When John Bolton, a former US national security advisor, called on President Biden to authorize direct strikes on Iran in retaliation for the killing of 3 American troops, he was accused of being an uber-hawk. Bolton correctly identified the Iranian regime’s role in planning, financing, training and arming the Hamas extremists from Gaza who attacked Israel on 7th October. He said the IRGC was also behind the Yemen-based Houthi drone and missile attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea. He stated Lebanon-based Hezbollah attacks in Northern Israel were initiated by Iran, as were attacks on American military bases in Iraq by Iran-backed militias. He concluded that the killing of 3 US military personnel in Jordan at the end of January, by radical Iran-backed militant groups operating in Syria and Iraq, crossed a ‘red line’ and direct retaliation on targets inside Iran was now essential, to teach the mullahs a lesson. “They crossed one of our red lines,” he declared, “so we must cross one of theirs.”

The Iranian regime believes that fomenting conflict throughout the Middle East by using its proxies, whom it regards as expendable, allows it to disclaim any involvement in their attacks on Saudi, Israeli or Western targets. It is a well-practised form of deception. Biden ordered long-range bomber strikes on a series of strategic targets in Syria, Yemen and Iraq, but stated that he did not wish to direct his attacks on targets inside Iran, as he had no desire to trigger an escalating conflict with the mullahs. That message now seems to have subtly changed. Spokesmen for the Biden administration refuse to rule out direct attacks on targets inside Iran. In fact, they should publicly state that they back the Iranian opposition and its Resistance movement and recognise their right to overthrow the tyrannical regime in Tehran.

Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and their extra-territorial Quds Force are the main drivers and sponsors of all the mullahs’ Middle East proxies. Britain’s foreign secretary, David Cameron, has warned the Iranian regime they will be held accountable for proxy attacks and the UK has joined the US by sending Typhoons on bombing raids in Yemen. Cameron knows that the IRGC are the key architects of Iran’s aggressive warmongering. He knows the IRGC controls more than 70% of the Iranian economy and has enormous wealth at its disposal. He knows they’re answerable only to the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. And yet still he will not list them as terrorists. Why?

The IRGC was blacklisted as a terrorist organization by President Trump in 2019, but there has been a marked reluctance to follow suit by the EU and UK, despite the fact that they are planning and underwriting terrorist attacks in Britain and Europe. Once again, the clerical regime uses proxies to carry out its dirty work, paying criminal gangs to assassinate opponents of the regime. The gangsters and drug cartel Godfathers use IRGC sources to launder their money, helping the mullahs’ regime to overcome the impact of western sanctions. At the end of January, the US State Department and Treasury accused a notorious Iranian drug smuggler, Naji Sharifi Zindashti, of operating an assassination ring under the auspices of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS). They claimed Zindashti had hired two Canadians, one of whom was a Hells Angel, contracting them to murder 2 Iranian dissidents living in Maryland. Zindashti and his criminal network had previously been exposed in 2020 by Turkish intelligence as being behind a series of assassinations and abductions, including the kidnapping of Habib Asyud, an Iranian-Swedish citizen, who was abducted in Turkey in 2020 and executed in Tehran on May 6, 2023. 

According to the US Treasury Department papers: “The MOIS and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) have long targeted perceived regime opponents in acts of transnational repression outside of Iran, a practice that the regime has accelerated in recent years. A wide range of dissidents, journalists, activists, and former Iranian officials have been targeted for assassination, kidnapping, and hacking operations across numerous countries in the Middle East, Europe, and North America. The regime increasingly relies on organized criminal groups in furtherance of these plots in an attempt to obscure links to the Government of Iran and maintain plausible deniability”.

The US Drug Enforcement Agency has also offered massive $5 million rewards for information leading to the capture of Christy Kinahan Snr and each of his two sons, Daniel and Christy Jnr. They are the Irish leaders of one of the world’s biggest drug cartels, with a base in Kish Island, a tiny Iranian enclave 12 miles off the mainland coast, known as the ‘Pearl of the Persian Gulf’. They use the island to launder their billions in dirty drugs money and in return, carry out assassinations on behalf of the MOIS and IRGC. Kish Island is a Free Trade Zone, known as Iran’s Costa Del Sol and while women have to wear headscarves and traditional costumes, the paradise island has a more European feel, with alcohol served in hotels and restaurants and a huge coral beach for snorkelling.

Through these sinister links, the theocratic Iranian regime has been able to turn international organized crime networks into a political force that runs terrorist activities around the world, while circumventing transnational scrutiny and economic sanctions. The cartels’ involvement in illicit activities, including drug trafficking, money laundering, and arms smuggling, has provided the Iranian regime with a means to finance and supply its proxies like Hezbollah, Hamas, the Houthis and the Iraqi militias, bolstering their destabilizing agendas, promoting their ideological objectives and sowing chaos on a global scale. The mullahs also use these tactics abroad as a necessary distraction from the rising turbulence at home which threatens to overthrow their corrupt and vicious regime.

In November last year, the regime was behind the attempted assassination of the prominent Spanish political leader and former Vice President of the European Parliament, Dr. Alejo Vidal Quadras. Spanish police have arrested a number of people associated with the attack which left Vidal Quadras with serious facial wounds. However, the identity of the hitman described as a Frenchman of Tunisian origin, has not yet been revealed, although he is apparently also wanted for murder in France. Such an audacious attack in Europe, of a key supporter of the main democratic opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran, must surely force the UK and EU appeasers to think again. The IRGC must be blacklisted, and the West must show the mullahs that their behaviour will no longer be tolerated.