The following piece is a guest appearance by Ms. Sara Akrami and Mr. Saeed Ghasseminejad.
Sara Akrami is an Iranian-Canadian student activist, currently in her 4th year of studies in political science at York University in Toronto. Ms. Akrami is also founder and president of the Human Rights Activists Association at York University. Saeed Ghasseminejad is the spokesperson for the Iranian Liberal Students and Graduates. He is a PhD student at Baruch University.
The Iranian leadership has always used the deaths of its nuclear scientists to weep copious tears and sputter outrage about the inequity of terrorism as a political tool. Terrorism has been one of the outreach tools of the leadership since the early days of the Islamic Revolution. Since religious fundamentalists gained power in 1979, they have continually instigated violence internationally. An immense weight of evidence and victims of various nationalities have made the Iranian government one of the significant sponsors of terrorism. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), especially its external branch, the Qods Force, plays an important role in achieving Iran’s foreign policy objectives. During the current uprising in Syria, the Iranian government has sent many rank and file members of the IRGC and the Qods Force including, members of the Basij, plainclothes security guards, and militia volunteers to Damascus to assist its main ally in the region, Bashar Al-Assad.
The key objective of the Qods Force is the promotion of the idea of Islamic Jihad. The reason that the external branch of the IRGC is called Qods relates to the sympathy and support of Iran for Palestine. Therefore, it is responsible to train proxy militants and promote a Jihadist ideology. Although many people in the West would deride the “Shia Crescent” belief, it is accepted in Iran and many members of the IRGC are willing to sacrifice themselves for this ideology. The Iranian government has always made efforts to be the center of gravity in the Islamic world in order to win allies against Israel and the West. Therefore, Iran has become the source of training Islamic radical groups in the region. Since the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran, hostility toward the United States and Israel has been one of the key components of Iran’s foreign policy.
Since the beginning of uprisings in Syria, Iran has been making tremendous efforts to help the Syrian dictator to remain in power. Iran has sectarian and strategic interests in the Syrian crisis, so it has planned to transform Syria into another Afghanistan. The Qods Force plays an indispensable role for Iranian objectives. Therefore, it is responsible to train proxy militants. Iran is planning for the day after the demise of Assad regime. The Iranian government fears a political transition to a government with friendly relations with the West in Syria. Therefore, Iran does what it takes to keep Syria chaotic and will not acquiesce to any international calls to cease its meddling in the Syrian conflict.
Therefore, in lieu of diplomacy, the most significant tool for the Islamic Republic of Iran’s foreign policy in the Middle East is the Qods Force. Therefore, Iran’s major allies are organizations that are known internationally to have engaged in terror campaigns. The inevitable part of the battle against terrorism for a Middle East free of terrorism is wholesale transformation of power in Iran. It is high time for the West to help bring about such wholesale transformation.