ANALYSIS: At 40, the Iranian Islamic Revolution gathers steam

Iran is building up its missile arsenal non-stop and it is worthwhile to take a look at what happened in Syria and Iran over the past month.

Yochanan Visser,

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
Reuters

The Islamic Republic of Iran celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution this week and if we’re to believe the Dutch New York Times reporter Thomas Erdbrink, Iranians came out in droves to celebrate the event.

The NYT reporter, who is married to an Iranian woman, has a habit of strolling around in Tehran like a tourist and talking to ordinary Iranians, who don’t dare to criticize the Islamist regime of Supreme Leader Ayatolah Ali Khamenei.

As a result, you will seldom read in the NYT what’s really going on in Iran and with its role in the world.

So, for example, if Erdbrink interviews regime clerics he’s careful not to ask tough questions. Instead he quotes them saying the Revolution has brought “freedom and evolution” and that there “few Iranians who do not like the clerics.”

If one really wants to know what kind of 'evolution' the Islamic Revolution has brought to the world, one should read a new report by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change called “The fundamentals of Iran’s Islamic Revolution.”

The report quotes the founder of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini who, in 1979, famously said: “The Iranian people’s revolution is only a point in the start of the revolution of the great world of Islam.”

Forty years later Iran has succeeded in exporting the Islamic Revolution and is increasingly forming a direct threat not only to Israel and the Sunni Arab states, but to the world at large.

“Western policymakers have severely underestimated the extent of Iran’s commitment to upholding and exporting 1979’s revolutionary ideology,” the Blair Institute writes in its report.

“Iran is as committed to exporting the Islamic Revolution today as it was in 1979,” according to the authors of the report who furthermore stated that the 2015 landmark nuclear deal did not achieve what the Obama Administration naively hoped for: A change in Iran’s behaviour.

“A determination to eradicating Israel is entrenched across the Iranian establishment,” the Blair Institute found, analyzing speeches by both ‘hard liners’ as well as so-called moderates like President Hassan Rouhani and Minister of Foreign Affairs Javad Zarif.

Rouhani uttered anti-Israeli and anti-American remarks in fifty percent of his speeches.

“Our analysis shows that (former president’s) Ahmadinejad’s and Rouhani’s political rhetoric is aligned and ideological,” wrote the authors of the report, who furthermore concluded that the Iranian leaders think they are entangled in “a clash of civilisations between the West and the Islamic world.”

They also confirmed that there is an Iranian “commitment to eradicate Zionism, with the view that Israel is an illegitimate, oppressive and usurping entity created in the heartland of the Muslim world to enable the West, in particular the US, to achieve its ‘colonial goals’ throughout the Islamic world.“

The Blair Institute found that there is “significant overlap between the Iranian regime’s Shia Islamist ideology and that of Sunni Islamist groups, ranging from the Muslim Brotherhood to ISIS.”

Indeed, Iran is working with Sunni Islamist terror groups such as Hamas and even the Taliban in Afghanistan to achieve the revolution’s broader goal, because the regime in Tehran thinks “all Muslims form a single nation” which should strive to bring Islamic governance to the nations of the world.

“Co-existence between the dar al-Islam (land of Muslims) and the dar al-Harb (land of the disbelievers) is impossible,” Iran’s constitution says and that is why the Iranian rulers strive to come to a form of pan-Islamism with Iran as its vanguard.

The authors of the report criticize Western leaders for focussing solely on Sunni Islamist terror and not on Iran’s large role in the unfolding Jihad against the ‘disbelievers,’ including Jews who’s religion significantly influenced the prophet Mohammed.

Under the rule of current Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, anti-Americanism has increased even when the Obama Administration appeased Khamenei’s regime in every way possible.

The Blair Insitute came to the conclusion that there are no moderate Iranian leaders and that “Iran’s vitriolic hatred of Israel has remained unchanged for 40 years,” with Khamenei as the most explicit exponent of this hatred.

The Iranian dictator bashed Israel in 90 percent of his speeches and constantly repeats his vow that the “Zionist entity” which he calls “a cancerous tumor” must be “eradicated”.

To achieve this goal the regime in the early 1980’s founded the Quds Brigade of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps - which in turn founded the ‘Golan Liberation Brigade’, a Shiite force of heavily armed fighters.

The Quds Force now has ten bases in Syria, according to the Blair researchers, and two of them are located near the Israeli border.

With this in mind, it is worthwhile to take a look at what happened in Syria and Iran over the past month.

Israeli military intelligence and the Israeli intelligence blog Intelli Times reported last week that the Quds Force is relocating part of its military infrastructure to the so-called T-4 air force base between Homs and Palmyra (biblical Tadmor) after countless Israeli airstrikes.

The T-4 base, however, has been the target of IAF strikes as well and is considered still within reach of the Israeli air force despite the deployment of the Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missile shield, delivered to Assad’s army at the end of last year and now operable, according to some observers.

Intelli Times reportedly discovered the Iranian move after it tracked a Syrian Ilyushin 76 cargo plane which was on its way from Tehran to Damascus but disappeared from the radar, leading the editors of the Israeli blog to determine the aircraft headed to T-4.

A couple of hours later the plane continued its usual flight route to Damascus International Airport.

The Iranians initially thought they could avoid IAF airstrikes on their facilities at the airport of Damascus by building them close to buildings in use for civilian purposes, but the continuing Israeli strikes on the buildings caused tensions with the Assad regime.

President Bashar al-Assad wants foreign airlines to return to Damascus and is feverishly working to restore ties with Middle Eastern and other governments after he won the 7 year-long civil war with Russian and Iranian assistance.

Assad’s brother Maher, who is considered close to Iranian Officer Soleimani, is reportedly helping the Iranians and their Shiite proxies with the relocation of the Iranian bases and weapon storehouses, and has allowed the construction of new Iranian missile facilities at Syrian army bases in the Damascus area.

One of these bases is home to the Fourth Armored Division of the Syrian army, commanded by Maher al-Assad.

The Iranians are working nonstop to expand their missile arsenal in Syria and are seeking to produce the Burkan-2H short-range ballistic missile and a new version of the Golan 1000 missile, which has a payload of 450 kilograms.

Local Syrian media on Sunday published new satellite images which delivered evidence of the construction of the new Iranian facilities at Syrian army bases and the reconstruction of missile facilities destroyed by Israel.

Aman, the Israeli military intelligence agency, last week reported Iran has decided to relocate the underground missile facilities it was building in Lebanon before they were exposed by Israel and subsequently removed by Hezbollah.

The Organization of Technological Industries (OTI) in Syria helped Iran and Hezbollah in circumventing US and European sanctions and is assisting Iran and Hezbollah with the development of precision-guided missiles in Syria.

On Monday, the IDF apparently discovered that the Iranians and their allies were again trying to set up camp near the Israeli border and launched a cross border attack on targets in the Quneitra region on the Golan Heights.

Syrian state-controlled media claimed IDF tanks shelled an abandoned hospital and a nearby observation post. There were no casualties, according to observers.

At the same time, Iran continues to expand its arsenal of mid-range and long-distance (nuclear-capable) ballistic missiles.

In the past few weeks, Iran unveiled or tested two new guided missiles which could be used in a future war against Israel.

On Saturday, the IRGC unveiled the Dezful surface-to-surface missile which has a reach of 700 kilometers, after successfully testing its new Hoveizeh cruise missile with a range of 1,330 kilometers.

IRGC commander Mohammed Ali Jafari unveiled the missile at a thus far secret underground ballistic missile facility dubbed “the underground city” according to Fars News in Iran.

“Displaying this missile production facility deep underground is an answer to Westerners who think they can stop us from reaching our goals through sanctions and threats,” Jafari reportedly said.




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