Despite the United States placing the Iranian regime “on notice” for test-firing medium-range ballistic missiles in January, Tehran has taken no steps to change its behavior. Indeed, reports indicate that Iran test launched a new pair of ballistic missiles over the weekend.
New evidence was uncovered about the extent of control that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which is leading the mullahs’ ballistic missile drive, parallel to the nuclear program and pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, has over this.
In London on Tuesday, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) held a press conference revealing that the IRGC has a growing grip over Iran’s key economic hubs. The NCRI cited intelligence gathered by sources linked to the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) from inside the regime, particularly among the IRGC rank and file. The data obtained in recent months clearly proves the IRGC has full control over 90 docks, which amount to 45% of Iran’s total official number of 212 piers.
The IRGC began setting up these “Bahman Docks” in 1982, by order of regime founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. The group was instructed to manage its activities outside the authority of any state supervision and beneath the proverbial radar of international institutions.
Over the years since then, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has ordered the expansion of IRGC activity at these docks, and the further intertwining of the organization with the country’s economy. The main goal today, and previously, is to bypass international sanctions.
As a result, the IRGC now has complete control over Iran’s ground, sea and air borders, flooding the economy with a variety of imports without paying a single dollar in customs.
The IRGC has ports in Bandar Lengeh in Hormozgan Province, two docks in Abu Musa Island and another two in the Greater Tunb Island — among others.
In addition to exporting arms to Middle East militias, the IRGC takes advantage of these docks to smuggle oil, gasoline, natural gas, chemical products, cigarettes, narcotics, alcoholic beverages, mobile phones and pharmaceuticals. The IRGC reportedly pockets an annual revenue of around $12 billion from importing and exporting illicit goods through the docks.
According to the NCRI, the IRGC has also established a number of front companies tasked specifically with transferring weapons caches through the docks. This flow of arms continues non-stop, with only a small percentage having been discovered and blocked by the international community in recent years. And all this is in addition to the colossal official budget the IRGC receives from Tehran.
The new revelation is but another reason for the international community to take firm and swift action against the IRGC.
Originally published in Algemeiner