by Dr. Majid Rafizadeh
Dollars flow to expand Islamist ideology of Iran and its proxies.
Iran has created an Islamist empire through its loyal proxies in dozens of countries. More recently, these Iranian Islamist proxies have become empowered and emboldened to an unprecedented level. Their leaders are publicly announcing their desire to create Islamist states, which are modeled after the Islamic Republic of Iran.
For example, this week, the Deputy Secretary-General of Hezbollah, Naim Qassem, pointed out in an interview, to a state-owned Iranian outlet, that he truly believes that “Islam is the solution to all of man’s problems, in all places and at all times.” As a result, he contends that it is a “doctrinal and cultural imperative” to overthrow the secular state in Lebanon and set up an Islamic Shiite political system. He also desires the new state to precisely resemble the one created by Ayatollah Rooh Allah Khomeini, the autocrat founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran who tried to establish a political establishment similar to that of Muhammad over 1400 years ago.
Hezbollah is not the only ideological Islamist proxy that is coming out with such blatant announcements. Others of Iran’s proxies−including Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq (AAH), Badr Organization, Liwa Abu Fadl al-Abbas (LAFA), Kataib Al Imam Ali−have publicly reasserted their mission of creating a state similar to that of Khomenei’s.
Leaders of Hezbollah and other Shiite Islamist groups funded by Iran have made their allegiances to Iran by believing in the concept of “Absolute Wilayat al-Faqih” (Guardianship of the Jurist) which was coined by Ayatollah Khomeini. The concept of “Absolute Wilayat al-Faqih” follows that all domestic, social, economic, political and foreign policy maters are in the hand of one person (who is elected by Allah: The Supreme Leader). This is similar to how things were ruled in Muhammad’s era. The Supreme leader has the right to enact, suspend, and abolish any laws based on his discretion, Shari law and Islamic Jurisprudence.
These Islamist groups would also desire to implement Khomenei’s Islamist rules that non-Muslims can not run for high political positions, women should follow the same dress code and Hijab across the country, men ought to grow beards, drinking and listening to music should be banned, stoning of women and executions of homosexuals, political prisoners, and juveniles, to name a few, will become law.
But more importantly, another related question to address is why are Iran’s Islamist groups publicly announcing their mission of creating Islamist state at this particular time?
Well, the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has been on a shopping spree across Europe to reap benefits from the nuclear deal and business deals worth billions of dollars.
Behind closed doors, while human rights demonstrators were protesting the Iranian presidential visit, more than 30 business agreements were signed, with various industries, including petrochemicals, construction, cars, planes, transportation, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, health care, etc. The car manufacturer, Peugeot Citroën, signed nearly a half billion dollars with Iran Khodro and Total made a contract to buy 150,000 to 200,000 barrels of oil everyday from Tehran.
Unfortunately, some European politicians are eagerly welcoming Iranian diplomats. To show their special welcome, some of these politicians even took further steps undermining their own cultural values; for example, the French took the wine off the menu list, Italy covered their nude statues, red carpet was repeatedly rolled out for Mr. Rouhani, and he was invited to most crucial locations in Europe, such as Les Invalides, to speak with business and political leaders.
So, where are these billions of dollars heading? The lifting of the economic sanctions by the United Nations Security Council has empowered the Islamic Republic and billions of dollars are being directed towards Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and supporting Iran’s Islamist proxies−designated as terrorist groups−across the world.
The mullahs are telling the world that they are open for “business.” But, one should not fall in the trap of the hypocrite moderate image that the mullahs and President Rouhani are projecting to the world. To survive and support its Islamist Empire of proxies, the Islamic republic has become moderate only in “doing business” with the rest of the world and enjoying the rewards of capitalism. Nevertheless, Iran’s domestic reality and regional policies do not show any signs of moderation.
The Islamic Republic has executed more than 800 people in 2015, breaking the world record in execution per capita. Iranian journalists, human rights defenders, and bloggers are frequently being imprisoned for expressing their opinion. Even Iran’s foreign policy has not shown any signs of moderation. Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Quds force are operating in Syria and Iraq, helping Assad’s forces, which are involved in wars against humanity, and assisting Shiite militias across the region financially, militarily and advisory.
The mission of Iran’s Islamist proxies−establishing Islamic Republics modeled after Iran−is not a far-fetched ambition. We should not forget that to spread its Islamist ideology, Iran masterfully created political realities, powerful foreign armed forces, and an empire of proxies from these militia groups that were once considered trivial. The socialist politicians should also be cognizant of the fact that helping Iran by any means to receive more dollars, will be contributing directly to advancing Iran’s and its proxies Islamist, hegemonic ambitions, as well as anti-Western and anti-Semitic sentiments.
Dr. Majid Rafizadeh, an Iranian-American political scientist and scholar, is president of the International American Council and serves on the board of the Harvard International Review at Harvard University. Rafizadeh is also a former senior fellow at the Nonviolence International Organization based in Washington, DC and is a member of the Gulf Project at Columbia University. He can be reached at Dr.Rafizadeh@post.harvard.edu. Follow Rafizadeh at @majidrafizadeh.
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