By Jubin Katiraie
The Iranian government is using non-governmental organizations to recruit spies from Western countries, attract terrorists, and finance its fundamentalist policies because the NGOs are not subject to monitoring or financial audits, but the wicked scheme is so well-hidden that most of the world has no idea.
One of the most important NGOs in this regard is the “religious foundation” Astan-e Quds Razavi (AQR), which is the subject of a new report by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). The report, which can be read in full here, advises that the AQR:
- is one of four institutions not connected to the government that controls 60% of Iran’s national wealth, as well as the Executive Headquarters of Imam's Directive, Khatam-al-Anbiay Base, and Foundation of the Oppressed and Disabled
- has the biggest Islamic financial endowment
- is only answerable to the Supreme Leader
- is exempt from taxes, even though it employs tens of thousands of people, has 50 large companies, and owns lands estimated at roughly $20 billion, alongside its other possessions, including oil rigs, mines, aqueducts, and wells
The AQR also financed the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ (IRGC) New Horizon seminars and meetings that attracted former US Air Force intelligence officer Monica Witt to spy on her colleagues for Iran. The Iranian authorities also use foreign recruited spies to disseminate anti-People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) propaganda. It is worth mentioning that a US arrest warrant was issued for Witt back in February on 18 charges including espionage, fraud, aiding and abetting a foreign state.
AQR agents have also provided financial, material and logistical support to fundamentalist and terrorist groups over the past few years and these are only expanding.
#NCRI's report reveals how #Iran’s regime uses AQR Foundation,a key“religious foundation”to finance #terrorism, fundamentalism &particularly recruit professional spies and mercenaries w/out attracting any attention or being held accountable.#IRGCTerroristshttps://t.co/1rXE9p9TTZ pic.twitter.com/pLm0Rl8KOe— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) November 8, 2019
In January 2018, then-AQR custodian and current judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi met with Hezbollah leaders, including Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, in Lebanon. He also met with Akram al-Kaabi, the leader of the Iraqi Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba that September. While an AQR delegation met with Qais al-Khazali, leader of the terrorist group of Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq in Iraq this July.
The AQR also helps to fund terrorism in Africa, with AQR head of International Relations and Cooperation meeting with Hassan Abou Khalil, Hezbollah’s head of Western African affairs, in March 2018 to talk about recruiting more people from Africa, Syria, and Lebanon.
Simply, the AQR is the perfect epitome of the Iranian government, using domestic repression, terrorism and Islamic extremism and warmongering to expand its grip on power and attempt to bow the world to the mullahs’ whims. It is time they are sanctioned internationally.