Friday, February 17, 2012

The Justice of God and the Perils of Politicization of the Human Rights Issues: The Iran Case.


Until the present times, the rule of the last Persian Imperial dynasty, the Pahlavis, is in the larger public opinion still considered a rule of terror and human rights abuses which was justly criticized and eventually overthrown.
This short research will try to analyze the security apparatus, the human rights abuses and the political background, the justice administered, the compensation to the victims of these real or alleged abuses, the punishment of the responsible security structures and leading individuals through the creation of the Islamic Revolutionary Courts.


On December 31st 1977 President Jimmy Carter visited the last Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in Tehran and called Iran "an island of stability in the Middle East” in his speech. Just some months later, after a tireless international campaign for human rights in Iran, the empire fell into turmoil between demonstrations and violence from both armed opposition groups, leftist and Islamist, and from the government on the other side. The Shah, either because of his personal stoicism and resignation, or possibly because of his worsening health, left the country and months later died in exile, abandoned by his former friends and supporters.
The last Shah of Iran could be considered one of the most controversial figures of the 20th century. For his supporters was the man who gave Iran its modern face, built the infrastructure and industry, push through some social reforms, gave women a more equal status. We cannot forget the general situation in which he had to make his decisions and the crucial strategic position of Iran, an oil-rich country between the Soviet and the Western Block in the middle of the Cold War. He had to try to contain the tidal wave of communism, directly supported by the USSR and radical Islamism of the angry clergymen, who opposed his land reform and social reforms, like more freedom for women. Since much information is still classified, censored or altered for propaganda purposes by the current government in Iran, a sober and impartial historical analysis is still rare. In this short paper the author would like to concentrate mainly on the human rights issues which contributed to the outcome of the Iranian Revolution and the efforts for justice and its Iranian solution, retribution and rehabilitation of political prisoners.


The Iranian Revolution is frequently misinterpreted in more ways. It is said to be a mass uprising of a radically religious and traditional population against the reforms of the modernist and pro-Western Shah. One of the main exponents of this view is Michel Foucault[1]. From the other side it is stressed that the Revolution was an uprising of various intellectuals, students, rightist and leftist elements against a repressive dictatorial regime demanding more freedom and liberal reforms. Another line notes that some opposition groups used terrorist practices: the extreme left, financed by the USSR and the religious extremists, like the Fada'iyan-e Islam group, assassinating important political figures, The People’s Mujahedin of Iran, a marxist-Islamist group, and the communist Tudeh Party, carrying out terrorist attacks against civilians and military personnel. Probably the most correct is the combination of the three, that the Revolution was a movement of extremely heterogeneous forces, practically opposed to each other and at their turn opposed to the Shah’s regime. It can be argued that the revolution has been triggered, or at least hastened, by the loosening of the repression and tight control over the radical opposition forces by the Imperial security apparatus.
In the second half of the 1970’s and until now, the reign of the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi is associated with the tyranny of his secret service, SAVAK. SAVAK, which is the acronym for Sazman-e Etelaat va Amniat-e Keshvar (سازِمانِ اطلاعات وَ امنیَتِ کِشوَر), which literally means Organization for Intelligence and Security of the Country. The purpose of the organization was to eliminate threats to the Shah’s rule from all subversive elements, leftists and religious extremists, but also liberal intellectuals. It has been reportedly created in cooperation with the CIA and allegedly the Israeli MOSSAD.
In 1983 in Paris Habib Ladjevardi conducted an interview with Fatemeh Pakravan, wife of the second chief of SAVAK and she connected the early stage of the security apparatus to the period of Mosaddegh as prime minister and minister of defense:

“[…] Dr. Mossadegh as minister of defense governed practically all the time under martial law. This is something again that people have forgotten. And also, that actually it was Dr. Mossadegh who put the seed of what came to be known as SAVAK.Q. [Reporter] Did he?
A. [Fatemeh Pakravan] Yes. Because he established -- you know at the time the Communist Party, the Persian Communist Party called the Tudeh, was extremely active because the Russians had hardly left Azarbaijan and the so-called democracy [democratic] republics, that they had instituted in Kurdestan and Azarbaijan, and were extremely strong. And Mossadegh was well aware of the danger it represented to have these people infiltrating every activity in the country. So he established something called the National Council of Security, presided by himself and the head[s] of the three services (the army, navy, and air force) and the head of the police department (gendarmerie), and the Chief G-2 -- that was my husband.” [2]

Dr. Mosaddegh was the Prime Minister of Iran from 1951 to 1953. He was overthrown by a coup d’état orchestrated by the British MI5 and the CIA because of his efforts to nationalize the Iranian oil industry, in British hands since 1913. After the account of Mansour Moaddel and other historians, “In a crucial respect, the empirical evidence seems to support the Left's argument that the state's repressive policy was to destroy all the political groups and provide stable conditions for the inflow of international capital. Evidently, the Shah, in order to resolve the oil issue in a manner acceptable to his international guardians, needed effectively to silence the nationalist leaders and the Communists. Right after the coup, the political parties and organizations associated with the National front including the Iran party, the Iranian People's party, the Party of the Nation of Iran (Pan Iranian party), and the Toiler's party – were all disbanded and their publications discontinued. Members of the Front were either killed, imprisoned, exiled or co-opted. The suppression of these parties was so pervasive that not only were the communication network between party leaders and the rank and file broken down but also National Front leaders lost contact with each other. The Tudeh (Communist) party was repressed with a much higher degree of intensity. After the coup an estimated 3,000 Tudeh militants were arrested. Many Communists were shot and murdered in prisons, many professors and students were put in jail after being arrested at night. The organizational power of the Tudeh was effectively demolished when its units in the army were discovered in 1954 and over 500 officers were arrested.”[3]

The first chief of the reorganized SAVAK was general Teymour Bakhtiar, appointed in February 1958, but according to some sources[4] as early as September 1953 a U.S. Army Colonel working for the CIA has been sent to Iran to establish an intelligence cell and work with Bakhtiar, that time military governor of Tehran. In March 1955 that person has been replaced by a team of 5 CIA officers. One of them was Major General Herbert Norman Schwarzkopf. These people trained the personnel in intelligence and reportedly in torture techniques, drawn from WWII Germany[5]. SAVAK operated two prisons in Tehran (the Komiteh and Evin facilities) and more suspected. SAVAK's torture methods included electric shock, whipping, beating, inserting broken glass and pouring boiling water into the rectum, tying weights to the testicles, and the extraction of teeth and nails[6].
In 1961 Bakhtiar resigned himself or has been dismissed by the Shah because of distrust and in 1970 assassinated in exile in Iraq, probably on Shah’s order. General Hassan Pakravan took his place. He was again dismissed in 1966 and replaced by General Nematollah Nassiri, the Shah’s childhood friend, who finished arrested by the Shah in the last year before the revolution due to general mistrust in his officers. The last chief (6 June 1978 – 12 February 1979) was Lieutenant General Nasser Moghadam, another Shah’s friend. The last three SAVAK chiefs have been executed shortly after the revolution. In the early 1970’s Shah created an extra Special Intelligence Bureau inside his Niavaran palace in Tehran and its chief was Major General Hossein Fardust, former deputy chief of SAVAK.
The accurate information about SAVAK are still classified by the current Iranian regime and any information is strongly biased either by the enemies of the Shah who try to exaggerate the numbers of the security personnel, or the sympathizers, who try to diminish it. Therefore it is impossible to assess the real strength and influence of the whole system.[7] Some sources estimate the number of secret agents as high as 60,000[8], the Islamic Republic claims 15,000 full-time personnel and thousands of informants, sources sympathetic to the Shah estimate the staff between 4,000 and 6,000[9]. It was predominantly a civilian organization but it had close ties to the military and many members served simultaneously in a branch of the armed forces.

The Human Rights Issue

While the support of the United States for the Shah and the help of CIA in creating a strong authoritarian rule was in line with the former US foreign policy of “realpolitik”, ruthless and calculating, supporting local despotic regimes in change for their loyalty. In Carter’s eyes, recent foreign policy makers, notably Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, had promoted a policy that defended American interests at the price of disregarding morality and America’s duty to uphold a high standard in the world.[10]
Jimmy Carter entered his office on January 20th, 1977 and in his inaugural speech he stated, that America's “commitment to human rights must be absolute”[11] However he refrained from a public criticism towards the Shah, because he was aware of the importance of the American-Iranian relations. He kept his remarks for personal interaction with the monarch fearing to disturb the stability in the region and the crucial cooperation between the two countries[12], but the Shah found himself in the middle of a ferocious media campaign. In 1975 Amnesty International declared that “no country in the world has a worse record in human rights than Iran”[13]. “When the Shah and his wife, Empress Farah, came for a state visit to America in November 1977, in Williamsburg, Virginia, about 500 Iranian students showed up, enthusiastically applauding. However, about 50 protestors waved hammer-and-sickle red flags. These unlikely Iranians were masked, unable to speak Persian, and some were blonde. The U.S. media focused exclusively on the protesters. Wrote the Shah: “Imagine my amazement the next day when I saw the press had reversed the numbers and wrote that the fifty Shah supporters were lost in a hostile crowd.””[14]
Anyway the Shah felt the pressure from the U.S. administration and trying to conform to these new conditions he began to relax restrictions against political protesters in the spring of 1977. The liberal opposition used this opportunity and started their campaign against repression by a short letter demanding “the respect of constitutionalism and human rights.”[15] Other groups of intellectuals, like the “Writers Association” begun to meet regularly, SAVAK arrested less people and the Shah allowed the Red Cross to inspect the prisons. It was clear that the Shah wanted to meet the requirements and the relations seemed to improve.. But in reality, human rights were just a façade, not the main agenda, which was made clear during a meeting in Washington in November 1977: oil prices, weapons deals and global economic issues. But the political climate in Iran already reached a point of no return. The opposition became outspoken, the foreign media coverage of the opposition was extensive. BBC offered much space to Khomeini who aired his speeches to Iran and the clashes with SAVAK and the security forces intensified. The US administration started to distance itself from the Shah. In December 1978, Carter stated that although his administration would “prefer the Shah to maintain a major role in the government,” it was “in the hands of the Iranian people” and he would not intervene with U.S. forces to bail out the Shah. Actually the U.S. administration had already made some attempts to contact Khomeini and assure him about their support.
After he left the country for an exile, from which he was to never return back, he stated: “I did not know it then – perhaps I did not want to know – but it is clear to me now that the Americans wanted me out. Clearly this is what the human rights advocates in the State Department wanted … What was I to make of the Administration’s sudden decision to call former Under Secretary of State George Ball to the White House as an adviser on Iran? Ball was among those Americans who wanted to abandon me and ultimately my country.” – Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran[16]

Revolutionary Courts, Sadegh Khalkhali and the Justice of God.

The opposition movement against the Shah and the revolution itself brought about a certain number of casualties between shooting during demonstrations and repression by the security forces. This numbers have also been used to judge the officials of the overthrown government, anyway they differ greatly. After Ayatollah Khomeini the number of men, women and children murdered by the Shah’s regime was 60,000. This number is also in the Constitution of the Islamic Republic. A deputy of the Iranian Parliament during the American Hostage crisis stated the numbers even higher, 70,000 killed and 100,000 wounded. Anyway, the most recent research done by a respected and since jailed historian Emadeddin Baghi at the Martyr’s Foundation (Bonyad-e Shahid - بنیاد شهید) found much lower numbers. The Martyr Foundation has been explicitly founded after the revolution to compensate the families of the fallen fighters. In the archives of the Martyr’s Foundation Baghi found 3164 dead among the anti-Shah movement between 1963 and 1979 and only 744 identified in Tehran. The coroner’s office states 895 and Tehran’s main cemetery Behesht-e Zahra counts 768 martyrs.[17]
The relatively low number of victims for a time span of 16 years and a nation of roughly 30 million is frequently credited to Shah’s general reluctance to use force and his resigned attitude towards the will of the masses, that he was "unwilling to massacre his subjects in order to save his throne"[18].
In the mentioned interview the wife of the SAVAK chief, Fatemeh Pakravan points out that SAVAK always looked just like its chief shaped it. While Nassiri was known as the one who promoted torture, General Pakravan was known for his conciliatory views and he frequently visited Khomeini, whom he saved from execution and who could thank him his title of Ayatollah. Anyway Pakravan was one of the first people executed. “One of the things that my husband used to say after he finished, after he left that […] I don't want it to give you the impression that he was boasting. It was just a fact that he recognized. He said, "You know, I think that in three thousand ... in all the history of Asia, I am practically the only fool that never practiced torture." And he used to laugh and say, "My prisons are like four-star hotels." And it was confirmed because I remember Allahyar Saleh was sick and he was taken to the hospital. Well, he was ... he came from prison to the hospital, and he used to say, "I don't want to see anybody except my dear General Pakravan." You know, he was respected and all that.”[19]
The Shah, before he fled to exile on January 16, 1979, left the government of the country to Shahpour Bakhtiar, a conservative liberal and his party, the National Front. Bakhtiar, in his speech in the Parliament on January 11, 1979, announced a plan of 17 points which included the dissolution of the SAVAK, the gradual elimination of the martial law, punishment of the violators of human rights, liberation and payment as compensation to political prisoners and a larger role for religious leaders in the drafting of legislation[20]. Unfortunately he wasn’t permitted to realize this plan. February 1, 1979 Ayatollah Khomeini arrived to Tehran and on February 5 decided that Mehdi Bazargan will become Prime Minister. Shahpour Bakhtiar has been forced into exile and assassinated in Paris August 7, 1991 by Iranian agents.
Effectively, political prisoners have been freed. According to contemporary reports, their number was a little more than 3,000.
Striving to consolidate his power, Khomeini established armed forces and new organizations whose aim was to assure his predominance: the Revolutionary Council, the Revolutionary Guards, Revolutionary Tribunals, Islamic Republican Party, and Revolutionary Committees (komitehs). Mainly the Revolutionary Tribunals (Dadgah-e Enqelab-e Eslami دادگاه انقلاب اسلامی) and the Committees had to administer justice and punish the officials of the fallen regime. The Committees were looking for perpetrators and contra-revolutionary signs among people. They are criticized for violence, arbitrary arrests, confiscation of property and baseless accusations upon personal rivalries, jealousies and antipathies.
Two revolutionary tribunals were set up in the capital Tehran, in Qasr and Evin prisons, others in most major cities and there was also a traveling tribunal for the main judge, Hojjat-ol Eslam Sadegh Khalkhali, who later became known as the “hanging judge” for the scores of death penalties he issued. He became famous with the quote in an interview with Le Figaro: "If my victims were to come back on earth, I would execute them again, without exceptions."[21] The first death senteces have been issued and carried out just two weeks after the arrival of Khomeini, on February 16, 1979. In the first two months the number of executed rose to cca. 200, by January 1980, it reached cca. 582, another 906 executions have been carried out until June 1981, the date when elected leftist president Abol Hassan Bani-Sadr has been impeached and the leftist and liberals have been definitively doomed by Khomeini, in the 12 months after this event, Amnesty International counted another 2,946 executions[22]. When Khomeini officially condemned the Leftists, paradoxically many of former political prisoners, who fought against the Shah and served prisons terms, have been sentenced again to prison and in later years many of them executed.

The Revolutionary Court still exists and under its jurisdiction fall the following:

All of the offenses against the internal and external security of the Country, combating and behaving in a corruptly manner on the Earth, which is in Islamic terminology called Mofsed-e fil arz.
Uttering slander against the Founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Honorable Leader.
Conspiracy against the Islamic Republic of Iran or carrying arms, use of terrorism, destruction of building against the Islamic Republic.
Engaging in espionage for aliens.
All crimes involving smugglings and narcotic items.
The cases pertinent to Article 49 of the Constitution of Iran, which concern misuse, fraud and theft of public resources.

Since the first days the summary trials have been much criticized by public figures such as the Prime Minister Mehdi Bazargan and even Shi’a clerics Ayatollah Mohammad Kazem Shariatmadari and Hassan Tabatabai-Qomi. The trials were not public, there was no jury, and a single judge decided the matter at hand, frequently deciding only upon his own discretion and knowledge, which is a specific feature of Shi’a Islam, based on the principle of ”Intellect”, ‘Aql (عقل) and Ijtihad (اجتهاد), deciding upon one’s own effort. In general, the trials can be a matter of only hours or minutes and the guilt can be proven just on the basis of “popular repute”. The concept of defense attorney was dismissed as a “Western absurdity” [23] To any criticism Khomeini responded by saying that "criminals should not be tried, they should be killed." Sadegh Khalkhali stated “The revolutionary courts were born out of the anger of the Iranian people and these people will not accept any principles outside Islamic principles.”[24]
In the first months after the revolution, 248 military officials have been executed, among them 61 SAVAK officials, including three former chiefs, Pakravan, Nassiri and Moghadam. But also high ranking government officials such as Farrokhroo Parsa, first female minister in Iran (Minister of Education) and outspoken supporter of women’s rights, Gholamreza Nikpay, deputy Prime Minister and Amir Abas Hoveyda, Prime Minister. The new government was trying to obtain the extradition of the Shah, to try and execute him, but unsuccessfully.
Some scholars concluded that the role of Ayatollah Khomeini was decisive and his will to put to death most people associated with the previous regime determined the whole form of the mock trials. Sadegh Khalkhali in an interview with a New York Times reported states: “Everything I did, I did under the holy authority of the Imam. I did only what he wanted.”[25]
Abbas Milani, an Iranian scholar, reports the accusations of Khalkhali against Hoveyda: “Amir Abbas Hoveyda, son of Habibollah, birth certificate number 3542, issued in Tehran, born in 1298 (1920), previously minister of the deposed royal court, and the Shah’s ex-Prime Minister, a citizen of Iran, is accused of:
1. Spreading corruption on Earth
2. Fighting God, God's creatures and the Viceroy of Imam Zaman (the transcendental 12th Shi’a Imam, the messianic savior, whose deputy Khomeini considered himself and the Islamic government)
3. Acts of sedition detrimental to national security and independence, through forming cabinets that were puppets of the United States and England and defending the interests of colonialists.
4. Plotting against national sovereignty by interference in elections to Majlis (Parliament), appointing and dismissing ministers at the behest of foreign embassies.
5. Turning over underground resources: oil, copper and uranium to foreigners.
6. Expansion of the influence of American Imperialism, and its European allies, in Iran by destroying internal resources and turning Iran into a market for foreign commodities.
7. Paying national revenues from oil to Shah and Farah (the Shah’s wife Farah Diba) and to countries dependent on the West and then borrowing money at high interest, and enslaving conditions from America and Western countries.
8. Ruining agriculture and destroying forests.
9. Direct participation in acts of espionage for the West and Zionism.
10. Complicity with conspirators from CENTO and NATO for the oppression of the peoples of Palestine, Vietnam and Iran.
11. Active member of Freemasonry in the Foroughi Lodge according to existing documents and the confessions of the accused.
12. Participation in terrorizing and frightening the justice seeking people including their death and injury and limiting their freedom by closing down newspapers and exercising censorship on the print media and books.
13. Founder and first secretary of the despotic "Rastakhiz of the Iranian People" party.
14. Spreading cultural and ethical corruption and direct participation in consolidating the pillars of colonialism and granting capitulatory rights to Americans.
15. Direct participation in smuggling heroin in France along with Hassan Ali Mansour.
16. False reporting through the publication of puppet papers and appointing puppet editors to head the media.
17. According to minutes of cabinet meetings and of the Supreme Economic Council, and the claims of private plaintiffs, including Dr. Ali-Asghar Hadj-Seyyed-Djavadi, and taking into account documents found in SAVAK and the office of the prime minister, and the confessions of Dr. Manouchehr Azmoun, Mahmoud Jafarian, Parviz Nick-khah, and the confessions of the accused, since the commission of the crimes is certain, the prosecutor of the Islamic Revolutionary Court asks the court to issue the judgment of the death penalty and the confiscation of all your [Hoveyda's] property.” [26]

Many of the charges reflected uninvestigated rumors. Abbas Milani agrees with this notion when he described the essence of the court's ambience: “It became clear that rules of evidence, notions of innocence until proven guilty, and a dispassionate judge, dispensing impartial judgments based on incontrovertible evidence, were all alien to this court … Gossip had the authority of fact, as evident in article fifteen of the indictment, and unsubstantiated rumours were taken as proof of guilt.”

The former chief of SAVAK, Hassan Pakravan was among the executed too. In the already mentioned interview of Habib Ladjevardi with his wife Fatemeh Pakravan she recalls the evidence gathered against her husband for the trial: “Because my son told me -- because, you know, somehow all the secrets come out -- that the interrogator told somebody, who told my son, that when they opened his file, his so-called file ... they never allowed my son to see him, because they said the instructions were going ... the inquiries were going on. It wasn't true, because when they opened his file, there was only one piece of paper. And that was the testimony of a young man, who had been arrested under my husband and who gave a testimony to the human treatment that he had and how General Pakravan released him very soon -- had him released very soon.”[27]


The cultural, religious and political background that shaped the post-revolutionary efforts for justice in Iran allowed its realization only on a very limited scale. The religious differences and ideals of Islamic justice on Earth, acclaimed and defended by the new government, apparently served only as an excuse for an indiscriminate persecution and elimination of the fallen regime’s political and military elite and of its new rivals in the quest for power after the Revolution, originally achieved with joint effort. The human rights have been practically or politically abused by most of the actors: the Shah’s regime used the repressive apparatus, imprisoning and torturing to retain the power and silence liberal dissent, but also to keep the leftist and religious extremists and terrorists at bay. The Western powers used the human rights situation as a lever of pressure on the Shah’s government because of various political manoeuvres, calculations and hidden goals in the extraordinarily strategic Middle East region. The Western media but also the propaganda around Khomeini and other organizations of the opposition used the exaggerated human rights record to launch a smear campaign against the rulers, which ended by their ousting and establishing a rule of terror and deliberate executions after summary trials in the name of God. Khomeini and the propaganda of the new regime used and created its own interpretation of human rights which was useful at that moment, just to smash them again just weeks after rising to power. The case of Iran should serve as a memento for the global community, to approach the issue of human rights with alertness and without political bias and calculations.

Just to conclude, again the words of Fatemeh Pakravan: “And he […] used to say that, "If you use violence, you will meet violence. If these young people don't want to ... obtain whatever they want.... First of all, we never knew what they wanted. You see, they never said what they wanted. And we know very well in other countries, where people have said that they will kill, and put bombs, and go into terroristic actions, it's to obtain democracy, it's not true. We know that for a fact -- it's not true at all, it's to establish another ... a very, very bad dictatorship.”[28]

[1] Scullion, Rosemarie, “Michel Foucault the Orientalist: On Revolutionary Iran and the "Spirit of Islam"” South Central Review Vol. 12, No. 2 (Summer, 1995), pp. 16-40
[2]Fatemeh Pakravan, in an interview recorded by Habib Ladjevardi, 7 March 1983, Paris, France. Iranian Oral History Collection, Harvard University. transcript 1 of 4, accessed February 9, 2012

[3] Moaddel Mansoor, Class, politics, and ideology in the Iranian revolution. New York: Columbia University Press, 1993, p. 55

[4] Gasiorowski, Mark J., , “CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY (CIA) IN PERSIA,” Encyclopaedia Iranica, Online Edition, December 15, 1991, last updated October 10, 2011, accessed February 02, 2012,

[5] Hersh, Seymour. "Ex-analyst says CIA rejected warning on Shah." The New York Times, July 1st 1979, accessed February 2, 2012,

[6] Ministry of Security SAVAK. Federation of American Scientists, last updated January 16, 2000, accessed February 10, 2012,

[7] Ibidem.

[8] Dilip Hiro. Iran under the ayatollahs. London and New York: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1987, p. 96.

[9] Afkhami,. Gholam Reza. Life and Times of the Shah. University of California Press, 2009, p. 386.

[10] Brands, H.W. “The Idea of the National Interest,” Diplomatic History 23 (Spring 1999): 258.

[11]Peter G. Bourne, Jimmy Carter: A Comprehensive Biography from Plains to Postpresidency. New York, NY, 1997, p. 384.

[12] Gilbert, John: Carter’s Human Rights Policy and Iran, Madison Historical Review, volume 5 (May 2008), accessed February 12, 2012

[13]Gasiorowski, Mark J.. U.S. Foreign Policy and the Shah: Building a Client State in Iran . Ithaca, NY: 1991, p. 157.

[14] Perloff, James. “Iran and the Shah: What Really Happened.” The New American, 13 May 2009., accessed February 04, 2012.

[15] Siavoshi, Susan. Liberal Nationalism in Iran: The Failure of a Movement. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1990.

[16]Engdahl, William, A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order. Dr.Bottiger Verlags-GmbH, 1993, p. 192.

[17] Kadivar, Cyrus. “A Question of Numbers.” Rouzegar-Now, 8 August 2003, accessed 10 February 2012, online

[18] Kurzman, Charles. Unthinkable Revolution, Harvard University Press: 2004, p.108

[19] Fatemeh Pakravan, in an interview recorded by Habib Ladjevardi, 7 March 1983, Paris, France, Transcript 1 of 4, Iranian Oral History Collection, Harvard University, accessed February 9, 2012,

[20] Prunhuber, Carol. The Passion and Death of Rahman the Kurd. Bloomington: iUniverse, 2009, p. 44

[21] Le Figaro, 14 January 2000

[22] Bakhtash, Shaul. The Reign of the Ayatollahs, New York: Basic Books, 1984, p.111

[23] Abrahamian, Ervand, Tortured Confessions by Ervand Abrahamian, University of California Press, 1999, p.125

[24] Bakhash, Shaul, The Reign of the Ayatollahs, New York: Basic Books, 1984, p.59-61

[25] Milani, Abbas. The Persian sphinx: Amir Abbas Hoveyda and the Riddle of the Iranian Revolution, London: I.B.Tauris, 2000, p.331-338

[26] Ibidem p.331

[27] Fatemeh Pakravan, in an interview recorded by Habib Ladjevardi, 7 March 1983, Paris, France, Transcript 4 of 4, Iranian Oral History Collection, Harvard University. accessed February 10, 2012

[28] Ibidem.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

How to Export a Revolution. On State Terrorism and Iran


Since terrorism is in most of cases a financially very demanding enterprise, sooner or later the international community acknowledged that to limit and target efficiently the terrorist groups and activities it is absolutely necessary to target the private and state entities funding and harboring these groups and individuals.

This short research will try to analyze the existing legal framework and measures outlined to combat terrorism funding. In the second part it will categorize the various kinds of terrorist attacks, their possible targets and the various kinds of state-sponsored groups involved in them. These categories will be illustrated on the particular case of Iran.


Financing intelligence units, political assassinations, sabotages, guerilla fighters, insurgent groups, or, in a more recent and disputed terminology, terrorist groups on the enemy's territory proved in many cases a quite efficient way how to influence the political outcome of conflicts. Rulers and states resorted to this practice since the ancient times. Interfering in a rival or enemy state's internal affairs is, according to the supporters of realpolitik, a legitimate act, applied for self-defense or to enhance one's chances to weaken one's enemies and win a war. Sedition and spying has been described in ancient treaties on war, such as The Art of War, by the Chinese Sun Tzu (8th-5th century BC), the Arthashastra, by Chanakya (cca. 350-283 BC), the teacher of Chandragupta, the first Mauryan emperor of the Indian subcontinent, and maybe everybody knows the Caesarian quote “Divide et impera”, divide and conquer.

The difficulties to create a generally accepted definition of state-sponsored terrorism begin with the difficulty to define the word, or the act of “terrorism” itself. Probably most of the scholars would agree that terrorism is mainly used by relatively weak, non-state groups or actors who do not have the capability to build up a regular army and confront the ruling establishment of a country in a regular battle and overthrow it. In this case singular, but larger-scale attacks are carried out and civilian casualties are frequent or, in many cases directly seeked. In case the group is able to build up an armed unit and confront the army and security forces, usually the term militia or guerilla is used. But in both cases the main aspect is the fight of a usually minority group against a ruling establishment or a status quo and aiming to overthrow it or influence its policy, an attack “from below”. Since a state is a ruling entity and its actions are perceived as coming “from above”, terrorism perpetrated by a state can be perceived as such only in cases the state, or the state-sponsored actor happens to be in the same position – minority, disadvantaged position. And this happens mainly abroad, in a hostile environment which usually becomes the target of these violent acts.

The distinction based on this definition could be

  1. citizens of the sponsor state, mostly members of state organizations acting abroad on behalf of the state

  2. non-citizens of the sponsor state, local groups and individuals, re

    siding or acting in the country/region the sponsoring country tries to target or influence

In the first group the usual perpetrators are, or could be members or affiliates of the state’s security apparatus, armed forces, agents of intelligence services, diplomatic personnel and embassy employees, citizens deployed for various kinds of missions. These missions could encompass smuggling of weapons and other material, or direct orchestration, preparation, funding and supporting of terrorist attacks: targeted killings of uncomfortable individuals, bombings of strategic points either of military, political or ideological importance, eventually kidnapping or taking hostages.

The second category encompasses individuating like-minded minorities from the ethnical, political or religious point of view in the target country or region, radicalizing them, creating organized groups, training and arming them to fight against the enemy of the sponsor state. These kinds of organizations are often nicknamed as Fifth Columns, based on the events from the Spanish Civil War and the siege of Madrid.

An eventual third, very particular case of state-sponsored terrorism could be the so called “false flag” attacks. These kinds of attacks could be perpetrated in two ways, but the common aim of both of them is to induce an illusion of being under attack. It can be carried out as a real or simulated military attack of disguised agents at a border post, provoking an incident, shooting, even killing of some military personnel. Maybe the most famous is the staged attack of German soldiers in Polish uniforms against a radio station, known as the Gliwice incident which triggered the Second World War. The second way is a terrorist attack inside the country blamed on a specific group, nation state or other entity and may be somewhat controversial, because it can be used not only to declare war on another nation state, but also to tighten the security measures and repression inside.

In more definitions state-sponsored terrorism encompasses also acts of suppression and terror on the state's own citizens. The present author argues that this category should be taken out from the framework of state-sponsored terrorism with the only probably justifiable example of targeted killings of citizens (opposition leaders, officials, important dissident figures) or groups of them residing abroad. The main argument for the enclosure of these acts in the spectrum of terrorist acts (namely in the first group) is the international dimension of the operation, the security implications for another country, the possibility of harming bystanders and, of course, in general, taking a person's life in a violent manner in the framework of a country, which may, or may not be in state of war with the sponsor country. The main peril here is, that targeted killings, or extra-judicial executions of terrorists or terror suspects, have been defined as a legitimate self-defense by the Supreme Court of Israel (on Dec 14. 2006). The general acceptance of this rule could allow autocratic countries to eliminate opponents without investigation and a court sentence, in any country worldwide solely on base of vague terrorism charges, frequently without any real proof. On the other hand the argument for the elimination of terror and violence committed by the state on its own citizens comes from Weber's basic definition of state as holding monopoly on violence. An organization, which holds monopoly on violence is in strict opposition to the conception of terrorism as the movement of the weak, coming from below, indeed, the state is in most cases the target of terrorism and efforts to overthrow it. From this point of view terror and violence against the citizens should be considered an abuse of power, rather than an act of terrorism.

The Legal Framework

Even if terrorism and its international dimensions have been defined already before the second world war in the “Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Terrorism”, dated 1937, by the League of Nations, it has never been adopted by any significant number of countries. The issue became pressing in the late fifties, after a series of attacks against civilian planes and it led to the adoption of three conventions on the subject: the 1963 Tokyo Convention on Offenses and Certain Other Acts Committed on Board Aircraft, the 1970 Hague Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft, and the 1971 Montreal Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Civil Aviation.

Other instances of terrorism, such as kidnappings, nuclear material security, bombings and the financing of these activities have been addressed only in the nineties by the Ad Hoc Committee on Terrorism (1996), after the Lockerbie case which pointed towards the direct involvement of the Libyan government and the harboring of Al Qaeda fighters by the Taliban regime of Afghanistan. The Security Council, mainly after 2001 September 11, focused on the financing of terrorism and adopted a series of sanctions and obligations aimed to freeze terrorism-related assets and funds. Also two kinds of funds have been identified: legal and illegal. The legal consist of donations of privates and various charity organizations, those illegal are funds obtained from an activity violating national and international laws such as drug trafficking, money laundering, smuggling or illegal arms trade.i A more detailed elaboration is the UNSC Resolution 1373 (2001) adopted during its 4385th Meeting on 2001 September 28th.ii This Resolution also established the Counter Terrorism Committee.

For the first time the term “terrorist financing” appeared in theUN General Assembly's seminal Declaration on Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism in 1994.iii States considered to have links to acts of terrorism are Libya (1992), Sudan (1996) and the Taliban rule in Afghanistan (1999 – expanded to include Al-Qaida in 2000 by resolution 1333) iv Iraq has been targeted in the resolutions 687, respectively 1441. Iran has been sanctioned by the U.S. After the hostage crisis in 1979 and its alleged involvement in the attack on the U.S. Marine base in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1984. The Resolution 1559 from 2004 has been adopted condemning foreign, mainly Iranian and Syrian presence in Lebanon. In the last years Pakistan is widely accused of harboring and financing mainly terrorist groups active in the Kashmir region.

The resolution 1269 mentions “terrorist financing”, but also by acts and omission such as sheltering, facilitating, funding, and failure to adopt reppressive measures, which is the task of state entities. Only states can shelter terrorists, while funding can originate from both state and private sector and not only direct financing can be viewed as “supporting” of terrorism. The 1999 International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism states it clearly. Although financing is broadly perceived as a significant link between a state and the sponsored terrorist group, the financing state not necessarily controls every step of the organization. Despite the state responsibility, the customary law remains unclear, whether a member state's right to self-defense would arise under Art.51 of the UN Charter. The issue here is if the act of financing a terrorist group may, for the purposes of Art. 51, equate the terrorist group with the aiding state. Probably the only example could be the U.S.-lead war on Taliban.

The Ideology: How to Export a Revolution

In the late 1970's the rule of the last emperor of Iran, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi faced growing opposition from many strata of the society: communists and leftist intellectuals, right wing nationalists, bourgeoisie, merchants and a part of the Islamic clergy. After the Shah resigned and left the country, the Islamists, who ultimately took the reins of power, defeated all the other fellow opposition groups, left and right-wing and even other Islamic groups opposing the principle of Governance of the (Islamic) Jurist, created by Khomeini. The opponents have been executed, incarcerated and murdered, in Iran and abroad, where they fled persecution. The Success of the Revolution attracted some positive reaction abroad among the Islamic nations of the Third World. The idea of exporting the Iranian Revolution came from the leader of the victorious faction of it, Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini. On many occasions he expressed this ideas and they have been gathered in a tiny book Sodour-e Enghelab az didgah-e Imam Khomeini (Imam Khomeini on Exportation of Revolution)v. In the preface to the English translation of it (the author at the moment of writing could not verify if it is present in the Persian original as well) there is an account of three possible ways of exporting the Islamic Revolution, and the fourth one, which is said to be of Khomeini.

The three visions are briefly the following:

The first was a passive, non-interventionist view, with virtually no active ambitions to export the revolution. It was concentrated on the prosperity of Iran only and aspiring to lead a conciliatory foreign policy, integrating Iran in the existing regional and global organizations and structures.

The second approach was radical and revolutionary, it viewed all official borders as products of the colonial era, called for their abolition and for violent overthrowing of the hostile nationalist, pro-Western or secular governments in the region. The final goal should have been a unification of the peoples under the flag of Islam.

The third approach was a combination of the first two. It strived to create a model Islamic society in Iran and at the same time “it contended that all revolutionary, legal or even violent, military methods had to be utilized in order to realize this aim. As for the world community the proponents of this perspective pursued a policy of peaceful coexistence concomitant with opportunism. They believed that wherever our national expedience and interest dictated, and the conditions were ripe, we could deal heavy blows to the dependent and autocratic regimes; if the conditions were not there, they would continue their policy of peaceful coexistence.”vi In the opinion of the present author, this description is probably the most fitting description of the current Iranian foreign policy. This “opportunism” and ambivalent attitude is in analyses frequently associated with the principle of taqqiya, or kitman in the Shi’a teachings. This principle, the dissimulation, even denial of one’s intentions and beliefs originated from the period when the Shi’a sect was forbidden and its members persecuted. Some analyst believe, that this principle is widely applied in Iran’s foreign policy, but it is quite disputed.

The fourth – quite idealistic – approach of Imam Khomeini is exposed in the book in a form of a compendium of his quotes and opinions expressed on other occasions. “The late Imam (S.A.) rejected as impossible and inappropriate the belief in a chain of revolutions through equipping and reinforcing guerrilla and underground groups, and through exhortation to setting bombs, staging assassinations and completely rejecting the existing regimes, which are unaware of the growth of popular movements.”vii It would consist of building an ideal society based on “noble” Islamic values, to serve as a model for other countries which would tend themselves to follow this example.

The general idea of the promotion of the Islamic Revolution in other countries on Iran’s expenses can be maybe summed up in this Khomeini’s quote:

The beloved people of Iran, who in the present era are truly the effulgent faces of Islam’s history, should try to accept the difficulties and hardships for the sake of God so that the high-ranking officials of the country would be able to accomplish their main task which is the promotion of Islam in the world.”

Sahif-e-ye Nour, Volume 21, p. 108, March 22, 1989viii

From the viewpoint of attacks staged or sponsored by Iran and its supported groups, it seems that Imam Khomeini’s opinion has not been followed, and the tendency towards military action and armed struggle gained much space in at least some of the ruling circles.

Apocalyptic beliefs and a vision of destruction

A particularly obscure religious sect, the Hojjatieh, engages the minds of many analysts who would like to highlight its apocalyptic beliefs and deep influence on the current ruling elite in Iran. Just for a short explanation: the Twelver Shi’a believe, that their last – twelfth – Imam Mahdi, a messianic figure, is gone into occultation and will come back at the end of times to rule in a better world. Some analysts believe, or want to believe, that this movement says that it is possible to hasten the arrival of Imam Mahdi, by escalating violence, triggering wars, killing many people and provoking chaos and bloodshed. Again this interpretation is very doubtful. Originally this group has been created during the last Shah’s rule to purge Islam from deviations, mainly Baha’ism and currently it is officially forbidden in Iran.ix

Iranian Organizations and Groups Accused of Financing and/or Supporting Terrorism

The IRGC – Guards of the Islamic Revolution, or Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, an mainly its Quds forcex are frequently connected with terrorism and supporting, arming, training and funding various militant and underground organizations in the neighboring countries. Except of a military organization, parallel to the conventional army, the IRGC is also one of the biggest owners of various industrial complexes and enterprises, banks and is one of the strongest and most important players in the country’s economy.

The Iranian intelligence apparatus is believed one of the strongest and it encompasses many operations against Iranian nationals worldwide. Until these days the dissent and opposition activists in Iran and abroad are closely monitored.

Foreign Terrorist or Militant Organizations Presumably Financed and/or Supported By Iran

In 2008, and surely she was not the only one who realized this after 2003, the analyst Barbara Slavin said: “There is no doubt that Iran's reach has increased considerably since 2001. Toppling Hussein and the Taliban eliminated Iran's worst enemies and allowed it to build on long-standing ties with Shiite co-religionists in Iraq and Afghanistan. Iran has benefited from the failure to resolve the Arab-Israeli dispute to forge new ties with Hamas and to deepen its relationship with Hezbollah.”xi
When we consider the nature and ideology of the new regime, established after the revolution in 1979, and the general socio-political pattern of the Middle East at that time, we can easily distinguish the places where Iran tried to gain influence and create affiliate groups and friendly regimes. Iran is an ethnically predominantly Persian, but, what is more important, the government, army and IRGC officials are all Shi'a Muslim of the particular “Twelver Shi'a” fraction which worships twelve Imams, historical religious leaders and in their opinion, the only legitimate heirs of Prophet Muhammad. One Christian and a Jewish Member of the Parliament are virtually of no importance. This religiously very homogenous society naturally looked first for countries or regions which had larger communities of people of the same religion. In places where they were not available, they addressed other sects, but still Muslim (Alawi, Ismaili, Sunni). And last, for political purposes they were able to put aside the limiting religious affiliations and built up alliances with countries religiously and culturally so different as the Communist North Corea, Lukashenko's Belarus, the leftist populist governments of Latin America, like Venezuela or Cuba.

Just months after the Iranian Revolution Saddam Hussein's army invaded the southern provinces and started the longest war of the 20th century, the Iran-Iraq war (1980-88). Even if Iraq, with its numerous Shi'a population would have been a good target for Iran, it proved fruitful only in the last years, after the fall of Saddam's regime. At the beginning of the eighties, Iraq was under the strong rule of Saddam, the Soviets invaded Afghanistan on the East, so Iran was squeezed between hostile powers. Lebanon proved the most fruitful soil for their masterplans. Roughly 27% of the Lebanese are Shi’a and on the south the country has been confronted on various occasions with the power of Israel, an outpost of Western culture and military power in the Middle East. The Iranians found in Lebanon the most committed fighters for their cause.

Maybe the most well-known protégé organization is Hezbollah of Lebanon. Hezbollah حزب الله , which means in Arabic the Party of God, has been founded in the early eighties with the help of Ali Akbar Mohtashemi, former Iranian ambassador to Syria and Lebanon and former Iranian interior minister. He said that “Hezbollah is part of the Iranian rulership; Hezbollah is a central component of the Iranian military and security establishment; the ties between Iran and Hezbollah are far greater than those between a revolutionary regime with a revolutionary party or organization outside its borders.xii Hezbollah's second most important commander, Sheik Naim al Qassem on the Iranian television said that Hezbollah acts under command of the Iranians in all military issues, including suicide bombings, rocket launches and other terrorist operations, and as their source of authority he named “al-wali al-faqih” (the ruling jurist) which is the title used by Khomeini and now by his successor Khamenei. Even the leader of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah stated that Iran is supplying the group. The weapons used by Hizballah are mostly of Iranian origin and they are occasionally seized by mainly Israeli or Turkish security forces on their way to Lebanon by sea, air or land.

Just for illustration, the Hezbollah flagxiii and the IRGC (Revolutionary guards) logoxiv and a picture from 2006 from the Iranian Parliament full of these yellow flags.xv

In the last decade since the invasion in Afghanistan and Iraq, Iran has been accused more times of meddling in the internal affairs of these countries, undermining the security and gaining allies among local powerful groups and figures. All Sunni-majority countries accuse Iran of fomenting sectarian violence by the Shi’a minority, in the last months Bahrain, to a small extent Yemen and Saudi Arabia, Iran’s main rival in the region. Saudi Arabia is very upset about the growing influence Iran has in the region and its nuclear program. It is also accused of helping the Syrian president Bashar Assad to suppress the opposition movementxvi, or also of paying people in cash to adhere to Shi’a sect.xvii

Iraq after the fall of Saddam is probably the best and most valuable target of Iran at the present time. The U.S. troops withdrawed only weeks ago and the still weak security apparatus of the new Iraq is not able to contain all Iran’s activities. Iraq has an estimated 65% Shi’a population and two of the most important Shi’a shrines, Najaf and Karbala, are located in Iran. Interestingly, in the same year as Hezbollah, in 1982, Iran created SCIRI, or Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. It was initially led by Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim in exile in Iran and aimed at overthrowing Hussein’s regime. After the US-led invasion to Iraq and Saddam’s fall, Baqir al-Hakim returned to Iraq and led the movement until his assassination in 2003, until now unclear if carried out on orders of Zarqawi and the Sunni fraction or a rival Shia group. Than the leadership has been taken over by his brother Abdul Aziz Al-Hakim, and finally, after his (natural) death by Ammar, his son. The underground movement became a legal party and its name has been changed to the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq and it became a very influential political party which run in the elections, until it lost the competition against Nouri Al-Maliki’s party. The armed wing of the party were the Badr Brigades, supported and armed by Iran, already since the Iran-Iraq war engaged in operations against Hussein and against the MEK or MKO, Mujahedeen-e Khalq, armed opposition group fighting against the Islamic regimexviii. After the fall of the regime, many of their members have been integrated into the new Iraqi armed forces, but they have been accused of violence against Sunni and other minority Iraqis.

The Mahdi Army of the cleric Muqtada As-Sadr has been accused of receiving Iranian aid, but the leading cleric says to be oficially opposed to Iranian influence in Iraq.xix

Iran is, or was, until some weeks ago, also the main supporter of the Hamas movement of Palestine. After the most recent events in Syria, when Hamas refused to back Bashar Assad’s regime against accusation of human rights abuses and killings of civilians, Iran cut its funding. Hamas complained that it didn’t have the necessary funds to pay the wages of the employees of the Palestinian Authority and in the last days it is urgently seeking a replacement for its main donor.xx

Acts of Terror perpetrated by Iran and by its proxies, alleged cases

In the past, the Iranian government carried out attacks on their arch-enemies abroad, usually dissidents and leaders of opposition groups. I should mainly mention the "Mykonos case". The attack happened on September 17, 1992 in Berlin's Mykonos restaurant and left four dead, Sadegh Sharafkandi, Fattah Abdoli, Homayoun Ardalan and their translator Nouri Dehkordi. To carry out the assassination, firearms with silencers were used, not a bomb. There were also other people in the rooms who were not targeted and survived the attack. Other attacks such as the assassination of former Prime Minister Shahpour Bakhtiar and his aide Abdul Rahman Boroumandi in Paris in 1991, Kazem Rajavi from the MEK (Mujahedeen-e Khalq, an armed opposition organization listed as a terrorist organization in some countries), Prince Shahriar Shafiq (cousin of the late Shah) and many others. All were killed quietly by a firearm, or stabbed, and the murders were directly targeted at them without unnecessary loss of lives. Bomb as a weapon was used to murder Bijan Fazeli, son of a well-known actor and regime critic. It exploded in a Persian video store in London.xxi However, a bomb attack in a public place with many casualties to remove one person is not typical for Iranians. Just to mention a significant fact: many of these attacks have been directly perpetrated by Iranian nationals.

Other kinds of attacks involved mostly Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad, its military wing, and were perpetrated by non-Iranian nationals. This has a very logical implication: in case the plot fails or the perpetrators are caught, Iran can distance itself from the attack. The main terrorist acts credited to Iran and Hezbollah are the U.S. Embassy and Marine barracks bombing in Beirut in 1983, the hijacking of TWA flight 847, the bombing of Israeli embassy and Jewish center in Buenos Aires in 1994 and the Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia 1996, even if the last one is frequently credited to Al Qaeda.

Some foreign nationals, most of them Americans, have been kidnapped, held hostage or killed by Hezbollah.

All these characteristics also point to a last plot blamed on Iran which is not very convincing: the alleged plot by Manssor Arbabsiar, an American citizen of Iranian origin to kill the Saudi Ambassador in Washington with the help of the Zetas, a Mexican drug cartel. The plot looks too unusual when compared to other Iran-orchestrated plots.xxii

The last kind of attacks, overtly perpetrated by Iran, are the attacks against foreign embassies. The siege of the US Embassy in 1979 ended up in a well-known hostage crisis when 52 members of the US embassy staff were held hostage for 444 days and a recent one from November 2011 against the British embassy which ended up in the departure of the British from Iran and expelling the Iranian diplomatic staff from UK. Various protest activities take place in front of various embassies in Iran, for example against the Muhammad cartoons in 2006.xxiii Despite the propaganda, that these protests are spontaneous, they are organized and have the approval of the security forces.xxiv


The research on Iran is not an easy task and it becomes very particular if we consider the ideology of the ruling establishment. To understand it really deeply it is not enough to apply the general schemes and rules of foreign policy and behavior usually applicable to other countries. To understand Iran it is necessary to understand its deeply intricate and heterogeneous ideological and religious structure, the Shi’a theology and the sectarian pattern of the Middle East. It is also necessary to understand the role of each of its strategic allies or “foreign branches”, which have a religious implication as well. Iran, side by side with the interest for hegemony in the broader Middle East region, built on a deeply rooted complex and memory of the ancient Persian empire, pursues a proselytizing revolutionary agenda, which is in many aspects similar to other political or ideological movements, like revolutionary communism, or extreme right wing militarist regimes, who during the history tried to find like-minded governments, export their ideology and expand their influence in the neighboring countries, frequently sponsoring hostile groups and influential individuals to undermine the current governments and provoke coups to install a puppet or a friendly government. The obtaining of financial means to pursue this kind of expensive foreign policy is also an important chapter to consider, mainly in the light of the efforts to manipulate the global prices of crude oil, still the main revenue for the government, despite sanctions. It might be supposed, that many verbal threats by the government are just aimed at raising the crude prices.

Another chapter is the government’s effort to silence the domestic and exiled opposition and control tightly the population.

Unfortunately the small scale of this paper does not permit us to analyze deeper the whole issue, but in general it is possible to assess the Iranian policy as a covertly militarist and expansionist one from its very essence. The government of the Islamic Republic does not refrain from financing militant groups and organizations and using them to support their aims in their complex and intricate foreign policy.

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ii “Security Council Unanimously Adopts Wide-Ranging Anti-Terrorism Resolution; Calls for Suppressing Financing, Improving International Cooperation”, UN Press Release SC/7185, dated 28/09/2001, accessed January 23, 2012.

iii GARes. 49/60, Annex II, op. paras. 4, 5 (Dec. 9, 1994);


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Ibidem p. 16-17


Ibidem p. 19


Ibidem p. 67


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