Protests erupted in Iran in December 2017 and November 2019, with people initially asking authorities to address their economic grievances. The regime responded with bullets. Meanwhile, when questioned about Iran’s economic freefall, the mullahs and their apologists blame sanctions.
Iran is second in the world for the largest natural gas reserves and fourth for the largest oil reserve. Iran also has numerous other natural resources. Yet, people are protesting daily over poverty and rising inflation.
Where is Iran’s national wealth spent? Will promoting business with Iran, which is now on top of the European Union’s agenda revive the Iranian economy and help poor people?
The Iranian regime’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, and the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) dominate Iran’s economy through 14 powerhouses and hundreds of front companies. The full report on these powerhouses, recently published by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), could be found here.
Due to the regime’s institutionalized corruption and systematic money laundry to continue funding terrorist groups, The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has put the regime on its blacklist.
The facts listed below reflect how the regime uses the national wealth:
- The IRGC Quds Force, particularly under the command of Qassem Soleimani, Iran’s eliminated terrorist mastermind, has been funding terrorist groups such as Hezbollah.
- Mahmoud al-Zahar, a senior member of Hamas’ leadership, told Al-Alam, the Arabic-language network of Iran’s state-run television, on Sunday, that during a 2006 meeting with Qassem Soleimani in Tehran he explained “the fundamental problem of staff and social services of the people of Gaza” to Soleimani. “Haj Qassem immediately responded to our request, so that the next day, when the trip was over, I saw $22 million in our luggage in the airport.”Mahmoud Zahar, admitted in that he had received $ 22 million from Qassem Soleimani for Hamas.
- On Sunday, December 27, Hassan Nasrallah, chief of Hezbollah, praised Soleimani for his “logistical support” of Hezbollah and did not recognize “any red lines” in sending 9M133 Kornet missiles to Gaza for Hamas and the Islamic Jihad.
Nasrallah acknowledged that after the 33-day war in 2006, when 200,000 homes were destroyed in Lebanon, Soleimani paid one years’ worth of rent and expenses of the families who lost their homes.
- During the trial of Iran’s incarcerated diplomat-terrorist, Assadollah Assadi, evidence showed the regime paid a considerable amount of money to its “sleeper cells” to plant a bomb in the opposition gathering. Members of this sleeper cell and Assadi’s co-conspirators are identified as Amir Saadouni, Nasimeh Na’ami, and Mehrdad Arefani. All three were arrested between June 28 and July 1, 2018, along with Assadi. While the terrorists were receiving welfare from the Belgian government, Sadouni and Na’ami had two vehicles and could have two apartments. Na’ami had 120,000 euros in her bank account and 35,000 euros in cash at her home. Arefani had also met with Assadi in different countries and received considerable sums of money.
- In their last meeting with Assadi, Na’ami and Saadouni received the bomb, a new SIM card, and more than 20,000 Euros, along with written instructions for the bomb. On June 26, the regime wired 19,000 euros to the couple’s account to cover their 54,000-euro Mercedes car’s down payment.
- On December 2, Reuters revealed that the regime has spent “$600 million” for the “expansion at the Imam Hussein shrine.” This project is under the supervision of the “Holy Shrines’ Reconstruction Headquarters,” one of the IRGC front companies to export and promote terrorism. A full report on this organization was published in October 2019 and could be found here.
- On May 2020, Heshmatullah Felahatpisheh, the former Chairman of the National Security and Foreign Policy Commission of the regime’s parliament, said that the regime had paid Syria up to $30 billion.
“I went to Syria, some people said I made up some expenses, but I repeat, we may have given Syria $20 to $30 billion, and we have to take it back,” he said in an interview published by the state-run Etemad Online news agency.
- In April 2020, Parviz Fattah, head of the Bonyad Mostazafan financial foundation, one of the fourteen powerhouses controlling Iran’s economy, acknowledged Soleimani had asked him for money to pay the salaries of Fatemiyoun, Afghan proxies who are fighting in the Syrian war.
“I was at the IRGC Cooperative Foundation. Haj Qassem [IRGC-Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani] came and told me he did not have money to pay the salaries of the Fatemiyoun. He said that these are our Afghan brothers, and he asked for help from people like us,” said Fattah, who also was a senior commander of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), in an interview with the state-run Ofogh (Horizon) TV in April 2020.How Khamenei-linked foundation funds Iran's terror group Fatemiyoun in Syria
- “We are open about the fact that Hezbollah’s budget, its income, its expenses, everything it eats and drinks, its weapons and rockets, come from the Islamic Republic of Iran,” said Lebanese Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah in 2016.
The regime has been plundering the Iranian people’s wealth to support terrorism, and it will continue to do so since terrorism is an inseparable part of the religious fascism in Iran. Every penny that goes to the regime will be used to export terrorism abroad and domestic human rights violations.
When the EU leaders promote business with Iran and when they shake hands with the mullahs’ “chief apologist,” Foreign Minister Zarif, who was involved in the 2018 terror plot in Europe, they should not forget there is blood on Zarif’s hands. And promoting economic encounters with the regime only fuels Tehran’s warmongering machine.
During their uprisings, the Iranian people said: “Let go of Syria, think of us,” and “our enemy is here, they lie when they say it is the U.S.” Thus, they have confirmed they do not support the regime’s adventurism and are indeed the first victims of the regime’s wrong policies.
EU countries should learn from Assadi’s case that Iran’s terrorism is not limited to the Iranian border or the Middle East. Appeasing the mullahs will only result in insecurity, death, and destruction everywhere.
The EU should cease any economic relation with Tehran and make all relations contingent on the regime stopping its terrorism and human rights abuses.
The EU should choose security over economic interests in dealing with Iran.