As Iranians suffer, the regime funds terror

Iran’s regime continues funding terrorist activities abroad, even as Iranians struggle to buy bread, yogurt and other necessities back home.

The Iranian government spent $6.4 billion last year on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps–Quds Forces (IRGC-QF), a U.S.-designated terrorist organization that supports Hezbollah, Hamas and other foreign terror groups, and plots attacks in Europe.

Animated image of citizens looking at dry faucet and terrorist with faucet streaming money (D. Thompson/State Dept.)
(D. Thompson/State Dept.)

Iran’s economy shrank nearly 5% between March 2018 and March 2019, while inflation jumped from 23% to 35% in the same period, making it harder for ordinary Iranians to make ends meet. The cost of vegetables, for example, shot up 155% in April, compared to the previous year, and meat prices went up 117%, according to published reports. Yet Iran hasn’t stopped exporting terror.

“This regime, unlike most regimes in the world, uses oil revenue to support terrorism and to fund terrorist organizations and to fund its missile program,” U.S. Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook said in August.

The U.S. recently designated four men for helping the IRGC-QF fill the coffers of Hamas. “These facilitators funneled tens of millions of dollars from Iran’s Qods Force through Hizballah in Lebanon to HAMAS for terrorist attacks originating from the Gaza Strip,” Treasury’s Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Sigal Mandelker said August 29 when the sanctions were announced.

In recent years, IRGC-QF terror plots have been disrupted in many countries, including Germany, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Kenya, Bahrain and Turkey. And the regime has funneled at least $16 billion since 2012 to the Assad regime and other proxies in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

More spent on repressing Iranian people

Despite the shrinking economy, the regime is upping spending on repression. Its 2019–2020 draft budget gives Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence, which monitors and represses Iranians, a 32% increase, reports the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD), a Washington think tank.

In 2018 the regime also increased by a whopping 84% funding for its Law Enforcement Force that polices Iranians, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), a think tank in London. The boost in domestic security follows protests that faulted the regime’s economic mismanagement and IRGC funding.

Saeid Golkar, a Middle East expert and political science professor at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, said increasing domestic security forces during hard times is standard procedure for oppressive regimes that look out for only themselves.

“The ordinary people have not been important, are not important and will not be important for the Islamic Republic,” Golkar said. “Focusing on military — that’s the first policy you have to follow, because you need [the military] to suppress the people.”