The revenues of an Iranian-run global narcotics network is being transferred to terrorist organizations, London-based The Times newspaper quoted former Revolutionary Guard officials as saying on Friday.
According to the sources, members of the elite guard took over the Islamic Republic's drug smuggling industry, and are using the revenues – estimated to reach dozens of billions of dollars – to build a solid support base for global crime networks and terror organizations acting against the West.
report noted that hundreds of people are executed in Iran annually for drug smuggling and drug possession, as part of the administration's hard-line policy against narcotics. However, behind the stage, the Revolutionary Guard is engaged in an extremely profitable business that is fueled by the smuggling of heroin, opium and methamphetamines.
The report was published on the heels of a recent controversy surrounding the suspected involvement of the Revolutionary Guard's elite unit – the Quds Force – in the assassination attempt of the Saudi Ambassador to the United States.
Opium fields in Afghanistan (Photo: AFP)
Sources in Washington, who claimed that the Iranians planned
to blow up a New York restaurant while the Saudi ambassador was dining there, said that the narcotics ring leaders were also planning to expand their smuggling routes to North America.
The United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) identified at least one Revolutionary Guard commander directly involved in drug trafficking from Afghanistan through Iran,
the sources told The Times.
The Iranian sources named two other seniors officials who they claimed were involved in the smuggling ring, including the Revolutionary Guard's Tehran District Commander Abdullah Araqi, who is suspected of developing close relations with the eastern European underworld.
According to the report, the Iranians are using ships and planes to transport drugs to Albania, Bulgaria and Romania, and from there to western Europe.
"We were told that the drugs will destroy the sons and daughters of the West, and that we must kill them. Their lives are worth less because they are not Muslims," a former Revolutionary Guard member told the paper.
The revenues funneled from the drug industry, the sources claimed, ars used to fund various Iranian military projects, including the development of missiles and weaponry, but is mostly aimed at "exporting the Islamic revolution" – a code name for sowing imbalance in other countries by supporting radical Islamist factions, including Hezbollah,
the Islamic Jihad and Hamas.