Left: Iran‘s supreme religious leader Ayatollah Khamenei tweeted a warning to the U.S. on Saturday, July 25, 2015, with an image of President Obama with a gun to his head. The tweet said: “We welcome no war, not do we initiate any war, but If any war happens, the one who will emerge loser will be the aggressive and criminal U.S.” (Image: Twitter, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei)
- Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, stressed that Iran would continue to support the Palestinians, Yemenis, Syrians, Iraqis, Bahrainis and Lebanese even after the nuclear deal had been signed. (That is, Iran will continue supporting terrorist organizations and th Iranian-sponsored Shi’ite militias operating in those countries.)
- Two high-ranking Iranian officers were killed in Syria; a Basij operative was killed in Iraq.
- The commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps – Qods Force (IRGC-QF) called Iran’s support for Syria “a supreme religious obligation.”
- The visit paid by senior Hamas official Khaled Mashaal to Saudi Arabia was severely criticized by Iran.
Senior Iranian Officials’ Statements on Iran’s Regional Involvement
- Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, delivering an Eid al-Fitr sermon, said that whether the nuclear deal were approved or not, Iran would not stop supporting its regional friends. He claimed Iran would always support the Palestinian people, Yemen, the Syrian government and people, Iraq, the people of Bahrain and the fighters in Lebanon and Palestine (Fars News Agency, July 18, 2015). In protest, Bahrain summoned the Iranian chargé d’affaires in Manama to clarify Khamenei’s remarks (Press TV, July 19, 2015).
- Ali-Akbar Velayati, advisor to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei for international affairs, said in a newspaper interview that he did not expect Iran to change its regional policies after the nuclear deal. Iran, he said, was determined to continue supporting Iraq in its struggle against the terrorism threatening all the countries of the region and the countries of the West as well. He noted that Iran’s support of the peoples of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen was a humanitarian and Islamic duty. He added that fighting terrorism beyond the borders of Iran was vital for ensuring Iran’s territorial integrity and political life. The fight against terrorism and the struggle against American and other foreign intervention in regional affairs was, he claimed, part of the Iran’s strategic mission. He also claimed the United States had recently approached Iran to request talks about the developments in Syria and Yemen, but that Iran had denied the request (Fars News Agency, July 21, 2015).
- On July 22, 2015, the Entekhab website reported that during the nuclear talks held between Iran and the P5+1, Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister, had defended the IRGC’s regional activities, rejecting Western criticism of actions taken by the Qods Force and its commander, Qasem Soleimani. According to the report, Zarif told Western representatives that if Soleimani had not stood up to ISIS and other Islamic extremists in Syria and Iraq, today the West would be facing a different situation in many cities in both countries.
Iranian Religious and Propagation Activities around the Globe
- Rabani Nasab, a cleric from the religious seminary in Qom, paid a visit to Indonesia for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. He gave a lecture on Shi’ite subjects in the city of Cirebon during a visit to the home of Mohammad Alkaf, a senior Shi’ite in Cirebon and author of Islamic books. Nasab also engaged in religious propagation in the city of Kuningan (Hawza News, July 16, 2015).
- The Islamic Studies Foundation, which disseminates Islamic and Iranian culture in Russia, recently organized an exhibition of books in a mosque in the city of Ufa, the capital of the Republic of Bashkortostan. The exhibition, held for Eid al-Fitr, featured 70 books on Islamic subjects and Iranian novels translated from Farsi (Hawza News, July 22, 2015).
- The conservative Fars News Agency launched a new weekly magazine in Kyrgyzstan Russian. On July 22, 2015, Fars announced that its offices in Bishkek, the capital city, had published two editions so far. The magazine is called “Iran, the News of the Week in Review,” and deals with Iranian politics, the economy, culture science, and social issues covered by Fars News Agency.
* The full report is available on The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center