A “top-secret” document revealed during the recent takeover of the Iranian regime’s secured Presidential servers and websites confirms how the ruling theocracy has squandered billions of dollars to prop up the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar-al Assad.
On May 29th, the dissident group, “Ghiyam ta Sarnegouni,” or “Rise to Overthrow,” claimed responsibility for disabling various websites and servers connected to the Iranian regime’s presidency. They began releasing a series of classified documents.
One of these documents is a letter authored by Mohammad Mokhber, Vice President of Ebrahim Raisi, to the regime’s supreme leader about Tehran’s relations with Damascus.
In his letter to Khamenei, Mokhber acknowledges that Syria’s debts to Iran in the civilian and non-security sectors alone amounted to approximately $11.6 billion by 2020.
He also acknowledges that the amount Tehran wanted to give to Damascus in 2021 “Is being calculated,” suggesting that the clerical regime intends to continue squandering national wealth to keep a vicious dictator in power.
According to this letter, “The debts about security and military that Syria should return to Iran will be calculated by the Revolutionary Guards Quds Forces and will be added to this list once the Syrian Ministry of Defense ratified it.” In other words, Mokhber acknowledges the regime’s devastating meddling in Syria since the beginning of protests in that country.
In a section of this letter, Mokhber mentions that the current situation of the Assad regime in Syria requires less military and security support from the Iranian regime compared to the period the Assad regime was struggling for survival. It is also noted that the regime’s mercenaries in Syria no longer have the same freedom of action as before, highlighting the need for a devised plan regarding this matter. Furthermore, the letter states that there is no prospect for investing in Syria due to the immense reconstruction needs of the Syrian regime, which require resources and funds amounting to several hundred billion dollars.
In another part of Mokhber’s letter to Khamenei, it is stated regarding Syria:
“With respect and greetings, as you mentioned, the Islamic Republic of Iran had a significant military and security presence in Syria during the ten-year crisis. This presence was in accordance with the orders of His Excellency [Khamenei] and aimed at ensuring national security and adhering to ideological considerations. The effects of this presence are clearly visible and are considered a model in global politics. However, now that the military and security stage of the crisis has passed and stability has been established in many parts of Syria, the presence of Iran in Syria needs to be reassessed based on present requirements. Given the increasing importance of civilian factors, it is crucial to focus on political, economic, social, and cultural programs to maintain and stabilize our country’s presence in Syria. The complexity of actors and their interests in Syria necessitates changes in behavior across various dimensions.”
In a part of his letter, Mokhber refers to a Memorandum of understanding on cooperation in the field of small and medium projects. This MOU has the following two considerations:
a) The strengthening of the Syrian state and the stability of the country in this new phase require less military and security support compared to the crisis period. The resistance groups supported by Iran in Syria mainly operate based on the needs, goals, and missions defined by the Syrian state, and their actions are not as unrestricted as before. Therefore, it is necessary to reconsider the role of the resistance groups in Syria in line with the new conditions.
b) In terms of the economy and post-war reconstruction in Syria, several hundred billion dollars are needed in resources and capital. Iran’s economic investment in this area, especially considering the insufficient financial resources of the government, does not offer a suitable perspective for participation in Syria’s reconstruction and economic trends. Thus, it is necessary to plan for the involvement of third parties in this domain.
In a May 20, 2020, interview with the state-run website Etemad Online, Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, a former MP, openly acknowledged the wasteful expenditure of national resources by the mullahs’ regime to support the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. During his tenure as the chairman of the National Security Commission, Falahatpisheh headed a parliamentary delegation to Syria, where he held discussions with Emad Khamis, the Prime Minister of the Assad regime.
“When I went to Syria, some complained that I had caused expenses, but I will say this again: We may have given $20-30 billion to Syria. The money of our people was spent there,” Felahatpisheh said.
Following Bashar Assad’s unexpected visit to Tehran last year and his meeting with Khamenei and Raisi, Mahmoud Sadeghi, a former Member of Parliament, expressed his thoughts in a tweet, questioning: “Isn’t it about time to provide the nation with a report on the substantial financial and human expenses dedicated to sustaining Bashar al-Assad’s regime?”
As per the information disclosed on December 6, 2017, by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and obtained from within the regime by the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) network, the clerical regime in Iran entered into an agreement with Syria on January 17, 2017. The agreement aimed to reimburse the regime for its expenses incurred in Syria over a period of 25 years, with the possibility of an extension of up to 40 years. Then-Syrian Prime Minister, Emad Khamis, signed the agreement with Eshaq Jahangiri, the Iranian regime’s Vice President. This strategic project was of great significance to the Iranian regime.
According to the information released by the NCRI, these projects, which were planned and executed by the IRGC under Khamenei’s supervision, were valued at more than $20 billion.
In his recently leaked letter to Khamenei, Mokhber also confirms what the Iranian Resistance had exposed years ago.
— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) May 13, 2023
After obtaining approval from the Syrian government regarding our country’s demands and finalizing the compensation projects for canceling the Syrian government’s debt, the document outlining the settlement of demands between the two countries will be completed. This is expected to occur during the visit of the Syrian Prime Minister to our country for the 15th meeting of the Joint High Economic Committee, which is likely to take place in the second quarter of 2022.
Regarding the 2015 economic agreement between Iran and Syria and our projects aimed at settling a portion of the claims thus far, the following contracts have been approved by the Syrian Parliament and endorsed by the President of Syria as law:
Phosphate mining contracts with a capacity of 1.8 billion tons of phosphate.
Exploration and oil extraction operations from 21 blocks in the Homs province and 12 oil regions in Al-Bukamal Deir Ezzor, each containing at least 100 million barrels of oil.
Launching and operating the third mobile phone operator, with an estimated cost of 2 billion dollars over 20 years.
A five-year payment plan for a portion of the normal Latakia port container terminal to Iran, followed by the handover of management and operation of the said port, which is currently in progress.
The 2015 economic agreement allows for Iran’s long-term economic presence in Syria for time frames of 20, 30, and 50 years in essential projects. The estimated investment required to implement our projects is $1,561 million.