When it comes to the Iranian regime, there is plenty of evidence that they are trying to integrate themselves throughout the Middle East by any means necessary. Hezbollah in Lebanon, for instance, started out as a militia group funded by Iran and now it is a political party within the government. Clearly, the move was meant to increase Iran’s influence in that country and others have been infiltrated in a similar fashion.
For the U.S. under President Trump, the point of any efforts regarding Iran are meant to stop this insidious threat spreading out from the regime. On October 4, U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton said the U.S. strategy would include both military and non-military means to push back against Iranian-backed militants.
Sanctions Target Iran’s Ability to Fund Militias and Extremists
Iran is also being tied to the recruiting of ISIS. According to an article in the Times of India that was updated on November 12, an Indian sent back from Afghanistan disclosed the use of deportation camps in Iran by Indian recruits to ISIS. This group is seen as the preeminent transnational terrorist threat by the United States.
As a result, the sanctions by the U.S., which are meant to reduce Iran’s oil revenue to zero, are also by default going to reduce the funds available for Iran and its various militias. According to Bolton, Iran has been the world’s central banker of international terrorism since 1979.
The Iranian regime has also funded efforts to keep Assad in power in Syria, and also supported the Houthis in Yemen, which is now become a humanitarian crisis.
Yemen Houthi Defectors Share Iran’s Influence
Abdelsalem Jaber, a former information minister for the Houthis that switched allegiance to the internationally recognized Yemeni government, said that it is the right time for allied forces to complete the liberation of Yemen from Houthi control.
Meanwhile, the Trump administration is considering declaring the Iranian-backed Houthis as a terrorist organization, which could also include sanctions meant to bring the group in line with acceptable standards.
“Everyone knows they are terrorists and that they’re controlled by Iran, which itself is a ‘terrorist organization’, but until there is regime change in Iran, the Houthis, Hezbollah, Hamas, and others will continue to go about the business of committing acts of terror and disruption,” said Del Wilder, a counterterrorism specialist.
The Iranian resistance has continued to point out the role of Iran in the growing number of terrorist organizations and militias. They continue to advocate for regime change as the only way to achieve peace in the region and to have a global impact on terrorism.