Iranian regime had always the intention to expand

June 29, 2018

On Friday, June 29, 2018 a symposium held in Roissy-en-France organized by the Foundation for Studies on the Middle East (FEMO) on the prospect for change in Iran.

On this occasion, during four different discussion panels, numerous speakers (researchers, diplomats, editorialists and military) shared their analyses on the current political and social situation as well as on the future of the Iranian regime and the nature of future diplomatic and commercial relations with Iran.

The second panel  titled : Iranian revolutionary guard corps (IRGC) and Interference in the Region

Mr. Walid Phares an expert on terrorism and Middle East affairs was the moderator. After he introduced evey one on this panel, he added: 

Before we start the panel I'd like to say a couple things about my little experience that's going to help me field the questions or actually ask the panelists to address those issues. I am now in the United States but I was born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon. My first contact with Iranian studies was as old as 1987 when I published a book in Arabic on the rise of the Islamic Republic of Iran1987, many people were not born when that book was published-in which I projected that eventually because of the ideology, ideology as a genesis by itself, the Iranian opposition knew that before all of us, but we started to realize that the Iranian regime because of its initial ideology to which it would add geopolitics and economics and ambitions, originally will tend to expand in the region. It was in the DNA. And the book was not read in the West because it's in Arabic, but it's available at the Library of Congress.

After I emigrated to the United States, my first academic article was published in the Journal of Global Affairs in Washington, D.C., and I titled the Iranian-Syrian axis, 1991 in which I projected after the collapse of the soviet Union that now more than ever, then that would be 28 years ago, the Iranian regime is going to try to expand. It did so already in the '80s via the same organization we are going to be commenting about, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard-let's call it the Pasdaran-into Syria, and from Syria, into Lebanon via Hezbollah. But one remark I made at the end of the article that was a decade before the Iran war that Iran and the Syrian regime have a plan for Iraq. No matter what, at one point in time in history they want to link geopolitically and create that bridge, the land bridge that everybody now is talking about.

Walid Phares
Walid Phares

Finally, third point in the history of my research, it was after the American invasion of Iraq, the fall of Saddam Hussein, and attempts by the United States to help the Iraqis recreate a more democratic Iraq. The way the Iranian regime behaved in Iraq from day one all the way to the day we withdrew from Iraq, it was aimed at controlling Iraq, under the American management since the departure of the American forces. It was very logical from day one. So along this whole region the Iranian regime always had ambition to become regional. And in the center of which you have the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. Last but not least, as of 2010, as we start hearing about incidents out of Sana'a in the north of Yemen, while the American media, the international media, didn't even know where Sana'a was, we realized that this is an Iranian regime project which eventually years later hooked up with the Houthis and the rest is history as you know it. so this panels is going to be addressing from different angles extraordinary experiences, the expansion of the Pasdaran in the regional as the central force for the Iranian regime in trying to create the much wider sphere of influence. And I can tell you, but that's not our panel, that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard has projects around the world, as United States Congress hearings and our agencies' analysis have established, all the way to Africa, all the way to Latin America, and East Asia as well.