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The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Engages in Smuggling
By Dr. Nimrod Raphaeli

The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC), also known as Pasdaran, was created in 1979 by Ayatollah Khomeini to defend the Islamic revolution from both foreign and domestic enemies, and to assist the ruling clerics in the day-to-day enforcement of the government’s Islamic codes and morality.

IRGC has, over the years, developed its own land, air and sea forces and was given responsibility for Iran’s missile and nuclear programs. Through its al-Qods Brigade, the IRGC supports terrorist organizations, such as Hizbullah and Islamic Jihad, with weapons, money and training. It provides similar support to the Iraqi Shi’ite militias. In August, 2007, the United States decided to designate the Revolutionary Guards as a “specially designated global terrorist”, which would allow Washington to target the group’s business operations and finances.

The Pasdaran established itself as an economic force, launching a vast array of financial and economic enterprises. These enterprises were designed to ensure the force’s financial independence and, at the same time, provide it with the wherewithal to finance its terrorist-related activities outside the country. Through both legitimate and illegitimate business the force has become a powerful economic force in the Islamic Republic.

Smuggling is a major activity of the Revolutionary Guards and an important source of lucrative income. In various articles, we have highlighted in the past the protection the Revolutionary Guards have provided to oil smugglers from Iraq to Iran. Using a variety of rickety boats the smugglers have been responsible for the thorough pollution of Shatt-al-Arab, the major waterway which separates Iraq from Iran, and which was historically a major source of water for both drinking and irrigation.

The five photos published below were made available exclusively to www.memrieconomicblog.org by a visitor to Khasab Harbor in the Sultanate of Oman over the weekend. They dramatize just one aspect of the smuggling activities of the Revolutionary Guards. The speedboats seen in the photographs are the kind that were used in the kidnapping of British sailors and marines in Shatt-al-Arab in 2007 or the reckless harassment of three US warships -- cruiser USS Port Royal, destroyer USS Hopper and frigate USS Ingraham.

Speed boat in the distance crossing the Strait of Hormuz.

Boat with its cargo of goats slows down approaching Khasab Harbor.

Goats are seen clearly in the hull of the speedboat.

Unloading of goats from the speed boat.

Goats loaded into trucks.

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