By Pooya Stone
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard (IRGC), along with the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), poses a threat to Western and regional states. In addition to Lebanon and Iraq, the militias are also active in Germany. Experts even see them as a “risk of terror attacks.”
The IRGC is Tehran’s most important military unit, and it acts as a “Deep State.” This paramilitary unit was founded in 1979, in the wake of the Iranian Revolution. It reports to Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader.
The IRGC (known as Sepah or Pasdaran among Iranians) aims to maintain the ayatollahs in power and preserve the “Islamic Revolution’s” achievements and values abroad. According to experts, extremist militias loyal to Tehran pose a threat to western-aligned countries in the Middle East and act as the regime’s terror wing outside the country.
However, the wings of the Iranian militia extend far beyond the Middle East. According to reliable reports, in Germany, the IRGC performs its plans using secret agents, with the MOIS’s cooperation.
In 2018, German authorities raided the homes of ten suspected Iranian agents on orders of the federal prosecutor’s office. At the time, searches were carried out in Baden-Württemberg, North Rhine-Westphalia, Bavaria, and Berlin. German authorities identified the men as members of the Quds Brigades, the special extraterritorial unit of the IRGC.
In March of the same year, the district court in Frankfurt had to deal with a curious case. An Iranian was sentenced to seven years in prison for helping the Quds brigades produce counterfeit money and smuggle a money printing machine from Germany to his home country.
MOIS agents attempted to affect Germany’s policies in the Middle East and spy on Iranian dissidents.
In this context, in its 2019 annual report on the Protection of the Constitution published on July 9, the Bundesamt für Verfassungsshutz (BFV), the domestic intelligence service of the Federal Republic of Germany, wrote about the Iranian regime’s activities in Germany and other EU countries:
“Spying on and fighting the opposition movements and actors at home and abroad continue to represent the priority areas of work of the Iranian intelligence services. In addition, the facilities in western foreign countries collect information from the fields of politics, the military, and business and science.
“Iran sees itself as a regional power with a will to shape beyond its own borders. Further sanctions were imposed under the EU-Anti-Terrorism-Regime in 2019 due to suspected state terrorist activities of Iranian origin. The main actor in the activities directed against Germany is furthermore the Ministry of Intelligence (VAJA, mostly abbreviated MOIS).
“The MOIS’s main focus is on Iranian opposition groups active in Germany. In addition, intelligence activities at home and abroad demonstrate that the MOIS continues to be interested in clarifying foreign and security policy areas.
“As already stated in the Constitution Protection Report 2018, a diplomat accredited to the Iranian embassy in Vienna (Austria) was arrested in Germany on July 1, 2018, based on a European arrest warrant issued by the Belgian law enforcement authorities.
“As the full-time employee of the MOIS, he is accused of being the string-puller of a planned explosive attack at the annual meeting of the ‘Mojahedin-e Khalq’ (MEK) in Villepinte near Paris (France), on June 30, 2018.
“In this context, the Iranian diplomat led a Belgian couple of Iranian descent as agents and commissioned them to carry out the crime. The suspect was extradited to Belgium in early October 2018.”
The report added: “In addition to the MOIS, the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, which also operates in secret, is active in Germany.”
And about the regime’s cyber-crimes, the report said: “Iran’s potential to carry out cyber operations has increased significantly in recent years, which has led to increased activities by Iranian cyber actors against targets at home and abroad.”