As the Iranian regime is under international sanctions, how on earth are they able to fund proxy terrorist groups in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, and more?
Well, the Iranian opposition asserts that the regime has actually established an international arms smuggling and drug trafficking system, using the financial resources plundered from the Iranian people. They said that groups operating under the influence of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and managed by the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and Quds Force are funding terrorism and regional interventions through sending drugs to the West.
For the clearest picture, we need to look at international media coverage, but due to the secrecy of the Iranian regime, it should be noted that the evidence uncovered is just the tip of the iceberg.
WikiLeaks revealed a US Embassy report that stated that over 80% of global opium and over 28% of global heroin were being transported through Iran in 2007. While the Times reported in 2011 that the Revolutionary Guards has a huge role in Iran’s “multibillion-pound” drug trafficking and that they’re using this to create a relationship with the “global crime network” to undermine the West.
Meanwhile, the US Treasury identified senior Quds Force commander Brigadier General Gholamreza Baghbani as a drug trafficker in 2010, citing evidence that he let Afghan traffickers smuggle drugs into Europe through Iran if they would deliver weapons to the Taliban, and sent out an arrest warrant.
This year alone, these drug shipments happened:
- May 20 – 244 kilograms of heroin smuggled into Azerbaijan in a watermelon truck
- May 10 – 1,452kg of heroin found in Romania in a shipload of construction materials headed to western Europe.
- April 26 – 17 tons of drugs (worth $44.78 million) seized by Nigerian officials that were headed for Libya.
- April 13 – 230kg of heroin discovered in Azerbaijan en route to Ukraine in a potato truck
- February – 401kg of heroin found in containers of bitumen roofing rolls on a ship in Bulgaria
As a result of this and a further thwarted attempt to smuggle drugs through Saudi Arabia, the country banned fruit and vegetable shipments that were coming from Lebanon, where the Iranian regime proxy Hezbollah is based.
As noted above, the Iranian regime also uses its drug network to send weapons and ammo to its proxy groups.
The Yemeni Minister of Information reported on May 10 that Yemeni officials had seized a weapons shipment from the Iranian regime to the Houthi militants in the Oman Sea, which shows that the mullahs support the Houthis and do not want peace in Yemen.
While the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on April 16 that the regime transferred short-range and medium-range missiles through Iraq to Syria in trucks flanked by three Iranian military vehicles and one Syrian Army vehicle.
The US Navy also intercepted two ships on February 18 carrying weapons to Yemen.
The Iranian opposition said: “These are just cases that have been reported in the last three months, and they account for a small portion of the smuggling the Iranian regime carries out in the region. But they paint a clear picture of the astonishing dimensions of the regime’s illicit activities, making it the biggest smuggler of death and destruction in the world.”