By Amir Basiri
Iran has failed to moderate its hostile behavior following the strong cautionary threats issued by Washington placing Tehran “on notice” in response to Iran’s late-January intermediate-range ballistic missile launch.
This can more vividly be seen in yet another pair of anti-ship ballistic missiles test-fired by Iran during this weekend, one on Saturday and again on Sunday. To further the tension, Iranian fast attack boats resorted to another episode of aggressive measures by coming within 600 yards of a United States Navy surveillance vessel in the sensitive Gulf waters of the Strait of Hormuz.
The Revolutionary Guards, the entity behind Iran’s ballistic missile tests and naval provocations, is the subject of new revelations unveiling its grip on strategic assets in Iran used to boost its support for terrorism, Iran’s nuclear program, missile drive and the effort to obtain weapons of mass destruction.
A press conference on Tuesday in London was hosted by the Iranian opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), shedding light on the IRGC’s expanding control over Iran’s economy.
The group cited information obtained from sources inside Iran affiliated to the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) with access into the IRGC ranks and files. This new data, gathered in the past several months, clarifies the IRGC’s ownership of 90 docks to pursue its illicit intentions. This count is equivalent to 45 percent of Iran’s 212 officially-registered piers, mainly spread across its southern shores.
The IRGC employs these docks to send dire logistics to proxy militia groups across the Middle East, and Iran’s support for such lethal entities throughout Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon are known to all.
The history of these docks dates back to 1982, when the Iranian regime leadership first ordered the IRGC to begin such a network. The main objective was to provide a window of opportunity for the IRGC to enjoy freedom of state supervision and customs limitations, and most importantly, remain beyond the reach of international monitoring.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has continued this legacy through the years by instructing an increase in the number of these “Bahman Docks,” as they are dubbed. This allowed the IRGC to become ever more involved in the country’s economy, reaching a point today of being known as the regime’s economic powerhouse and covertly bypassing international sanctions.
These docks have also provided further means for the IRGC to flood Iran’s markets with an enormous volume of usually low-quality, cheap goods without any customs concerns. Such a practice has literally brought many aspects of Iran’s production economy to its knees and fueled the current financial crisis riddling the country.
Considering the monitoring imposed on Iran’s activities by the international community, the IRGC especially employs such docks to deliver arms and military equipment to groups throughout the region, including missiles targeting U.S. ally Saudi Arabia.
The NCRI revelations presented various names of docks and shipping companies tasked by the IRGC to provide cover for its variety of transfers. The IRGC now also owns a number of large oil tankers usually rented to foreign states and rendering even more revenue for the IRGC’s export of terrorism.
According to the NCRI intelligence, the IRGC arms-flow through these docks and shipping companies is a constant trend, and yet only a small portion of such measures were discovered and prevented in recent years by the international community.
As measures against Iran and the IRGC are currently weighed in the White House and Congress, such important revelations emphasize the fact that action against the IRGC, being Iran’s main medium in support of terrorism and extremism across the Middle East, is needed more than ever before.
Originally published in Washington Examiner