Back in the 112th U.S. Congress I served on the House Armed Services Committee. The current HASC Chairman Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) is a man of impeccable character and high moral fiber – I served under him on a subcommittee. I still routinely get updates from the HASC and felt this was a vital one to share with you as our Congress debates the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the Iranian nuclear deal. This fact sheet clearly lays out that nothing changes regarding Iranian belligerence — something we have articulated here often. But this fact sheet provides you, our readers, with a country by country low down.So I shall ask a simple rhetorical question: what is the motivation of those who support the JCPOA?
President Obama, John Kerry, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz want to give Iran $150 billion in unfrozen assets immediately. It makes no reasonable sense whatsoever, unless the objective is to fund Islamic terrorism.HASC Fact Sheet: Terrorism, Insurgency, And Weapons Trade Will Continue Despite White House Deal
Iran’s support of rogue regimes, proxies, terrorists, and criminal organizations is one of its main strategies to support its revolutionary ideology and increase its dominance in the Middle East. Malign activities are focused on Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen, Bahrain and Syria; as well as illicit activities in Europe, Asia, Latin America, and the United States. The intent of these activities is to assert Iran’s influence over certain governments in the Middle East, and challenge Israel and Western countries’ influence and dominance.
Network of Terrorist Groups, Criminal Entities, and Insurgent Organizations are active in:
Afghanistan: Iran uses cash payments to support political candidates in Afghanistan. Iran also supports the Taliban with cash and arms to counter U.S. and Western influence in Afghanistan.Bahrain: Iran supports Shia factions in opposition to the Government of Bahrain.
Israel and Lebanon: Lebanese Hezbollah – designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization since 1997 – is Iran’s primary proxy organization, where it takes advantage of “millions of dollars, training, weapons and modern equipment” provided by Iran. Iran continues to supply Hezbollah with a range of weapons to include modern artillery, anti-ship and anti-tank capabilities, and up to 100,000 rockets and missiles with the objective of targeting Israel. Iran also arms, funds, and trains Hamas as a proxy to attack Israel with both rockets and missile technology it supplies.
Iraq: Iran also uses cash payments to fund political candidates in Iraq. Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) trains, equips, and supports Shia militias. IRGC Quds Force commanders support many Shiite militias in operations in Iraq. Many of these are the same Shia militias that killed US military service members in Iraq- numerous U.S. military personnel were casualties in Iraq due to Iranian activities, including high-powered improvised explosive devices.Saudi Arabia: Iranian-supported Hezbollah maintains political and military wings in Saudi Arabia where their commander, Ahmed al-Mughassil, masterminded the 1996 Khobar Towers attack that killed 19 U.S. Service Members. Iran has also launched cyber-attacks against Saudi Arabia.
Syria: As Iran’s proxy, Hezbollah provides military aid and advises the Assad regime. Iran also directly employs its IRGC forces in Syria.
Yemen: Iran continues its support of the Shiite Houthi rebellion in Yemen with arms and other aid.United States: In addition to the Iranian-backed plot to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador in Washington D.C., Lebanese Hezbollah, a proxy terrorist organization of Iran, fundraises in the United States. The largest Hezbollah fundraising scheme – that raised millions for the group – was broken up in the United States in 2002 as part of Operation Smokescreen.
Cyber Activities: Iran’s leaders have said the nuclear deal will have no effect on malign activities, including cyber. Iran’s cyber activity and investments are designed to provide an asymmetric advantage for the regime. Iran reportedly conducted cyber operations in 2012 against Saudi Arabia’s national oil company, Saudi Aramco, and erased data on 75 percent of the company computers. A recent report by the Norse Corporation and AEI uncovered an extensive dark-web of cyber-attacks stemming from Iran. The report detailed infrastructure dedicated to malicious cyber activity against foreign targets, including the United States, which escalated by over 100 percent during the period of the Norse study.
Ballistic Missiles: Under the deal, Iran’s ballistic missile program, including ICBM development, will become an even greater threat. Iran will be allowed to maintain the largest inventory of ballistic missiles in the Middle East. Iran built this capability despite a “crippling” sanctions regime. Disregarding warnings from Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey that “under no circumstances should we relieve pressure on Iran relative to ballistic missile capabilities and arms trafficking,” the Iran deal ends restrictions there were on missile development and testing within 8 years and allows Iran to cooperate with Russia, China, and North Korea to more quickly field more dangerous ballistic missiles with ever greater ranges.