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Patron of Terror: Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is among the most dangerous elements of the Iranian regime, evolving from a tool to consolidate the Islamic revolution to an entity that controls nearly 40 percent of Iran’s economy and funds terrorist and military activities throughout the Middle East.

FDD has conducted extensive research on the IRGC and its influence in Iran’s economy and military, some of which you will find below. 

Reports 

How the Nuclear Deal Enriches Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps
Emanuele Ottolenghi, Saeed Ghasseminejad, Annie Fixler, Amir Toumaj - FDD Press
During the first week of September, Iranian speedboats twice harassed U.S. Navy ships in international waters near the Strait of Hormuz... Read more (10/4/2016)

Should Boeing and Airbus Sell Planes to Iran Air?
FDD's Center on Sanctions & Illicit Finance - FDD Memorandum 
Earlier this year, Boeing and Iran Air announced a deal for the sale of 100 Boeing planes to the Iranian airline. In addition, Airbus had inked a deal for an additional 118 planes. On November 22, Airbus reported that it had received U.S. government backing for the export of these planes.... Read more (11/23/2016)

Testimonies

Fueling Terror: The Dangers of Ransom Payments to Iran
Mark Dubowitz - House Financial Services Committee
This summer marked the one-year anniversary of the announcement of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). This deal is fatally flawed in that it provides the Islamic Republic of Iran with a patient pathway to nuclear weapons capability by placing limited, temporary, and reversible constraints on Iran’s nuclear activities... Read more (09/08/2016)

Fueling Terror: The Dangers of Ransom Payments to Iran
Eric B. Lorber - House Financial Services Committee
In particular, I would like to focus my testimony on what we know about the $1.7 billion payment to Iran, including the $400 million cash payment that was tied to the release of U.S. hostages, the legality of such a payment, and most importantly, why such a payment was a missed opportunity by the Administration to limit Iran’s ability to use these funds to support terrorism, weapons proliferation, and human rights abuses...Read more (09/08/2016)

The Implications of U.S. Aircraft Sales to Iran
Mark Dubowitz - House Financial Services Committee
As we approach the one-year anniversary of the announcement of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), many of the concerns of those who opposed the deal have indeed come to pass: an increase in Iran’s malign activities, an Obama administration reluctant to use non-nuclear sanctions to punish and deter these activities, and an Iranian regime for whom the JCPOA was not the end of negotiations but merely the beginning... Read more (07/07/2016)

The Enemy in our Backyard: Examining Terror Funding Streams from South America
Emanuele Ottolenghi - House Financial Services Committee
In Latin America, the combination of weak central governments, porous borders, and widespread corruption in public institutions creates an ideal environment for Transnational Organized Crime (TOC). According to the U.S. administration, “Not only are criminal networks expanding, but they also are diversifying their activities, resulting in the convergence of threats that were once distinct and today have explosive and destabilizing effects.”... Read more (06/08/2016)

Policy Briefs

Orange Telecom Mulls Partnership with IRGC-Controlled Firm
Saeed Ghasseminejad - FDD Policy Brief
The French telecom company Orange is in negotiations to buy shares of the Mobile Telecommunication Company of Iran (MTCI or MCI), a firm jointly held by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and foundations controlled by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei...Read more (11/15/2016)

In the Battle for Mosul and Iraq’s Future, U.S. Must Heed the Iranian Threat 
Tyler Stapleton - FDD Policy Brief 
With the battle for Mosul underway, and Iraqi, Kurdish, Turkish, American, and Shiite militia forces engaging the Islamic State in the towns surrounding Mosul, the fate of Iraq in a post-ISIS world will come into swift focus.... Read more (10/28/2016)

$1.3 Billion of the Cash to Iran was Taxpayer Money    
Annie Fixler - FDD Policy Brief 
A rancorous partisan debate is raging in Washington over the transfer of $1.7 billion in cash to Iran... Read more (9/13/2016)   

Why Are These IRGC Figures Not Sanctioned
Amir Toumaj - FDD Policy Brief 
The White House promised Congress last summer that the Iran nuclear accord would not prevent the United States from imposing additional non-nuclear sanctions... Read more (7/12/2016)

Post-JCPOA, Iran Revs Up Nuclear, Missile Procurement in Germany
Benjamin Weinthal - FDD Policy Brief  
The constraints imposed on Iran’s activities under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) curb Tehran’s nuclear program for eight to 15 years... Read more (7/8/2016)

EU-Iran Nuclear Cooperation: The Case for Stronger Safety and Nonproliferation Standards  
Ollie Heinonen - FDD Research
On the eve of the Iran deal’s one-year anniversary, a new report by Germany’s domestic intelligence agency says that Iran sought illicit nuclear and missile technology in Germany throughout 2015, and was expected to continue doing so... Read more (6/27/2016)

The Iran-Boeing Deal: Rewards and Risks 
Emanuele Ottolenghi - FDD Policy Brief 
Iran’s minister of transport, Abbas Akhoundi, announced an aircraft deal this week with U.S. aviation industry giant, Boeing... Read more (6/17/2016)

Don't Buy the Spin: Iran is Getting Economic Relief 
Mark Dubowitz, Annie Fixler - FDD-Roubini Report
In recent weeks, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has been on an international “road show”  to encourage large European banks to return to business with Iran and to help alleviate their concerns about the legal risks associated with engaging with a country still under U.S. sanctions for money laundering, terrorism, missile proliferation, and human rights abuses... Read more (6/15/2016)

Iran Doubles Down on its Military Budget
Saeed Ghasseminejad - FDD Policy Brief
Iran’s Guardian Council on May 18 confirmed the 2016-2017 military budget, which had been passed last month by parliament...Read more (6/3/2016)

Iran's Ballistic Missile Program and Economic Sanctions
Saeed Ghasseminejad - FDD Research Memo
Iran this week engaged in a series of ballistic-missile drills, launching next-generation short-, medium-, and long range missiles from silos and missile bases built deep underground and in mountains...Read more (3/17/2016)

Doubling Down on Damascus: Iran's Military Surge to Save the Assad Regime
Max Peck - FDD Press
Iran’s support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in his country’s civil war reached new heights in 2015... Read more (1/11/2016)

Events

The Iran Wars: Spy Games, Bank Battles, and the Secret Deals That Resphaed the Middle East
Mark Dubowitz, Juan Zarate, Jay Solomon, Stuart Levey and Steve Perles - FDD Event
The Iran Wars is the product of extensive in-depth reporting and interviews with all the key players in the conflict—from high-ranking Iranian officials to Secretary of State John Kerry and his negotiating team... Watch and listen here (10/06/2016)

Commentary 

Why Iran supported Houthi attacks against the US Navy
Amir Toumaj - The Long War Journal
As activity in the Red Sea has heated up this month, debate rages on in Washington about Tehran’s role in attacks against U.S. forces there...Read more (10/31/2016)

IRGC commander killed on eve of Aleppo battle
Amir Toumaj - The Long War Journal
The Jaysh al Fath and Fath Halab coalitions and their allies launched an anticipated major offensive today west of Aleppo in another bid to break the siege of rebel-held eastern Aleppo, according to Reuters...Read more (10/28/2016)

IRGC to expand Basij special forces
Amir Toumaj - The Long War Journal
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) held a commemoration ceremony in Tehran on Friday for members of the Fatehin (“Conquerors”) Special Unit of the Basij paramilitary killed in combat in Syria... Read more (10/24/2016)

Cash Rich, Aggressive
Mark Dubowitz, Behnam Ben Taleblu - The Huffington Post 
Two American reconnaissance planes flew one mile wide of Iran’s airspace over the weekend, and according to a U.S. Navy official, kept a safe distance from known surface-to-air missile (SAM) sites... Read more (9/15/2016)

Soleimani's presence in Aleppo underscores strategy of crushing rebels 
Amir Toumaj - The Long War Journal 
Photos have emerged claiming that Major General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) elite foreign operations unit, the Qods Force, is in Aleppo, Syria... Read more (9/7/2016)

IRGC commander discusses Afghan militia, 'Shia liberation army,' and Syria
Amir Toumaj - The Long War Journal
A retired Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander who was deployed to Syria gave a lengthy interview to a hardline media outlet last week about IRGC operations in the country... Read more ( 8/24/2016)

Analysis: IRGC implicated in arming Yemeni Houthis with missiles
Behnam Ben Taleblu, Amir Toumaj - The Long War Journal 
Since July, state-affiliated media in Iran has publicized the Yemeni Houthi movement’s use of a variant of the Zelzal-3, an Iranian rocket... Read more (8/21/2016)

Iranian military involvement in the battle for Aleppo 
Amir Toumaj - The Long War Journal 
The jihadist-led Jaish al Fatah launched a major offensive in southwestern Aleppo on July 31 to break the siege of the rebel-held part of the city... Read more (8/3/2016)

One year on, the Iran deal is still bad 
Emanuele Ottolenghi, Annie Fixler - Jewish Journal
A decade of nuclear negotiations with Iran were meant to prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons, force Iran to reveal its past clandestine activities and impose permanent restrictions on Iran’s civil nuclear program... Read more (7/29/2016)

Will Iran wordsmith its way off our terrorism list? It certainly is trying

Toby Dershowitz, Saeed Ghasseminejad - The Hill

Iran is on a diplomatic offensive to persuade global illicit finance regulators to accept that Hezbollah is not a terrorist group...Read more (7/25/2016)

How Iran Ruined Nuclear Deals for Everyone
Behnam Ben Taleblu -The National Interest
Last summer’s Iran nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action,declares that it does not set “precedents for any other state”... Read more (7/20/2016)

Opinion: Why Boeing shouldn't do business with Iran 
Jonathan Schanzer, Amir Toumaj - MarketWatch
A little more than a year ago, it would have been unthinkable for major U.S. corporations to do business with the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism... Read more (7/12/2016)

Iran sought chemical and biological weapons in 2015, says German intel 
Benjamin Weinthal - Fox News 
Iran aggressively pursued biological and chemical weapons technology even as it negotiated an international deal to drop its nuclear program, according to a German intelligence report that followed a similar finding the Islamic Republic sought nuclear materials... Read more (7/11/2016)

Iran Stirs Up More Trouble in the Gulf
Saeed Ghasseminejad, Amir Toumaj - The National Interest
Qassem Soleimani, commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ external operations wing the Quds Force, issued a scathing condemnation June 20 against Bahrain’s revocation of the citizenship of a top Shia cleric...Read more (7/4/2016)

Qods Force general vows to fight in Iraq and Syria until the last jihadist is killed 
Bill Roggio, Amir Toumaj - The Long War Journal
A senior advisor to the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps – Qods Force vowed that Iranian forces would continue to fight in Iraq and Syria until the last Islamic State and “takfiri” fighters are killed... Read more (6/17/2016)

The Obama Administration Needs to Stand Strong on Iran Sanctions
Mark Dubowitz, Annie Fixler - Foreign Policy 
Iran's demands are escalating. The supreme leader is sounding the alarm about American mendacity... Read more (6/16/2016)

IRGC, allies sustained significant losses in battle for Khan Touman
Amir Toumaj - The Long War Journal 
On May 6, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) lost the Syrian village of Khan Touman, strategically located near the Aleppo-Damascus highway southwest of Aleppo, to Jaysh al Fath, a jihadist-led alliance of rebel groups... Read more (5/11/2016)

Money Laundering For The Mullahs 
Mark Dubowitz, Annie Fixler - The Huffington Post 
The Islamic Republic of Iran has mounted a full court press to persuade the global financial community to overlook its long rap sheet of financial crimes... Read more (5/6/2016)

Iran: Former IRGC Commander Reveals Its Meddling in Elections
Amir Toumaj - The National Interest
Mansour Haghighatpour, an Iranian parliamentarian and former Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander, told a reformist-leaning newspaper last month that the IRGC had tried to leverage its political and financial influence to prevent his reelection in parliamentary elections two months ago... Read more (05/02/2016)

Congress should keep foreign investors from working with Iran's Revolutionary Guard
Emanuele Ottolenghi, Saeed Ghasseminejad - The Hill
Last weekend, the Obama administration and the European Union lifted sanctions against Tehran, less than a year after Iran and six world powers reached a nuclear deal...Read more (1/19/2016)

How Iran's Mafia-Like Revolutionary Guard Rules The Country's Black Market
Saeed Ghasseminejad - Business Insider
The revolutionary children of the Ayatollah Khomeini, the Pasdaran, were the poor, marginalized thugs of the Shah's era, people with a huge appetite for violence...Read more (12/11/2015)

Iran's Military Budget is Going to Get a Boost From the Nuclear Deal
Saeed Ghasseminejad - Business Insider
Post-nuclear deal Iran has shown the will to spend more on its military adventures in the Middle East and beyond, even though the price of oil has stayed low...Read more (10/30/2015)

In The News 

Congress to Crack Down on Business with Iran, Leading Republican Says
Mark Dubowitz - Quoted by Jenna Lifhits - The Weekly Standard
Lawmakers will crack down on business with Iran under the Trump administration, warning interested companies that they could wind up funding illicit Iranian activities and slapping sanctions on entities linked to Iran's military, according to a leading House Republican...Read more (12/8/2016)

Iran hawks lay out their wish list for Trump era
Mark DubowitzQuoted by Julian Pecquet - Al-Monitor
Iran hawks on and off Capitol Hill laid out their clearest wish list to date for the next four years during a Dec. 7 briefing...Read more (12/7/2016)

Trump victory provokes crises in foreign policy
Mark Dubowitz Quoted by Michael Crowley - Politico
Donald Trump’s stunning election victory will provoke immediate tensions across several continents, and force Republican foreign policy elites to make quick decisions whether to work for a man most strongly opposed as unqualified, according to foreign policy experts and GOP insiders...Read more (11/9/2016)

US, Europe at odds over Revolutionary Guard-backed airline
Emanuele OttolenghiQuoted by Vivian Salama - Associated Press
An Iranian airline, backed by the country's notorious Revolutionary Guard and used to ferry weapons and fighters to support Syria's government, has acquired rights to fly commercial routes in more than a dozen European and Asian countries in spite of U.S. terror-related sanctions...Read more (11/2/20016)

Military Leader: Iran Sending Elite Fighters Into U.S., Europe
Saeed GhasseminejadQuoted by Adam Kredo - The Washington Free Beacon
The Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, the country’s elite military force, is sending assets to infiltrate the United States and Europe at the direction of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, according to recent Farsi-language comments from an Iranian military leader...Read more (11/2/2016)

Iran Seeking 'Many Billions of Dollars' in Ransom to Free U.S. Hostages
Saeed Ghasseminejad Quoted by Adam Kredo - The Washington
Iran is seeking “many billions of dollars” in payments from the United States in exchange for the release of several U.S. hostages still being detained in Iran, according to reports by Iran’s state-controlled press that are reigniting debate over the Obama administration’s decision earlier this year to pay Iran $1.7 billion in cash...Read more (10/19/2016)

How the nuke deal is funding Iran's darkest forces
Emanuele Ottolenghi - Quoted by Benny Avni- New York Post
Even the Iran deal’s most ardent supporters are beginning to suspect it won’t mellow the mullahs. Alas, that’s not the worst of it — because the deal is actually boosting Iran’s darkest forces... 
Read more (10/3/2016)

In NBC Interview, Hassan Rouhani Can't Stop Lying
Emanuele Ottolenghi - Quoted by The Tower
In an interview two weeks ago, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani consistently lied and evaded questions put to him by NBC News’s Chuck Todd... Read more (10/2/2016)

Iran Begins Mass Producing New Ballistic Missile After Successful Test Launch
Emanuele Ottolenghi - Quoted by The Tower
Iran released a video on Sunday showing the test-firing of a new ballistic missile that it has started mass producing, Tasnim News Agency reported... Read more (9/26/2016)

U.S. Approves Aircraft Sales to Iran, Which Continues to Fly Troops, Arms to Syria
Emanuele Ottolenghi - Quoted by The Tower
The United States Treasury Department has approved licenses for Boeing and Airbus to export planes to Iran, even as the Islamic Republic continues to fly troops and arms to Syria, Reuters reported Wednesday... Read more (9/22/2016)

Senate committee holds hearing on Obama's $1.7 billion cash to Iran
Foundation for Defense of Democracies - Quoted by JNS.org
The Obama administration’s $1.7 billion cash payment to Iran earlier this year came under fire during a hearing by the Senate Banking Subcommittee on National Security and International Trade and Finance on Wednesday... Read more (9/22/2016)

Obama's Cash-for-Jihad Program
Saeed Ghasseminejad - Quoted by Andrew McCarthy - National Review 
The Obama State Department is convinced that Syrian dictator Bashar Assad and his regime’s cronies are financing terrorism. How come?... Read more (9/17/2016)

Wall Street Journal: U.S. Sent Two More Planes with $1.3 Billion in Cash to Iran
Saeed Ghasseminejad - Quoted by The Tower
The U.S. sent Iran two previously unknown planeloads of cash, totaling $1.3 billion, in late January and early February, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday night, causing lawmakers to worry that the cash will be used to finance terrorism and destabilize the Middle East... Read more (9/8/2016) 

Iran's Most Contentious Nuclear Site Just Got Some Serious Russian Firepower
Jonathan SchanzerQuoted by Russ Read - The Daily Caller
Iran’s premier nuclear enrichment facility just got a massive upgrade in its defense capabilities after installing the Russian S-300 surface-to-air missile defense system Monday... Read more (8/29/2016)

US Sent $400 Million to Iran as Hostages Were Freed, Bolstering Fears That Money Was Ransom
Saeed GhasseminejadQuoted by The Tower
The United States sent a $400 million cash shipment to Iran at the same time that four Americans imprisoned in the Islamic Republic were released, The Wall Street Journal reported (Google link) Wednesday, raising concerns that the release of the funds constituted a form of ransom... Read more (8/3/2016)

Iran Deploys Hezbollah-Trained Afghan Sniper Brigade in Syria
Amir Toumaj - Quoted by Barbara Opall-Rome - Defense News
An Israeli intelligence source confirmed Monday that a new unit of Afghan snipers trained by Lebanese-based Hezbollah and financed by Iran is now operating beyond its northern border on behalf of Syrian President Bashar Assad... Read more (7/18/2016) 

Reuters: Iranian Hardliners "Gaining Authority" One Year After Nuclear Deal
Emanuele Ottolenghi, Saeed Ghasseminejad Quoted by The Tower
Iranian hardliners close to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei are “gaining authority” in the wake of last year’s nuclear deal, Reuters reported on Monday... Read more (7/18/2016) 

Iran covertly recruits Afghan Shias to fight in Syria
Amir ToumajQuoted by Sune Engel Rasmussen, Zahra Nader - The Guardian
Iran is covertly recruiting hundreds of Afghan Shias in Afghanistan to fight for Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, drawing them out of their own conflict-ridden country and into another war in which Afghanistan plays no official part... Read more (10/17/2016) 

IMF Official Says There's a 'Buzz' About Doing Business with Iran
Mark Dubowitz Quoted by Jenna Lifhits - The Weekly Standard
A senior International Monetary Fund official expressed optimism about Iran's ability to increase global confidence in its economy Wednesday, after months of international reluctance to invest and trade there despite sanctions relief from the Iran deal... Read more (6/29/2016)

Sanctions Experts: Watchdog Ruling Proves It's Still Unsafe To Do Business with Iran
Mark DubowitzQuoted by The Tower
The decision by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global financial watchdog supported by more than 30 Western countries, to suspend countermeasures against Iran for one year rather than totally remove the country from its blacklist is a sign that Iran “still has a long way to go before it’s safe to do business there,” experts from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies wrote in a policy brief on Friday... Read more (6/24/2016)

Iran's Use of Civilian Planes to Arm Assad Could Jeapordize $25B Boeing Deal
Emanuele OttolenghiQuoted by The Tower
The $25 billion aircraft deal that Boeing recently struck with Iran could be jeopardized by Tehran’s continued support of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, the Associated Press (AP) reported Thursday... Read more (6/23/2016)

Not So Fast, Boeing and Iran
Mark DubowitzQuoted by Jonathan S. Tobin - Commentary Magazine
It’s likely that there’s some celebrating going on at the Boeing Company’s Chicago headquarters due to the news that Iran has reached a deal with the company for the purchase of new passenger airplanes... Read more (6/15/2016)

In Sharia-Ruled Iran, Muslims Are Willing To Risk Corporal Punishment For A Slice Of Bacon
Emanuele OttolenghiQuoted by Jacob Bojesson - The Daily Caller
The demand for bacon, and by extension freedom, has created a large underground market in Iran, despite severe consequences if caught... Read more (6/11/2016)

BROADCAST

Opinion Journal
Mark DubowitzWSJ Video
FDD Executive Director Mark Dubowitz discusses how the Obama administration continues to undermine sanctions on Iran... Watch here (10/10/2016)

Happening Now
Mark Dubowitz - Fox News
FDD Executive Director Mark Dubowitz comments on Iran threatening US spy planes... Watch here (9/13/2016)

Special Report with Bret Baier
Mark Dubowitz - Fox News
FDD Executive Director Mark Dubowitz discusses Obama administration admitting JCPOA could be worsening Iran's behavior... Watch Here (9/13/2016)

Risk and Reward
Mark Dubowitz - Fox Business
Following yesterday's hearing on the issue, FDD Executive Director Mark Dubowitz, explains how and why the U.S. may have given Iran up to $33 Billion... Watch Here (9/9/2016) 

Happening Now
Mark Dubowitz - Fox News
Following yesterday's hearing on the issue, FDD Executive Director Mark Dubowitz, explains how and why the U.S. may have given Iran up to $33 Billion... Watch Here (9/9/2016)

The John Batchelor Show
Behnam Ben Taleblu - Syndicated
FDD's senior Iran analyst Behnam Ben Taleblu discusses Iran's use of the S-300 missiles... Listen Here (9/8/2016)

America's Election EQ
James Woolsey - Fox News
Chairman of FDD's Leadership Council, Jim Woolsey, discusses Hillary Clinton's meetings as Secretary of State, as well as Iranian boats that recently intercepted an American warship... Watch here 8/27/2016

Cavuto: Coast to Coast
John Hannah - Fox Business
FDD senior counselor John Hannah comments on Iran intercepting U.S. ships in the Gulf... Watch here (8/25/2016)

America's Newsroom
Foundation For Defense of Democracies - Fox News
Fox News' KT McFarland references FDD's work on Iran... Watch here (9/19/2016)

Do U.S. payments to Iran pose a risk?
Behnam Ben Taleblu - Sinclair Broadcast Group
Since the beginning of his time in office, President Obama has insisted the United States does not pay ransom for hostages. Now that assertion is being questioned by many, pointing to a $400 million payment to Iran, delivered on the same day four U.S. hostages were released from an Iranian prison... Watch here (8/19/2016)

Happening Now
Jonathan Schanzer - Fox News
FDD VP for Research Jonathan Schanzer discusses the Obama administration's $400m payment to Iran... Watch here