and Biden – sanctioned 11 Iranian proxy groups in five countries. They also sanctioned 89 leaders* from 13 groups supported by inton administration (1993 – 2001): three groups (Hezbollah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad) and six leadersGeorge W. Bush administration (2001 – 2009): three groups (Hezbollah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad) and 14 leadersObama administration (2009 – 2017): one group (Kataib Hezbollah) and 34 leadersTrump administration (2017 – 2021): six groups (Ansar Allah, Asaib Ahl al Haq, Harakat Hezbollah al Nujaba, Zaynabiyoun Brigade, Fatemiyoun Division, Al Ashtar Brigades, Saraya al Mukhtar) and 32 administration (2021 –): removed designation from one group (Ansar Allah) and sanctioned three tween 2017 and 2020, the Trump administration imposed 40 percent of all those sanctions. It designated seven groups and 32 leaders tied to Iran. One of President Trump’s top foreign policy goals was to limit Tehran’s regional influence and support for militant groups across the Middle East. “From Lebanon to Iraq to Yemen, Iran funds, arms, and trains terrorists, militias, and other extremist groups that spread destruction and chaos across the region, ” he said in May 2017. “For decades, Iran has fueled the fires of sectarian conflict and terror. ” The Trump administration “has been relentless in its use of sanctions tools to increase pressure on the Iranian regime, not only for its support of terrorism around the world, but for its manifest human rights violations at home, ” Nathan Sales, the State Department’s coordinator for counterterrorism, told reporters in November 2020. “We remain committed to holding the regime accountable for the bloodshed that they have committed across the world in places like South America, in Europe, in Syria, in Lebanon, in Yemen, and elsewhere. ” The United States has the power to impose punitive economic sanctions either through presidential executive orders or laws passed by presidents – Clinton, Bush and Obama – issued executive orders that empowered them to sanction Iranian proxies. They include:Under Executive Order 12947 signed by President Clinton in 1995, the Treasury or State Departments could designate foreign individuals or organizations as Specially Designated Terrorists for disrupting the Middle East peace process. Treasury and State’s powers to sanction terrorist groups were vastly expanded by the Immigration and Nationality Act in 1997 and Executive Order 13224 in 2001. President Trump officially terminated Executive Order 12947 in 2019 and brought these designations under Executive Order Executive Order 13224 signed by President Bush in 2001, the Treasury or State Departments can designate foreign individuals or organizations for committing, or pose a risk of committing, acts of terrorism that threaten U. interests or national security. It can also designate individuals, financiers and front companies as Specially Designated Global Terrorists for providing support to terrorist groups. A designation imposes sanctions, which prevents these individuals and entities from engaging in transactions with individuals or companies in the United States. It also blocks any assets that they have in the United States. Its goal is to disrupt terrorist finance networks and increase public awareness of individuals and groups connected to Executive Order 13438 signed by President Bush in 2007, the Treasury or State Departments can designate individuals or entities that have committed, or pose a risk of committing, violence that threatens the peace and stability of Iraq. Its goal is to disrupt support for terrorists and insurgent groups in Iraq. Under Executive Order 13752 signed by President Obama in 2011, the Treasury or State Departments can designate individuals and entities that are responsible for human rights abuses and repression in Syria. The IRGC-Qods Force and its commanders are sanctioned under this Executive Order 13611 signed by President Obama in 2012, the Treasury or State Departments can designate individuals and entities that threaten the peace, security and stability of Yemen. Its goal is to disrupt support for individuals and groups threatening the peace and stability of September 10, 2019, President Trump amended Executive Order 13224. His order superseded older authorities and included individuals and entities who were previously sanctioned under Executive Order ngress has passed two laws to sanction Iranian proxies:Under Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, passed by Congress in 1997, the State Department can designate organizations as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) for engaging in terrorist activities that threaten U. national security or interests. An FTO designation means that these groups cannot engage in transactions with individuals or companies in the United States and any assets they have in the United States are blocked. It also imposes immigration restrictions on organization members. Its goal is to limit terrorist organizations’ financial resources and increase public Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act, passed by Congress in 2015, and the Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Amendments Act, passed by Congress in 2018, exclude banks that conduct transactions with Hezbollah from the U. financial system. The 2018 amendment allows the United States to sanction foreign entities that finance or arm Hezbollah. The State Department estimated that Iran spent more than $16 billion on support for the Assad regime and its proxies between 2012 and the mid-1990s, U. sanctions have been an important tool in disrupting terrorist financial networks, denying access to U. banks and deterring funders. But U. sanctions have not significantly impacted Iran’s relationships with its proxies. “Financial sanctions can’t affect many of the most important aspects of Iran’s proxy relationships, including the training, safe havens, and transfers of weapons and technology that it provides, ” Ariane Tabatabai and Colin Clarke wrote in 2019. The following is a rundown of U. sanctions on Iranian proxies by country. LebanonHezbollah (or Party of God)Hezbollah is a Shiite movement that was Iran’s first proxy in the Middle East. It has a militia founded in the early 1980s, with military and financial support from the Revolutionary Guards, and a political party, which first ran for office in 1992 after it emerged from the underground. In the 1980s, it carried out several suicide bombings against U. personnel and facilities in Lebanon and seized dozens of foreign hostages, including more than a dozen Americans. By 2020, Hezbollah had become the world’s most heavily armed non-state actor, with at least 130, 000 rockets and missiles, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies. It also held powerful positions in Lebanon’s government and economic sector. “Hezbollah’s budget, everything it eats and drinks, its weapons and rockets, comes from the Islamic Republic of Iran, ” Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah said in 2016. In 2018, the Treasury Department estimated that Tehran provided Hezbollah with more than $700 million annually. In 2020, Iranian funding decreased due to U. sanctions, declining oil prices and the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Matthew Levitt of the Washington Institute for Near East 1995, the Clinton administration sanctioned Hezbollah and Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah for disrupting the Middle East peace process. It designated Hezbollah a Foreign Terrorist Organization in 1997. In 2001, the Bush administration designated it a Specially Designated Global tween 1995 and 2020, the United States sanctioned a total of 44 Hezbollah leaders. In 2020, the Treasury Department charged Hezbollah’s senior leadership with “creating and implementing the terrorist organization’s destabilizing and violent agenda” against U. interests and partners around the world. Yet Hezbollah maintains global influence and remains “one of our nation’s most critical national security challenges, ” Marshall Billingslea, Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing, said in Treasury and State Departments have sanctioned the following Hezbollah leaders:Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah: In 1995, for threatening to disrupt the Middle East peace process, in 2012, for overseeing Hezbollah’s support for Syria’s Assad regime, and in 2018, for acting on behalf of Hezbollah as its Ayatollah Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah: In 1995, for serving as a leading ideological figure of lamic Jihad Organization Head Imad FayezMughniyah: In 2001, for committing, or posing a significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism that threaten U. In 2011, the United States delisted him for no longer meeting the designation criteria under Executive Order 13224. Operative Hasan Izz al Din: In 2001, for his involvement in the hijacking of TWA Flight 847 on June 14, 1985. Operative Ali Atwa: In 2001, for his involvement in the hijacking of TWA Flight 847 on June 14, leader Husayn al Shami: In 2006, for leading Bayt al Mal, a bank, creditor and investment arm for presentative in South America Bilal Mohsen Wehbe: In 2010, for overseeing Hezbollah’s counterintelligence activity in the Tri-Border Area (Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay) and facilitating the transfer of funds from Brazil to military commander Mustafa Badr al Din: In 2012, for aiding Hezbollah’s terrorist activities and in 2015, for coordinating Hezbollah’s military activities in Syria. External Security Organization head Talal Hamiyah: In 2012, for aiding Hezbollah’s global terrorist activities. Senior commander Ali Mussa Daqduq al Musawi: In 2012, for planning the deadly attack on the U. troops at the Karbala Joint Provincial Coordination Center in Iraq on January 20, reign Relations Department liaison Ali Ibrahim al Watfa: In 2013, for leading a Hezbollah cell in Freetown, Sierra Leone, and coordinating the transfer of funds from Sierra Leone to Hezbollah in reign Relations Department official Abbas Loutfe Fawaz: In 2013, for leading Hezbollah activities, including recruitment and fundraising, in reign Relations Department official Ali Ahmad Chehade: In 2013, for leading Hezbollah activities, including recruitment and coordinating travel, in Cote d’itary commander Khalil Harb: In 2013, for planning terrorist attacks against Israel and directing Hezbollah’s activities in Yemen. Political Council member Muhammad Kawtharani: In 2013, for directing Hezbollah’s activities in itary commander Muhammad Yusuf Ahmad Mansur: In 2013, for directing terrorist operations in itary commander Muhammad Qabalan: In 2013, for coordinating terrorist operations in lamic Jihad Organization member Mustapha Fawaz: In 2015, for conducting surveillance and relaying information for Hezbollah in reign Relations Department official Fouzi Fawaz: In 2015, for scouting recruits for military units and providing logistical support for Hezbollah in reign Relations Department representative Abdallah Tahini: In 2015, for fundraising and providing logistical support to Hezbollah in Council member Ibrahim Aqil: In 2015, for aiding Hezbollah fighters and pro-regime troops in Council member Fuad Shukr: In 2015, for aiding Hezbollah fighters and pro-regime troops in Syria. External Security Organization operative Muhammad Ghaleb Hamdar: In 2016, for acting on behalf of Hezbollah by assisting in the planning of terrorist acts. External Security Organization operative Yosef Ayad: In 2016, for acting on behalf of Hezbollah by assisting in the planning of terrorist itary commander Haytham Ali Tabatabai: In 2016, for commanding Hezbollah’s special forces in Syria and leader Ali Damush: In 2017, for leading Hezbollah’s Foreign Relations itary commander Mustafa Mughniyeh: In 2017, for aiding Hezbollah’s terrorist activities. Executive Council official Hashem Safieddine: In 2017, for committing, or posing a risk of committing, acts of Secretary General Naim Qasim: In 2018, for acting for or on behalf of Hezbollah. Judicial Council leader and military commander Muhammad Yazbak: In 2018, for providing logistical and training support to Hezbollah. Political advisor to the Secretary General Husayn al Khalil: In 2018, for acting for or on behalf of Hezbollah. Political Council head Ibrahim al Amin al Sayyid: In 2018, for acting for or on behalf of presentative to Iran Abdallah Safi al Din: In 2018, for acting as a conduit between Iran and Jawad Nasrallah: In 2018, for recruiting individuals for terrorist attacks against Israel in the West External Security Organization member Salman Raouf Salman: In 2019, for coordinating the bombing of the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina in of Parliament Amin Sherri: In 2019, for acting as an interlocutor in Lebanon for Hezbollah Council member and Parliamentary Council head Muhammad Hassan Rad: In 2019, for acting for or on behalf of aison and Coordination Unit head Wafiq Safa: In 2019, for leading Hezbollah’s security telligence Unit chief Husain Ali Hazzima: In 2019, for aiding Hezbollah’s terrorist Council leader Ali Karaki: In 2019, for leading Hezbollah military operations in southern Council leader Muhammad Haydar: In 2019, for managing Hezbollah networks outside of Lebanon. Executive Council official Sultan Khalifa Asad: In 2020, for directing companies subordinate to the Executive Council. Central Council member Nabil Qaouk: In 2020, for acting as an official or leader of Hezbollah. Central Council member Hassan al Baghdadi: In 2020, for acting as an official or leader of of Hezbollah’s Central Financial Unit Ibrahim Ali Daher: In 2021, for acting for or on behalf of Hezbollah. The United States has also designated dozens of Hezbollah financiers, including businesspeople, front companies, charities and banks. It also sanctioned shipping companies and airlines for providing services to Hezbollah. The Treasury and State Departments have sanctioned the following individuals, companies and organizations:Assad Ahmad Barakat: In 2004, for serving as a key Hezbollah financier in the Tri-Border Area (Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina). In 2006, the Treasury Department sanctioned nine individuals and two companies in Barakat’s Manar Television Network and al Nour Radio: In 2006, for supporting Hezbollah fundraising and recruitment lamic Resistance Support Organization: In 2006, for functioning as a key Hezbollah fundraising al Mal and Yousser Company for Finance and Investment: In 2006, for functioning as Hezbollah’s main financial body and operating under the direct supervision of Secretary General Saderat: In 2006, for facilitating the transfer of hundreds of millions of dollars annually to Hezbollah, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic lería Page Shopping Center: In 2006, for serving as a funding source and headquarters for Hezbollah in the Tri-Border al Binaa (construction company): In 2007, for being formed and operated by rtyrs Foundation: In 2007, for providing financial support to Hezbollah, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Qard al Hassan: In 2007, for managing Hezbollah’s financial Nasr al Din and Fawzi Kanan: In 2008, for providing financial support to Hezbollah. Kassim Tajideen: In 2009, for contributing tens of millions of dollars to Hezbollah. In 2010, the Treasury Department sanctioned his brothers, Ali and Husayn Tajideen, and their business network in Gambia, Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola and the British Virgin Islands, for providing support to Project (construction company): In 2009, for being established and operated by anian Committee for the Reconstruction of Lebanon: In 2010, for providing material support to Khomeini Relief Committee—Lebanon Branch: In 2010, for being directed and run by Hezbollah Transport Kish: In 2010, for providing material support, including weapons, to Hezbollah on behalf of the Revolutionary Joumaa: In 2011, for operating a drug trafficking and money laundering network that raised hundreds of millions of dollars for Hezbollah. The Treasury Department sanctioned nine other individuals and 19 entities in Joumaa’s Air: In 2011, for acting on behalf of the Qods Force and transporting personnel, weapons and goods for Air: In 2012, for acting on behalf of the Qods Force and working with Hezbollah and Syrian officials to transfer illicit cargo to and Issam Amhaz: In 2014, for procuring materials and technology for Hezbollah. The Treasury Department also designated their company, Starts Group Holding SAL, and its six Tabaja: In 2015, for maintaining close ties to Hezbollah leadership, holding properties on the group’s behalf, and securing business and investment opportunities for Hezbollah. The Treasury Department also sanctioned his company, Al Inmaa Group for Tourism Works. In 2018, it also sanctioned six individuals for acting on behalf of Adham Tabaja and his al Nur Shalan: In 2015, for assisting in procurement and shipment of weapons and material to Hussein Serhan: In 2015, for providing material support and services to Hezbollah. The Treasury Department also sanctioned his company, Vatech Mohamad Cherri: In 2015, for providing material support and services to Hezbollah. The Treasury Department also sanctioned his company, Le Hua Electronic Field Co. Skyone Co. Ltd. And Labico S. A. L. Offshore: In 2015, for being owned or controlled by Ali Zeaiter. In 2014, the Treasury Department sanctioned Ali Zeaiter for procuring dual-use technology for Youssef Charara andSpectrum Investment Group Holding SAL: In 2016, for investing in commercial projects that support hammad Noureddine: In 2016, for providing financial services to Hezbollah through his company Trade Point International Jamal al Din and Muhammad al Mukhtar Kallas: In 2016, for providing financial services to Hezbollah financier Adham hammad Amer Alchwiki: In 2018, for facilitating the transfer of hundreds of millions of dollars to hammad Ibrahim Bazzi: In 2018, for providing hundreds of millions of dollars to Hezbollah over many Bilad Islamic Bank: In 2018, for enabling Iran to move funds from Tehran to Hezbollah, as well as Iraqi groups backed by Said Ahmad: In 2018, for his role as a prominent Hezbollah money launderer and Holding: In 2020, for being owned or controlled by the Martyrs Foundation, which was sanctioned in 2007. The Treasury Department also sanctioned three officials and 11 other entities that are affiliated with the Martyrs Construction and Arch Consulting: In 2020, for being owned or controlled by Mohamad Yazbeck, Abbas Hassan Gharib, Wahid Mahmud Subayti, Mostafa Habib Harb, Ezzat Youssef Akar, and Hasan Chehadeh Othman: In 2021, for acting on or behalf of Al Qard al Hassan, a sanctioned financial firm used by aqKataib Hezbollah (or Party of God Brigades)Kataib Hezbollah is a Shiite militia formed in 2007 and trained and armed by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. In 2009, the State Department designated Kataib Hezbollah a Foreign Terrorist Organization, and the Treasury Department sanctioned its Secretary General, Abu Mahdi al Muhandis, for committing acts of violence against Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces. The United States imposed two additional rounds of sanctions on Kataib Hezbollah leadership in 2014, the militia joined Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) to fight ISIS but maintained its close ties with Tehran. “I will not shy away from mentioning the support of the Islamic Republic of Iran in terms of weapons, advising, and planning, ” Muhandis said in 2018. With Iranian backing, Kataib Hezbollah carried out the most sophisticated and effective attacks against U. S. forces and coalition allies in Iraq from 2007 to 2011 and 2018 to 2020. On December 27, 2019, it launched a rocket attack on the K1 military base near Kirkuk that killed a U. civilian contractor and wounded four U. service members and two Iraqi security forces personnel. In January 2020, the United States retaliated with a drone strike on Muhandis and Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Qods Force, in Baghdad. It also designated its new secretary general, Ahmad al Hamidawi, a global terrorist in February 2020. The Treasury and State Departments have sanctioned the following Kataib Hezbollah leaders: Secretary General Abu Mahdi al Muhandis: In 2009, for training Iraqi Shiite militias and directing attacks against Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces. Special Operations Commander Shaykh Adnan al Hamidawi: In 2020, for acting for or on behalf of Kataib cretary General Ahmad al Hamidawi: In 2020, for acting for or on behalf of Kataib Hezbollah. The United States has also sanctioned front companies for acting on behalf of the Qods Force and providing aid to Iraqi militias backed by Treasury Department has sanctioned the following firms:Reconstruction Organization of the Holy Shrines in Iraq: In 2020, for being controlled by the Qods Force and transferring millions of dollars to Kosar al Kawthar Company for Construction and Trading Ltd (Kosar Company): In 2020, for serving as a base for Iranian intelligence activities in Iraq, including weapons shipments to militias backed by Iran. Asaib Ahl al Haq (or the League of the Righteous)Asaib Ahl al Haq is a Shiite militia that was founded in 2006 and trained, armed, and funded by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and Lebanon’s Hezbollah. Between 2006 and 2011, when the U. military withdrew from Iraq, it launched more than 6, 000 attacks on U. and coalition forces. In 2014, it joined the government-funded PMF to fight ISIS in northern Iraq. With some 20, 000 members, it became one of the largest militias in the PMF, yet it maintained operational ties with Tehran. “It is no secret that Iran supports all the militias in this area and we are obviously one of them, ” Qais al Khazali, the group’s leader, said in January 2020, the State Department designated Asaib Ahl al Haq a Foreign Terrorist Organization. It also listed Khazali and his brother, Laith al Khazali, as global terrorists. “AAH and its leaders are violent proxies of the Islamic Republic of Iran, ” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said. “Acting on behalf of their masters in Tehran, they use violence and terror to further the Iranian regime’s efforts to undermine Iraqi sovereignty. ”The Treasury Department has sanctioned the following AAH leaders:Secretary General Qais al Khazali: In 2019, for committing human rights abuses against Iraqi protestors and leading the attack on an Iraqi government compound near Karbala in January 2007 that killed five U. leader Laith al Khazali: In 2019, for committing human rights abuses against Iraqi protestors and leading the attack on an Iraqi government compound near Karbala in January 2007 that killed five U. soldiers. Harakat Hezbollah al Nujaba (or Movement of the Party of God’s Nobles)Harakat Hezbollah al Nujaba is a Shiite militia founded in 2013 and trained, armed and advised by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. Its original purpose was to support Bashar al Assad in Syria against anti-regime rebels; in 2014, it expanded its mission to fight ISIS and joined the PMF. But it continued to receive support from Tehran. “We do not hide the fact that the technical and logistical support comes from the Islamic Republic, ” Akram Abbas al Kabi, the group’s leader, told Al-Monitor in 2019, the State Department designated Harakat Hezbollah al Nujaba a Foreign Terrorist Organization and listed al Kabi as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist. The Treasury Department sanctioned al Kabi in 2008, prior to the group’s formation, for conducting attacks against Coalition Forces in Treasury and State Departments have sanctioned the following leaders:Leader Akram Abbas al Kabi: In 2008, for leading attacks against Iraqi and Coalition Forces and in 2019, for committing, or posing a risk of committing, terrorist OrganizationThe Badr Organization is a Shiite militia formed in 1982 that has been funded, trained and armed by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. It is the oldest and most powerful of Iran’s proxies in Iraq. Based in Iran during Saddam Hussein’s rule, it returned to Iraq after he was ousted by U. invasion in 2003. In 2014, it joined the PMF and was a pivotal force fighting ISIS from 2014 to 2017. It also has a political wing that has won seats in parliament. The U. government has not designated the Badr Organization, but the Treasury Department did sanction Abu Mustafa al Sheibani, the group’s former leader, in 2008. Al Sheibani left the Badr Organization in 2003. The Treasury Department has sanctioned the following Badr Organization leaders:Former leader Abu Mustafa al Sheibani: In 2008, for committing attacks, or posing a risk of committing attacks, against Iraqi and U. -led coalition Sayyad al Shuhada (or the Masters of the Martyrs Brigade)Kataib Sayyad al Shuhada is a Shiite militia founded in 2013 and funded and supported by the Revolutionary Guards. Its original mission was to support the Assad regime in Syria against a rebel uprising, but in 2014 it joined Iraq’s PMF to fight ISIS. The United States has not designated Kataib Sayyid al Shuhada a Foreign Terrorist Organization, although the Treasury Department designated Abu Mustafa al Sheibani, the group’s co-founder, a Specially Designated Global Terrorist in 2008. The Treasury Department has sanctioned the following leaders:Co-founder Abu Mustafa al Sheibani: In 2008, for committing attacks, or posing a risk of committing attacks, against Iraqi and U. -led coalition menAnsar Allah (or the Houthis)Ansar Allah is a Zaydi Shiite movement founded in the early 1990s that has fought the Yemeni government since 2004. The Houthis captured Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, in 2014 and helped oust President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi’s government in 2015. They have been supported by the Revolutionary Guards since at least 2011; Iran and Lebanese Hezbollah expanded training and increased arms shipments and arms after a Saudi-led coalition intervened in Yemen’s war in United States sanctioned two senior Houthi military commanders in 2014 and the Ansar Allah founder, Abdul Malik al Houthi, in 2015. The Trump administration reportedly considered designating the Houthis a Foreign Terrorist Organization in November 2018 and in September 2020 to intensify pressure on Treasury Department has sanctioned the following Houthi leaders:Military commander Abd al Khaliq al Houthi: In 2014, for threatening and undermining peace and stability in Yemen and in 2021, as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist. Second-in-command Abdullah Yahya al Hakim: In 2014, for threatening and undermining peace and stability in Yemen, and in 2021, as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist. Leader Abdul Malik al Houthi: In 2015, for threatening and undermining peace and stability in Yemen, and in 2021, as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist. Head of the General Staff Muhammad abd al Karim al Ghamari: In 2021, for threatening the peace, security or stability of itary official Yusuf al Madani: In 2021, as a Specially Designated Global riaZaynabiyoun BrigadeThe Zaynabiyoun Brigade is a Pakistani Shiite militia established in 2014 by the Revolutionary Guard Corps and trained by the Qods Force. It has recruited among Pakistanis living in Iran as well as from Pakistan’s tribal areas. It has fought with the Assad regime’s forces in 2019, the Treasury Department sanctioned the Zaynabiyoun Brigade for supporting the Qods Force and human rights abuses in Iran. “The brutal Iranian regime exploits refugee communities in Iran, deprives them of access to basic services such as education, and uses them as human shields for the Syrian conflict, ” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin charged. Fatemiyoun DivisionThe Fatemiyoun Division is an Afghan militia founded in the 1980s that went dormant in the 1990s and was revived by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards in 2012. It is primarily made up of Hazara refugees from Afghanistan living in Iran. Since 2014, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have deployed the militia to fight for the Assad regime in Syria. In 2017, some 50, 000 Afghans were deployed in Syria. The Treasury Department sanctioned the Fatemiyoun Division in 2019 for supporting the Qods Force and engaging in human rights abuses in Iran. It claimed that Iran had coerced Afghan refugees to fight in Syria or face imprisonment in Iran or deportation to hrainSaraya al Ashtar (or the Al Ashtar Brigades)The Al Ashtar Brigades is a militant group based in Bahrain funded, trained and armed by Iran. The State Department charged that it has committed terrorist attacks in Bahrain to overthrow the government. In 2014, the group killed two Bahraini police officers and one Emirati officer in a bomb attack. The Treasury Department designated two of Al Ashtar Brigade’s leaders global terrorists in March 2017. The State Department designated it a Foreign Terrorist Organization in July 2018. Al Ashtar is “another in a long line of Iranian sponsored terrorists who kill on behalf of a corrupt regime, ” Nathan Sales, the State Department coordinator for counterterrorism, said in State Department has sanctioned the following Saraya al Ashtar leaders:Senior member Ahmad Hasan Yusuf: In 2017, for posing a risk of committing acts of terrorism that threaten U. interests and national member Alsayed Murtadha Majeed Ramadhan Alawi: In 2017, for posing a risk of committing acts of terrorism that threaten U. interests and national al MukhtarSaraya al Mukhtar is a militant group based in Bahrain funded and supported by Iran. The State Department charged that it plotted attacks against U. personnel in Bahrain and offered cash rewards for the assassination of Bahraini officials. Saraya al Mukhtar’s goal is to overthrow the State Department designated it a Specially Designated Global Terrorist in December lestinian Territories Hamas (or the Islamic Resistance Movement)Hamas, or Harakat al Muqawama al Islamiyah, is a Sunni Islamist militia and political party based in Gaza that has reportedly been funded, armed and trained by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards since the early 1990s. Hamas opened an office in Tehran in the 1990s. The U. government sanctioned Hamas in 1995, designated it a Foreign Terrorist Organization in 1997 and named it a Specially Designated Global Terrorist in 2001. It has also imposed multiple rounds of sanctions on 21 senior leaders and operatives. In 2012, Iran cut off funding to Hamas after it refused to support the Assad regime in the Syrian civil war. Iran resumed financial assistance to Hamas in 2017. “Relations with Iran are excellent and Iran is the largest supporter of the Izz ad Din al Qassam Brigades with money and arms, ” Yahya Sinwar, a senior Hamas military leader, said in 2017. Iran has provided more than $100 million annually to Palestinian groups, including Hamas and Palestine Islamic Jihad, the State Department reported in Treasury and State Departments have sanctioned the following Hamas leaders:Founder and leader in Gaza Sheikh Ahmed Yassin: In 1995, for disrupting the Middle East peace process and in 2003, for co
Funding of Hezbollah - Wikipedia


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Funding of Hezbollah – Wikipedia

The funding of Hezbollah comes from Lebanese business groups, private persons, businessmen, the Lebanese diaspora involved in African diamond exploration, other Islamic groups and countries, and the taxes paid by the Shia Lebanese. [1] Hezbollah says that the main source of its income comes from its own investment portfolios and donations by Muslims.
Western sources maintain that Hezbollah receives most of its financial, training, weapons, explosives, political, diplomatic, and organizational aid from Iran and Syria. [2][3] Iran is said to have given $400 million between 1983 and 1989 through donation. The situation changed due to economic problems, but Iran still funds humanitarian efforts carried on by Hezbollah. [1] According to reports released in February 2010, Hezbollah received $400 million from Iran. [4][5][6] In 2011, Iran earmarked $7 million to Hezbollah’s activities in Latin American. [7] Hezbollah also receives financial and political assistance, as well as weapons and training, from Iran. [8][6][9] Iranian support to Hezbollah varied over the years, [10][11] but as of 2018 US officials estimate Iran transfers $700 million annually. [12][13]
Hezbollah has relied also on funding from the Shi’ite Lebanese Diaspora in West Africa, the United States and, most importantly, the Triple Frontier, or tri-border area, along the junction of Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil. [14] U. S. law enforcement officials have identified an illegal multimillion-dollar cigarette-smuggling fund raising operation[15] and a drug smuggling operation. [16][17][18] However, Nasrallah has repeatedly denied any links between the South American drug trade and Hezbollah, calling such accusations “propaganda” and attempts “to damage the image of Hezbollah”. [19][20]
International sanctions[edit]
As at October 2019, Hezbollah is subject to sanctions from a number of countries and international organisations that seek to stop funding to designated terrorist organisations, that includes Hezbollah. Banks, including Lebanese banks, are required to comply with these sanctions. [21][22] Banks that deal with parties that provide funds for Hezbollah (or other terrorist organisation) are liable to be barred from dealing in dollars, [23] besides other sanctions.
The countries that ban transfers of funds to Hezbollah include: Argentina, Australia, Canada, Egypt, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Paraguay, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom (partly), and the United States. Germany and the European Union outlawed only Hezbollah’s military wing, and work with Hezbollah’s political wing and allow it to raise funds in Europe. [24][25]
The United States has accused members of the Venezuelan government of providing financial aid to Hezbollah. [26] According to the testimony of a former Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Roger Noriega, Hugo Chávez’s government gave “indispensable support” to Iran and Hezbollah in the Western Hemisphere. [27] In an article by the conservative think tank the American Enterprise Institute, Noriega explained how two witnesses alleged that Ghazi Atef Nassereddine, a Venezuelan diplomat in Syria, was an operative of Hezbollah who used Venezuelan entities to launder money for Hezbollah with President Nicolás Maduro’s personal approval. [28]
Money laundering[edit]
Countries where Hezbollah operates or has financing connections.
Hezbollah has been accused of engaging in various illegal activities for the purpose of securing funds for its own activities. For example, Matthew Levitt told a committee of the US Senate that Hezbollah engages in a “wide variety of criminal enterprises” worldwide in order to raise funds. [29] The U. Treasury Department has accused Hezbollah of raising funds by counterfeiting U. currency. [30] In 2008, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration launched Project Cassandra to track and undercut fundraising via illicit drugs.
Hezbollah has categorically denied all allegations of drug trafficking, illegal banking and money laundering. In a statement in 2011, the party said “The United States’ allegations that Hezbollah is funding its activities illegitimately is merely another attempt to tarnish the image of the resistance in Lebanon… after the failure and exposure of U. intelligence operations in our country”. [31] In a 2012 speech, Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah said “Time and again they speak about the drug networks in Latin America and Europe and they say Hezbollah is financing these activities. This is forbidden for us. “[32] Al-Akhbar Newspaper argued that there is no evidence supporting the claim of Hezbollah’s drug trafficking because no court have been provided evidence for that claim [33]
Asia and Middle East[edit]
In the Golden Triangle region of South-East Asia, Hezbollah generates funding with the heroin trade and reportedly the smuggling of rare or precious items or materials. [34] Mohammed Raad, at one time leader of Loyalty to the Resistance Bloc, said money from Iran came only through private charities to be used for health care, education and the support of war widows. Hezbollah’s main sources of income, he said, are the party’s investment portfolios and wealthy Shiites. [10]
In July 2014, The Daily Beast reported that Hezbollah owns marijuana plantations and produces Hashish in the Bekaa Valley, in eastern Lebanon, and exports the produce to countries such as Iraq, Jordan and Syria. Prior to the Syrian civil war, the Lebanese Army patrolled the fields, though the Lebanese government has recently adopted a laissez-faire attitude towards illegal drug production. [35] According to Arab media reports, Hezbollah has a number of Lebanese front companies that deal in counterfeit medicine. [36]
Hezbollah is known to be involved in the Cocaine trade, [37] and the Hashish trade. [38] Hezbollah uses the drug trade as well as other “criminal enterprises” to fund its military excursions in Lebanon. [39] Hezbollah also uses its illicit profits to fund other terrorist organisations like the Taliban, [40] while some of their funds go to education and health assistance for the poor. [41]
In September 2020, the U. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned two Lebanese ministers Ali Hassan Khalil and Yusuf Finyanus, due to their “material support to Hezbollah” and other corruption charges. [42] It also sanctioned Lebanon-based Arch Consulting and Meamar Construction for being owned, controlled, or directed by Hezbollah, in addition to Hezbollah Executive Council official Sultan Khalifah Asaad. [43]
On January 9, 2010, Der Spiegel reported that drug dealers, on behalf of Hezbollah, transfer millions to Lebanese groups via European narcotics transactions. [44]
On November 2018, following an investigation by the U. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) called “Operation Cedar”, Lebanese nationals, accused of having links to Hezbollah went on trial for laundering millions of euros in South American drug money to Europe and Lebanon. [45]
According to a research conducted by the Abba Eban Institute as part of an Initiative called Janus, some of the individuals arrested in “Operation Cedar” were Hezbollah operatives involved in money laundering and narcotics trafficking. The research also found that Hezbollah is financed through non-profit organizations such as the “Orphans Project Lebanon”, a German-based charity for Lebanese orphans. It found that it had been donating portions of its contributions to a foundation which finances the families of Hezbollah members who commit suicide bombings. [46]
The European Foundation for Democracy published that the “Orphans Project Lebanon” organization directly channels financial donations from Germany to the Lebanese Al-Shahid Association, which is part of the Hezbollah network and promotes suicide bombings in Lebanon, particularly among children. In Germany, financial donations to the Orphans Project Lebanon are tax-deductible and thus subsidized by the German State’s tax policy. [47]
Latin America[edit]
On October 21, 2008, the Los Angeles Times reported that an international cocaine smuggling and money laundering ring with alleged connections to Hezbollah was dismantled in Colombia. It is claimed that 12% of the group’s profits went to fund Hezbollah, although no dollar figure was specified. [48] A separate report claimed that the joint operations between the United States and Colombia resulted in the arrest of nearly 130 individuals suspected of being members of a cell formed from an alliance among a famous Colombian drug syndicate known as “North Valley”, an armed leftist militant organisation composed by former and current members of FARC, and a group of smugglers of Lebanese origin. Two years before, the United States and Colombia had launched a joint investigation, known by the operational codename “Titan”, with the goal of pursuing networks that smuggled drugs from Colombia to the US, Europe and the Middle East. The investigation soon centred on the leader of the “North Valley” group, an individual of Lebanese origin called “Shukri Harb. ” Harb’s network supplied 12 per cent of its revenues in cash directly to Hezbollah. [49]
A June 25, 2009 article published by the Jamestown Foundation, a Washington, D. C. think tank, reported on the allegations connecting Hezbollah to drug trafficking and money laundering incidents in Curaçao in April 2009 and previous incidents linking Hezbollah to cocaine and money laundering rings dismantled in Colombia and 2008 and a similar ring dismantled in June 2005. The article takes a critical approach to these allegations by questioning the veracity of accusations linking Hezbollah to the drug trade in the Americas. The article also reported that Lebanese organized crime groups are likely to be responsible for drug-related activities in the region and that solid evidence proving the Hezbollah angle to drug-related activities never emerges. [50]
Other sources of Hezbollah funding became evident during a review of the Lebanese-Mexican smuggling network that smuggled 200 illegal Lebanese immigrants in the United States of America. Specifically, after Mahmoud Youssef Kourani, a Lebanese who infiltrated into the United States through the Lebanese-Mexican smuggling network was captured, Mahmound Youssef Kourani admitted spending part of his time in the United States raising money to support Hezbollah—at least $40, 000, according to an FBI affidavit. A further check of court records indicated that Kourani told the FBI his brother is the group’s (Hezbollah) chief of military security in southern Lebanon. [51]
Members of the Bolivarian Venezuelan government have also been accused of providing financial aid to Hezbollah by the United States Department of the Treasury[26] and according to the testimony of a former Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs of the United States Department of State Roger Noriega, Hugo Chávez’s government gave “indispensable support” to Iran and Hezbollah in the Western Hemisphere. [52] In an article by the conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute, Noriega explained how two witnesses alleged that Ghazi Atef Nassereddine, a Venezuelan diplomat in Syria, was an operative of Hezbollah who used Venezuelan entities to launder money for Hezbollah with President Nicolas Maduro’s personal approval. [28]
In a study by the Center for a Secure Free Society (SFS), at least 173 people from the Middle East were caught with Venezuelan documentation. The majority passed through Caracas security improperly and traveled to Canada. The SFS states that the Venezuelan government has been instrumental in providing documents to “Iran and other extremists seeking to enter North America without being detected. According to Joseph Humire, Executive Director of SFS, those caught were from “Iran, Iraq, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon” and that “most were from Iran, Lebanon and Syria. 70% came from those countries and had some connection with Hezbollah”. The majority allegedly had Venezuelan passports, IDs, visas and in some cases, even Venezuelan birth certificates. Anthony Daquin, former security advisor involved in the modernization of the Venezuelan identity system stated in the report that the Venezuelan government will “be able to issue the Venezuelan document without any problem, from the University of Computer Sciences, because they have the equipment and supplies, including polycarbonate sheets, electronic signature that goes into passports and encryption certificates, which are those that allow the chip to be read at the airports”. One of the key figures of the Venezuelan government noted in the SFS report was the Lebanese born former Minister of the Interior, Tarek El Aissami, who allegedly “developed a sophisticated financial network and multi-level networks as a criminal-terrorist pipeline to bring Islamic militants to Venezuela and neighboring countries, and to send illicit funds from Latin America to the Middle East”. The “pipeline” consists of 40 shell companies which have bank accounts in Venezuela, Panama, Curaçao, St. Lucia, Miami and Lebanon. Tarek El Aissami’s father Zaidan El Amin El Aissami, who is also known as Carlos Zaidan, was a military associate of Saddam Hussein. [53][54]
North America[edit]
In 2011, the United States Treasury designated Lebanese Canadian Bank a “primary money laundering concern” for its role in money laundering for Hezbollah funder and drug kingpin Ayman Joumaa. [55] The US Treasury banned LCB from dealing in dollars, resulting in the sale of the bank. [23]
Operation Smokescreen identified an illegal multimillion-dollar cigarette smuggling fundraising operation in the United States. [56] Mohammed Hammoud was convicted in the United States for “violating a ban on material support of groups designated as terrorist organizations”. The amount was US$3, 500, which Hammoud claimed was to “support Hezbollah’s efforts to distribute books at schools and improve public water systems. “[57]
Military funding[edit]
Hezbollah has also received Iranian-supplied weaponry, including 11, 500 missiles already in place in southern Lebanon. 3, 000 Hezbollah militants have undergone training in Iran, which included guerrilla warfare, firing missiles and rocket artillery, operating unmanned drones, naval warfare, and conventional war operations. [58]
Mahmoud Ali Suleiman, the Hezbollah operative captured in August 2006 by the IDF for his role in the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid on July 12, admitted during his interrogation that he received weapons-training and religious instruction in Iran. He told his interrogators that he rode in a civilian car to Damascus, from where he flew to Iran. [59] Other than the Russian-made Katyusha, Hezbollah’s reported artillery cache is entirely Iranian-made.
On August 4, 2006, Jane’s Defence Weekly, a defense industry magazine, reported that Hezbollah asked Iran for “a constant supply of weapons to support its operations against Israel” in the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict. The report cited Western diplomatic sources as saying that Iranian authorities promised Hezbollah a steady supply of weapons “for the next stage of the confrontation”. [60]
Iran long denied supplying Hezbollah with weapons, [61][62] despite persistent reports to the contrary. [60][63][64][65] However, “Mohtashami Pur, a one-time ambassador to Lebanon who currently holds the title of secretary-general of the ‘Intifada conference, ‘ told an Iranian newspaper that Iran transferred the missiles to the Shi’ite militia, adding that Hezbollah has his country’s blessing to use the weapons in defense of Lebanon”. [66] The Israel Defense Forces regard Hezbollah as virtually an arm of the Iranian armed forces; a senior Israeli defence official told Jane’s Defence Weekly that “we should consider that what we are facing in Lebanon is not a militia but rather a special forces brigade of the Iranian Army. “[67] In an interview in 2007, Hezbollah Deputy Secretary-General Naim Kassem told the Iranian Arabic-language TV station al-Qawthar that all terrorist attacks and suicide bombings in Lebanon must be approved by the ayatollahs in Tehran; in 2008 Iran issued a stamp commemorating a recently killed Hezbollah leader. [68][69]
As of 2018, annual Iranian monetary support for Hezbollah is estimated at 700 million dollars according to US estimates. [12][13]
Similar claims and denials regarding supply of weapons have been made with respect to Syria. [61][64][70] Many have accused Syria of funneling the weapons to Hezbollah from its border with Lebanon. Hassan Khalil, a top political adviser to Nasrallah, said that the group “firmly opposes the supervision of the Syrian-Lebanese border, ” adding that “Hezbollah has enough weapons to defend Lebanon against [an] Israeli aggression, even if borders with Syria are completely closed”. [71]
Due to a modification of terrorist funding laws the U. government placed financial sanctions on an Iraqi military leader named Al-Zaydi who allegedly was linked to Hezbollah financial activities and military support which was coordinated by Iran. [72][73]
A private security contractor, Jason G., claimed that Qatar sponsored Hezbollah as early as 2017, in which he was offered €750, 000 by Abdulrahman bin Mohammed Sulaiman al-Khulaifi, Qatar’s ambassador to Belgium, to hush up the supply of money and weapons to the organization. [74]
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Arab League–Iran relations - Wikipedia

Arab League–Iran relations – Wikipedia

Arab League–Iran relations
Arab League
Arab League–Iran relations refer to political, economic and cultural relations between the mostly Shia Persian country of Iran and the mostly Sunni Muslim and Arab organization Arab League.
Within the Middle East, historical conflicts have always coloured neighbouring Arab countries’ perceptions about Iran. At times peacefully coexisting, while at other times in bitter conflict. North African countries have generally enjoyed closer relations due to limited historical connection between them and Iran. [citation needed]There is no doubt that Saudi Arabia has influence in the policies of the Arab countries and Iran’s relations with Arab countries are affected by its relations with Saudi Arabia. [1]
423, 000, 000
83, 176, 930
13, 298, 883 km2
1, 648, 195 km2 (636, 372 sq mi)
Population density
24. 33/km2 (63/sq mi)
45/km2 (116. 6/sq mi)
Largest city
Cairo – 10, 230, 350 (20, 456, 000 Metro)
Tehran – 8, 429, 807 (13, 413, 348 Metro)
Organization and government type
Regional organisation and political union
Islamic republic and Shia theocracy
Official languages
Main religions
85. 2% Sunni Islam, 5. 0% Shi’a, 5. 8% Christianity, 4. 0% others
32. 2% Shi’a, 5% Sunni Islam, 3. 2% Sufi, 59. 6% religious minorities, including No Religion, Atheists, Baháʼís, Mandeans, Yarsanis, Zoroastrians, Jews, and Christians[2]
GDP (nominal)
$8. 335 trillion ($9, 347 per capita)
$402. 70 billion ($5, 165 per capita)[3]
Bilateral relations with Iran[edit]
After the Iranian Revolution the foreign policy of Iran changed dramatically. In many cases diplomatically inimical Arab nations became more cooperative with Iran, while some formerly supportive nations decreased their support.
Ruhollah Khomeini, leader of the revolution, founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and its first Supreme Leader, declared that, “The concept of monarchy totally contradicts Islam. ” Therefore, Arab leaders developed a hostile attitude towards the Islamic Republic of Iran. Khomeini’s idea of supporting the mustazafeen (those who are wronged or oppressed) – as opposed to the mustakbareen (those who are arrogant) – led to many problems with neighboring countries due to some Arab regimes being judged by Iranian jurists to be among the mustakbareen. Ayatollah Khomeini was open about his intention to export the revolution to other parts of the Muslim world. Thus, during the early 1980s, Iran was isolated regionally and internationally. This diplomatic and economic isolation intensified during the Iran–Iraq War in which almost all neighboring Arab states, except Syria, supported Iraq logistically and economically. According to some observers, Saddam Hussein fought on behalf of other Arab states that viewed Iran as a potential threat to their stability. [citation needed]
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the revolutionary zeal cooled and a degree of pragmatism was adopted by Iranian policy makers. During the presidency of Akbar Hashemi and Mohammad Khatami, Iranian foreign policy switched to reducing international tensions and Iran tried to normalize its relations with its Arab neighbors. When the United States attacked Iraq in the Gulf War of the early 1990s, it unintentionally promoted Iran’s political influence in the Middle East. [citation needed]
Since 2000 the situation has changed completely. The most significant factor was the United States administration’s decision to invade Iraq in 2003, which led to the fall of Saddam, a Ba’athist leader with pan-Arab sympathies who was determined to balance Shi’a Iran’s regional influence. With the deposition of Saddam, Iran found a major obstacle to its expansion removed. This gave Iran a good chance to emerge as a major player in the Middle East.
As Richard Haass stated in 2006, “Iran will be one of the two most powerful states in the region…. The influence of Iran and groups associated with it has been reinforced. “[4] Iran could find allies in Arab world comprising Syria, Lebanon, Kuwait and Iraq. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and United Arab Emirates united against Iran, with support from the United States. Other Arab countries continued to have normal relations with Iran. [5]
Another aspect of tension between Iran and Arab countries has been sectarianism. During the early days of the Iranian Revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini endeavored to bridge the gap between Shias and Sunnis by forbidding criticizing the Caliphs who preceded Ali. He also declared it permissible for Shiites to pray behind Sunni imams. However, the influence of Iran on Shiite communities outside its borders and the territorial disputes with Arab neighbors among other issues remain sources of tension in Arab-Iranian relations. [citation needed]
Diplomatic cables leaked in 2010 revealed Arab leaders singled out Iran as the greatest threat to regional stability, yet refuse to speak publicly, telling US diplomats in private, they would face domestic troubles if they were seen as siding with the West against a Muslim country. [6] The cables showed that Saudi Arabia and Bahrain supported a military attack against Iran aimed to stop the Iranian nuclear program. [7]
On 4 January 2016, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain severed diplomatic ties with Iran. Saudi Arabia cited attacks on the Saudi embassy in Tehran following predominantly Sunni Saudi Arabia’s execution of a Shiite cleric. Bahrain cited Iran’s “blatant and dangerous interference” in Bahrain and other Arab countries. [8]
Following the Iranian Revolution, in 1981 Algeria’s role was instrumental in the release of the US diplomatic hostages held in Iran. [9] In 1998 Iran became increasingly critical of Algeria’s heavy handed security forces, especially during several massacres during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and led efforts to pressure Algeria to act more humanely through the international community. [10] Algeria in turn blamed Iran for the massacre. [11]
After a decade, in early September 2000, diplomatic and trade relations between Algeria and Iran were re-established in a decision made by Iranian President Mohammad Khatami and his Algerian counterpart Abdelaziz Bouteflika on the sidelines of the United Nations Millennium Summit. [12] The resumption of relations paved the way for number of agreements “on bilateral cooperation in the areas of judicial affairs, finance, industry, and air transport”. [13] Relations continued to strengthen rapidly after that to the extent that in 2002 Iranian Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani and Algerian Joint Chief of Staff Muhamed al-Imari Wednesday signed and agreement for military and technical cooperation in Iran. [14] In the recent 2006 UN vote on Iran’s nuclear programme, Algeria abstained from voting. [15]
Iran had a historic claim to Bahrain until March 1970 when Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi abandoned the claim as a result of secret Anglo-Iranian negotiations. [16] Following this realignment of policy, the two countries signed a demarcation agreement in 1970. [17]
Following the Iranian Revolution, Bahraini Shia fundamentalists in 1981 orchestrated a failed coup attempt under the auspices of a front organisation, the Islamic Front for the Liberation of Bahrain. The coup would have installed a Shia cleric exiled in Iran, Hujjat al-Islam Hādī al-Mudarrisī, as supreme leader heading a theocratic government. The Bahraini government unofficially regarded the coup as Iran attempting to overthrow their Sunni government. Iran denied all knowledge saying the fundamentalists were inspired by the Iranian revolution but had received no support from Iran. Fearful of a recurrence, the episode caused Bahrain to crack down on its Shia population putting thousands into jail and further souring relations with Shia Iran. Recently[when? ] the countries are beginning to enjoy closer relations again and have engaged in many joint economic ventures. [citation needed] Iran has been severely critical of Bahrain hosting the US navy Fifth Fleet within the Persian Gulf.
In August 2015 Bahraini authorities announced arresting of five members of a terrorist group which was linked to at least one bombing attack in Bahrain[18] and was believed to accept aid and training from Lebanese Hezbollah and Iran-based Revolutionary Guards. [19]
On 4 January 2016, Bahrain severed diplomatic relations with Iran, citing Iran’s “blatant and dangerous interference” in Bahrain and other Arab countries. This directly followed Saudi Arabia’s dissolution of diplomatic ties with Iran. [8]
In 2014 AFP reported the Libyan and Iranian embassies in Moroni, Comoros, had problems with registering their claim to the property in the capital Moroni, because Comoros gave the same property to both countries for building their embassies. [20] In January, 2016, Comoros recalled their ambassador from Iran in an expression of cooperation and solidarity with Saudi Arabia. [21]Ahmed Abdallah Mohamed Sambi, one of the former presidents of Comoros was a graduate from the Islamic seminaries at Qom, Iran. [22] According to the Tehran-based Tabnak news agency, while Sambi was there he studied under Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi. [22]
In November 2014, Iranian Parliament (Majlis) Speaker Ali Larijani inaugurated new building of Djibouti Parliament built by Iran. [23] Djibouti cut its diplomatic ties with Iran out of solidarity with Saudi Arabia after Riyadh cut off diplomatic relations with Iran on 3 January 2016. [citation needed]
The countries had previously signed trade agreements to increase trade in 2005. In 2006, while on an official visit to Iran, Djiboutian president Ismaïl Omar Guelleh stated that Iran had expressed interest to expand cooperation on defense issues in the future. In the same year the President also supported Iran’s right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. [24]
In 1939, diplomatic relations between Egypt and Iran were upgraded to ambassadorial level, and Youssef Zulficar Pasha was appointed as Egypt’s first ambassador in Tehran. In the same year, Princess Fawzia of Egypt, the sister of King Farouk I, married Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the then crown prince (later shah) of Iran. The relationship between Iran and Egypt had fallen into open hostility under Gamal Abdul Nasser presidency. Following his death in 1970, President Sadat turned this around quickly into an open and cordial friendship. In 1971, Sadat addressed the Iranian parliament in Tehran in fluent Persian, describing the 2500-year-old historic connectivity between the two nations. Overnight, Egypt and Iran were turned from bitter enemies into fast friends. The relationship between Cairo and Tehran became so friendly that the Shah of Iran (Persia), Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, called Sadat his “dear brother. ” After the 1973 war with Israel, Iran assumed a leading role in cleaning up and reactivating the blocked Suez Canal with heavy investment. Iran also facilitated the withdrawal of Israel from the occupied Sinai Peninsula by promising to substitute with free Iranian oil the loss of the oil to the Israelis if they withdrew from the Egyptian oil wells in Western Sinai. All these added more to the personal friendship between Sadat and the Shah of Iran.
Once again, relations between the two countries collapsed with the sudden eruption of the Iranian Revolution in Iran in 1978–79. When the Shah fell, Egypt was bound to disapprove of his replacement, Ruhollah Khomeini, who returned the sentiment in full measure. Furthermore, in 1979, Anwar Sadat infuriated the new Iranian government by welcoming Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the exiled Shah of Iran, for a short, but indefinite, stay. [25] In 1979, Iran officially cut all ties with Egypt. [26] This move was a response to the 1978 Camp David Accords, as well as Egypt’s support for Iraq in the Iran–Iraq War. [27] In 1981, Iran symbolically dedicated a street to Khaled Islambouli, Sadat’s assassin. [27]
While trade relations slowly improved during the 1990s, [27] Khaled al-Islambouli was honored for a second time in 2001 “with a huge new mural” in Tehran. [25] Two years later, in late 2003, Iranian President Mohammad Khatami met with the Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Geneva. Khatami openly invited Mubarak to Iran, but Mubarak refused to make such a trip or normalize relations until all “public tributes” to Islambouli were “erased”. In early 2004, Iran agreed to change the offending street name to Muhammad al-Durrah, a 12-year-old Palestinian boy.
In 2010, WikiLeaks leaked diplomatic cables which revealed that Mubarak expressed animosity toward Iran in private meetings, saying the Iranian leaders are “big, fat liars”, and that Iran’s backing of terrorism is “well-known”. [28] According to one American report, Mubarak views Iran as the primary long-term challenge facing Egypt, and an Egyptian official said that Iran is running agents inside Egypt in an effort to subvert the Egyptian regime. [29]
On 17 September 1980, after the Islamic Revolution in Iran settled down, Iraq under Saddam Hussein declared the previous settlement of border disputes with Iran null and void. Several days later on 22 September, Iraq invaded Iran in the Iran–Iraq War. Lasting until 1988, the brutal war killed over one million people and critically soured Arab–Iranian relations. The Iranian government officially viewed the conflict not as Arab vs. Iranian but from a religious perspective of Shia versus Sunni, although many in Iran did view the conflict as an Arab versus Iran issue. In Iraq, the conflict was continually presented in a historical context as Arab versus Persian. The impact of the war was devastating to relations in the region; general Arab support for Iraq and a fear of Shia Muslims led to many disputes between Iran and the other Persian Gulf states. The war was a primary cause for the rise of anti-Arabism within Iran, which had until then been largely insignificant. The war ended with a UN-sponsored cease-fire.
In 1980, Iran cut all ties with Jordan after the outbreak of Iran–Iraq War. Relations between the two nations resumed in 1991. In September 2000, King Abdullah met with Iranian President Mohammad Khatami on the sidelines of the Millennium Summit in New York. [citation needed] Shortly thereafter, trade between Jordan and Iran increased dramatically. According to figures from Jordan’s Central Bank, “trade between Jordan and Iran reached $20 million in 2001, up some 46 percent on the previous year’s $13. 7 million. “[citation needed]
On 2 and 3 September 2003, King Abdullah II visited Tehran, making him the first Jordanian king to visit “Tehran since the launching of the Islamic revolution in Iran in 1979”. [30]
Kuwait and Iran share close diplomatic, economic, and military ties, which is unusual for a Sunni Arab state and even more unusual for a U. S. ally even it is sporadic. After the Iranian Revolution in 1979, Kuwaiti Prime Minister then Sabah Al-Sabah (the future Emir of Kuwait) visited Iran and congratulated the Iranian Revolution. However, this quickly turned sour when Kuwait supported Iraq on its war against Iran, and there had been no official relations between Kuwait and Iran for nearly 10 years after it started to fear about the threat from the legacy of Iranian Revolution.
In 1990, following the Gulf War, Iraqi–Kuwaiti relations suffered bitterly and consequently Kuwaiti–Iranian relations began to greatly improve and flourish. Bilateral relations were gradually strengthened, partly because Iran and Kuwait were both invaded by Saddam Hussein and with exchanges of Iranian and Kuwaiti political and economic delegations leading to the signing of several economic and trade agreements. In February 2006, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited Kuwait opening a new chapter in relations between the two countries. The well reported visit was the first to Kuwait by a high-ranking Iranian official in 27 years. [31]
Iran has close ties with Lebanon and considers it an ally. Iran also has close ties with the Lebanese political party Hezbollah and its militia force[32] to whom it reportedly provides as much as $100 million in supplies and weaponry per year. [33] Iran has been a staunch supporter of both Lebanon and Hezbollah against Israel.
The official Lebanese government has several agreements with the Iranian government, which includes energy cooperation. The foreign ministers of Iraq, Lebanon and Syria supported Iran’s nuclear work, calling for Israel to be stripped of its nuclear arsenal. Israel is believed to have the Middle East’s only nuclear weapons arsenal. Like Lebanon, Iran refuses to recognize Israel. [34]
Following American threats to cut off funding for the Lebanese Army should it not be verified that Hezbollah would be kept from getting access to it, Lebanon’s then Defense Minister Elias Murr set up a fund to ask for donations to the armed forces. A few weeks later, Lebanese president Michel Suleiman asked Iran to consider selling advanced military equipment to the Lebanese Army. [citation needed] Hezbollah supported the president’s call. [citation needed] The next day, Iran’s then Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi expressed readiness to offer military aid to Lebanon. [citation needed]
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad planned to visit Lebanon in October 2010, amidst controversy and pressure from the United States, Israel, and a section of the March 14 alliance such as Samir Geagea to cancel the trip. However, his Lebanese counterpart, Michel Suleiman, who had invited him, and other opposition figures hailed the visit. The March 8 alliance’s parliamentary leader Michel Aoun, Hezbollah’s Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem and former Lebanese Prime Minister Salim Hoss supported his visit.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (June 2008)
Libya broke rank with most of the Arab countries when it came out in support of Iran during the Iran–Iraq War. [citation needed]
Following the collapse of the Gaddafi government in the aftermath of the 2011 Libyan Civil War, Iran was also one of the countries to recognize the National Transitional Council government. [35]
In June 1987, President Maaouya Ould Sid’Ahmed Taya severed all diplomatic relations with Iran in protest of the nation’s supposed refusal to negotiate an end to the Iran–Iraq War. [citation needed]
In 1981, Iran cut off all diplomatic ties with Rabat in response to King Hassan II’s decision to give asylum to the exiled Shah. A decade later, diplomatic relations between the two nations were renewed, but another decade would have to pass before Abderrahmane Youssoufi, the prime minister of Morocco, would lead the first Moroccan delegation to the Islamic Republic of Iran. [36]
The posture of Iran about the Western Sahara dispute had been heavily influenced by its diplomatic relations with the neighbouring countries, Morocco and Algeria. Since late January 1979, the deposed Shah of Persia, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, had been granted asylum in Morocco by Hassan II, who refused to repatriate him back to Iran to be judged, [37] causing finally the break of relations between Iran and Morocco in 1981. Previously, on 27 February 1980, Iran gave formal diplomatic recognition to the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic as the legitimate government of the territory of Western Sahara. The support to the Polisario Front continued during the 1980s, allowing the Sahrawi national liberation movement to open a diplomatic representation in Tehran. [38]
Oman and Iran share close diplomatic, economic, and military ties. According to Kenneth Katzman of the Congressional Research Service, “Oman has a tradition of cooperation with Iran dating back to the Shah of Iran’s regime and Oman has always been less alarmed by the perceived threat from Iran than have the other Gulf states. ” Unlike the majority of its Gulf neighbors, Oman managed to uphold diplomatic relations with both sides during the Iran–Iraq War from 1980–1988 and strongly supported UN Security Council resolutions to end the conflict. Secret cease-fire talks between the two adversaries were held in Muscat during the war, and although an agreement was never reached during these talks, they did reduce distrust on both sides. Moreover, after the war, Oman mediated talks to restore diplomatic ties between Iran and Saudi Arabia and Iran and the United Kingdom.
During the Persian Gulf War, Iran–Oman relations were damaged after Iran began running attacks on tanker movements in the Persian Gulf and placed anti-ship missile launchers along the Strait of Hormuz. The Gulf neighbors have since restored their ties and have conducted joint military exercises as recently as February 2011. Oman’s leader Sultan Qaboos traveled to Iran in 2009 for the first time since Iran’s 1979 revolution. Though on two occasions the U. has dispatched high-level officials to discuss Iran with Oman, the fact that Oman has avoided publicly expressing any concerns regarding Iran’s nuclear program is likely a reason why the two states have managed to maintain strong ties.
In addition to strong diplomatic and political ties, Iran and Oman cooperate economically on several fronts, including energy. Most recently, the Gulf neighbors signed an initial agreement to begin supplying large quantities of natural gas from Iran to Oman, a project that was earlier reported to be worth between $7–12 billion. In addition to these major economic projects, the two countries have opened a joint bank to facilitate their mutual financial dealings, agreed to develop the Kish and Hengam gas fields in the Gulf, and signed a memorandum of understanding for a potential joint petrochemical project valued at $800 million.
About Iran nuclear program, the Omani government official position on Iran’s nuclear program is as follows: “The sultanate hopes Washington will engage in a ‘direct dialogue’ with Teheran to resolve the crisis over the Iranian nuclear program. The sultanate has no reason not to believe Iran’s assurances that its program has purely civilian purposes. This region, no doubt, does not want to see any military confrontation or any tension”.
From July 2012 to October 2013, all Iranian interests in the United Kingdom were maintained by the Omani embassy in London. [citation needed]
Iran (after the 1979 Iranian Revolution) closed the Israeli embassy in Tehran and replaced it with a Palestinian embassy. Iran favors Palestinian national ambitions and officially endorses the replacement of Israel with a unitary Palestinian state or whatever choice the Palestinian people decide through a democratic vote.
Several Palestinian groups, including Hamas, are Iranian allies. The Iranian government also gives substantial assistance to the Hamas government in Gaza, which depends on outside sources for an estimated 90% of its budget. Iranian support has not been unconditional however, and in July and August 2011 Iran cut funding to show its displeasure at “Hamas’s failure to hold public rallies in support” of Syrian President Bashir al-Assad during the 2011 Syrian uprising. In part for this reason, Hamas was unable to pay July salaries of its “40, 000 civil service and security employees. “[39]
Iran does not recognize the state of Israel and instead regards it as ‘Palestine under occupation’. During the era of the Iranian Monarchy (1948–1979) under the Pahlavi Dynasty, Iran enjoyed cordial relations with Israel. Israel regarded Iran, a non-Arab power on the periphery of the Arab world, as a natural ally and counterweight to Arab ambitions as part of David Ben-Gurion’s alliance of the periphery. Even after the Iranian Revolution and Ayatollah Khomeini’s public condemnations of the “Zionist entity”. Iran suggests that all Israeli ‘occupied territory’ is either given back to their respective countries (ex. Golan Heights back to Syria) or is replaced with a Palestinian state. Iran also feels that Jerusalem should given to the Palestinians.
In 1969, Iran and Qatar signed a demarcation agreement. [17]
Throughout the Iran–Iraq War (1980–1988), Qatar supported Saddam Hussein’s Iraq financially by providing large loans and cash gifts. Iran’s claim in May 1989 that one-third of Qatar’s North Field gas reservoir lay under Iranian waters apparently was resolved by an agreement to exploit the field jointly.
Qatar has maintained cordial relations with Iran. In 1991, following the end of the Persian Gulf War, former emir of Qatar Hamad bin Khalifa welcomed Iranian participation in Persian Gulf security arrangements, however due to resistance from other Persian Gulf Arab States, these never came into fruition. However, Qatar maintains security cooperation with Iran through bilateral ties. Additionally, plans were being formulated in 1992 to pipe water from the Karun River in Iran to Qatar, but after local resistance in Iran this was laid to rest.
The Iranian community in Qatar, although large, is well integrated and has not posed a threat to the regime. As of 2012 relations between the two countries were cordial. [40]
Saudi Arabia[edit]
Following the outbreak of the Iran–Iraq War, Iranian pilgrims held a political demonstration about Saudi moving in direction of United States and do not take any action against Israel during the Hajj in Mecca. In 1987 they succeeded; however, Saudi police crushed the demonstration violently causing the Iranian pilgrims to riot. Immediately following the riot, Ruhollah Khomeini called for Muslims to avenge the pilgrims’ deaths by overthrowing the Saudi royal family. The Saudi government blamed the riot on the Iranian pilgrims and claimed that the pilgrim riot had been part of a plot to destabilize their rule. The following day mobs attacked the Saudi embassies in Tehran.
In 2001, Iran and Saudi Arabia signed a “major security accord to combat drug trafficking and organized crime”. [41]
In 2008, the Saudi King Abdullah invited former Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani to visit Saudi Arabia for the purpose of attending an Islamic conference. Rafsanjani responded by saying that the opportunity was a way “Iran and Saudi Arabia can resolve differences in the Muslim world. “[42] In 2010, the website WikiLeaks disclosed various confidential documents pertaining to the United States and its allies which revealed that Saudi Arabian King Abdullah urged the US to attack Iran. [43]
The crush took place in Mina On 24 September 2015, an event described as a “crush and stampede” caused deaths estimated at well over 2000 had the highest number of casualties with 464 casualties. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, declared three days of national mourning in Iran. The cause of the disaster remains in Mina disaster inflamed tensions between regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran, which were already elevated due to the wider turmoil in the Middle East. [44]
On 4 January 2016, Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic relations with Iran, following attacks on the Saudi embassy in Tehran after predominantly Sunni Saudi Arabia’s execution of a Shiite cleric. This was directly followed by Bahrain’s dissolution of diplomatic ties with Iran. [8] Saudi Arabia influences the policies of the Arab countries.
Thus, Iran’s relations with Arab countries are affected by its relations with Saudi Arabia;
In 2006, the Islamic Courts Union took over Mogadishu from CIA-backed ARPCT. Iran has been one of several nations backing the public uprising. According to Prime Minister Ali Mohammed Ghedi, Iran, Egypt, and Libya are helping the militia. The Somali prime minister accuses these countries of wanting more conflict in Somalia, which seems contradictory because of the transitional government’s inability to extend authority beyond Baidoa, which is something the Islamic Republic sees. [45]
In 1991, “there was evidence of increasing economic and military links between Sudan and Iran… Some 2, 000 Iranian Revolutionary Guards were allegedly dispatched to Sudan to assist with the training of the Sudanese army, and in December President Rafsanjani of Iran made an official visit to Sudan, during which a trade agreement between the two countries was concluded. In November 1993 Iran was reported to have financed Sudan’s purchase of some 20 Chinese ground-attack aircraft. In April 1996 the Government was reported to be granting the Iranian navy the use of marine facilities in exchange for financial assistance for the purchase of arms although, in response to a Sudanese request for military aid in 1997, Iran provided assistance only with military maintenance. “[46]
During the last week of April 2006, Sudanese President Omar Hasan Ahmad al-Bashir met with a number of Iranian public figures in Tehran, including the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In a joint news conference with al-Bashir on 24 April, Ahmadinejad explained to the public his belief that “expansion of ties between the two countries serves the interests of both nations, the region, and the Islamic world, particularly in terms of boosting peace and stability. ” Before the conference ended, al-Bashir congratulated Iran for its successful pursuit of “nuclear power for peaceful purposes, ” while Ahmadinejad restated his opposition to the participation of UN Peacekeepers in Darfur. [citation needed]
Syria and Iran are strategic allies. Syria is often called Iran’s “closest ally”, [47] the Arab nationalism ideology of Syria’s ruling Baath party notwithstanding. During the Iran–Iraq War, Syria sided with non-Arab Iran against its enemy Iraq and was isolated by Saudi Arabia and some of the Arab countries, with the exceptions of Libya, Lebanon, Algeria, Sudan and Oman. [48] Iran and Syria have had a strategic alliance ever since, partially due to their common animosity towards Saddam Hussein and coordination against the United States and Israel. Syria and Iran cooperate on arms smuggling from Iran to Hezbollah in Lebanon, which borders Israel. [49]
On 16 June 2006 the defence ministers of Iran and Syria signed an agreement for military cooperation against what they called the “common threats” presented by Israel and the United States. Details of the agreement were not specified, however Syrian defense minister Najjar said “Iran considers Syria’s security its own security, and we consider our defense capabilities to be those of Syria. ” The visit also resulted in the sale of Iranian military hardware to Syria. [50] In addition to receiving military hardware, Iran has consistently invested billions of dollars into the Syrian economy. [51] The Syrian leadership, including President Assad himself, belongs predominantly to the Alawite branch of Shi’a Islam. Currently, Iran is involved in implementing several industrial projects in Syria, including cement factories, car assembly lines, power plants, and silo construction. Iran also plans to set up a joint Iranian–Syrian bank in the future. [citation needed]
In February 2007, Presidents Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Bashar al-Assad met in Tehran. Ahmadinejad afterwards declared that they would form an alliance to combat US and Israeli conspiracies against the Islamic world. [52]
During the Syrian Civil War, Iran has aided the Syrian government. The Guardian has claimed that in 2011 the Iranian Revolutionary Guard increased its “level of technical support and personnel support” to strengthen Syria’s “ability to deal with protesters, ” according to one diplomat in Damascus. [53]
Iran reportedly assisted the Syrian government sending it riot control equipment, intelligence monitoring techniques and oil. [54] It also agreed to fund a large military base at Latakia airport. [54] The Daily Telegraph has claimed in 2011 that a former member of Syria’s secret police reported “Iranian snipers” had been deployed in Syria to assist in the crackdown on protests. [55] According to the US government, Mohsen Chizari, the Quds Force’s third-in-command, has visited Syria to train security services to fight against the protestors. [33] Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, stated in regards to the uprising: “In Syria, the hand of America and Israel is evident;” and in regards to the al-Assad government: “Wherever a movement is Islamic, populist, and anti-American, we support it. ”
Other Iranian officials have made similar pronouncements identifying the US government as the origin of the uprising. [33] However, in late

Frequently Asked Questions about iranproxy

Does Iran fund Hezbollah?

Hezbollah also receives financial and political assistance, as well as weapons and training, from Iran. Iranian support to Hezbollah varied over the years, but as of 2018 US officials estimate Iran transfers $700 million annually.

Which country are allies with Iran?

The influence of Iran and groups associated with it has been reinforced.” Iran could find allies in Arab world comprising Syria, Lebanon, Kuwait and Iraq. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and United Arab Emirates united against Iran, with support from the United States.

Can Iranian missiles reach Israel?

An Iranian missile with a medium range of 2,000 km (or 1,242 miles) could strike Israel to its west and Russia to its north.Feb 17, 2021

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