According to sources with access to the Iranian government, after major military operations ended in Iraq, thousands of the Iranian regime’s agents, Iraqi expatriates — groomed, trained and funded by the mullahs for two decades — and clerics were dispatched to the country to gain control of key local and government positions. Truckloads of books, CDs and cassette tapes promoting Tehran's fundamentalist version of Islam accompanied them. For months, the notorious Qods (Jerusalem) Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps has been working to spread its influence in the Shiite-dominated southern regions of Iraq, to derail and hijack any political and democratic process in the country with the ultimate goal of erecting a sister Islamic Republic there. They now dominate a major portion of southern Iraq, including Samavah, Meissan, Nasiriyah, Basra, Wasset, Karbala and Najaf provinces. Even in Baghdad, a majority of the government agencies are run by Shiites, many loyal to Tehran.
|"It [Iran] is the prime beneficiary of continued chaos throughout Iraq."|
The top U.S. administrator in Iraq, Ambassador L. Paul Bremer said in September, "Iranian intelligence agents have been aiding groups that have carried out violent attacks in different parts of Iraq." At least 62 Iranians have been captured in Iraq. In late August, sources said, the commander of the Jerusalem Force, Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi surrogate groups met in Tehran and in the oil-rich Iranian city of Ahwaz to work on a plan of action in Iraq. Part of the plan called for setting up cells in mosques and recruitment from all regions.
It is very important to recognize that Iran is the most dominant force laying the social, religious and political grounds for such attacks in Iraq. It is the prime beneficiary of continued chaos throughout Iraq. This is exactly the situation that Iranian clerics wish to see. Less attention to southern Iraq would give the Iranian regime a free reign to build their network more swiftly and more successfully. No matter where the violence is occurring and who is more responsible for the bloodshed, as long as the fundamentalists control the reins of power in Iran, their sphere of influence would inevitably spill into Iraq. Relying on 60 percent of the Iraqi population being Shiite, the existence of the six holy Shiite sites in Iraq, and nearly 800 miles of porous borders with Iraq, the larger and more populated Iran is in fact the biggest foreign influence dominating that country.
The United States and the international community must be firm against Tehran, and their surrogate groups in Iraq. As proven in the past, giving in to Tehran's demands would not deter the clerics from meddling in Iraq. Accommodating them or giving them any concessions would only be interpreted as a sign of weakness and would invite further intervention, bringing Tehran a step closer to its dream of establishing an Islamic empire. Instead, Tehran must be reminded that there is an over due price for their rogue behavior; support should be stepped up by the U.S. for anti-government demonstrations, pro-democracy students and the Iranian opposition’s call for a referendum for regime change in Iran.
Alireza Jafarzadeh is the president of Strategic Policy Consulting, Inc and a FOX News Channel foreign affairs analyst. He is a well-known authority in issues relating to Iran’s weapons of mass destruction program, terrorism, export of Islamic fundamentalism and Iranian internal politics.
The international concerns about Iran’s nuclear weapons program has largely arisen from Jafarzadeh’s stunning revelations about previously secret nuclear sites. Jafarzadeh revealed the existence of Natanz uranium enrichment facility, and Arak's heavy water facility in August 2002, and the Kala Electric facility near Tehranin February 2003. He unveiled the details of Iran’s development of bio-weapons; Shahab-3 medium range missiles; its involvement in the bombing in Khobar, Saudi Arabia; and the Jewish Community Center bombing in Argentina.