Dr. Majid Rafizadeh explained in an article in Arab News and continued as the Regime has been working with Al-Shabab to import sanctioned Somali charcoal into Iran using false certificates of origin from Comoros, Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana, before repackaging it into white bags labelled “Product of Iran”. The regime even lets the terror cell use its land, ports, and ships to make the smuggling process easier.
This shows that the Iranian Regime has no qualms about violating UN sanctions to help terrorist groups, as should already be evident by their provision of weapons to the Houthis in Yemen, which was cited in a previous UN report.
The two groups most likely to be involved in this smuggling operation are the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its elite foreign operations wing, the Quds Force. The US has long been considering whether or not to add the IRGC to its list of terrorist groups, something that Canada has already done.
Last year, this terrorist group claimed responsibility for one of Somalia’s largest and deadliest terrorist attacks; a truck bombing in the capital Mogadishu that killed at 500 people. Thus, the UN imposed sanctions to cut off their supply of money.
Iran, a long time supporter of terrorist groups across the Middle East and beyond, knows that in order to keep terrorizing people, a group needs a constant flow of money and is more than happy to help. Not only are the Regime helping to commit terrorist activities through their charcoal smuggling, but they are also disrupting the domestic market and causing severe environmental and economic repercussions.
Deputy Prime Minister Mahdi Mohammed Guled said: “We need cooperation to implement the UN Security Council (sanctions) and ensure the environmental, economic and human losses that happen because of the illegal charcoal trade are curbed.”
It is important that we also recognise that the Shiite Iranian Regime is helping a Sunni terror group, proving that the mullahs are not concerned about religion. Their common ideological interests are terrorism, chaos and instability.
Dr. Majid Rafizadeh, an Iranian-American political scientist, wrote: “Tehran views militant and terror groups such as Al-Shabab through the prism of political opportunism. From the Iranian leaders’ perspective, extremists can form invaluable non-state terrorist groups that could accomplish Iran’s two main revolutionary principles: Anti-Americanism and undermining Saudi Arabia’s interests in the region.”
The Iranian Regime needs to be held to account for helping Al-Shabab and for any terrorist attacks committed by the group in the future.