The deputy commander of Iran’s notorious Quds Force bragged at a recent ceremony that his operatives have killed more Americans than U.S. troops have killed Iranian fighters.
Brig. Gen. Ismail Ghaani was referring to Iran’s major intervention in the Iraq war to supply Shiite militias with supercharged explosives that could penetrate U.S. armored vehicles. The Pentagon has estimated the Quds Force, an arm of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, killed 500 Americans that way.
“Americans have suffered more losses from us then we have suffered losses from them,” Gen. Ghaani said, according to an article by Admad Majidyar, director of the Iran Observed Project at the Middle East Institute.
Mr. Majidyar wrote that the boasting came at a ceremony honoring the “martyred of the defenders of shrines” — Iran’s term for the militias it financed and trained in Iraq to fight the Islamic State and in Syria to support President Bashar Assad.
An Iranian opposition group has accused Iran of committing atrocities in Syria, particularly in the city of Aleppo, where thousands died under constant attacks by Syrian, Russian and Iranian forces.
“This, of course, is not only a confession but also outright bragging about how the Quds Force murdered Americans in Iraq,” said Michael Rubin, a Middle East analyst at the American Enterprise Institute. “It was the Quds Force, after all, that smuggled in explosively formed, armor-penetrating projectiles into Iraq for insurgents to incorporate in improved explosive devices.
Gen. Ghaani repeated Tehran propaganda that America carried out the 9/11 attacks in New York and the Pentagon, not al Qaeda.
“America, under the pretext of Sept. 11 attacks, which it carried out itself, invaded Afghanistan and mobilized young Muslims and deployed them to Afghanistan so that they can later attack Iran,” he said.
The Quds Force leader contended that the U.S. has spent $6 trillion to curtail Iran, but failed.
The ceremony occurred amid Iranian expansion in the region, military moves financed in part by the 2015 nuclear deal with the U.S. The Obama administration lifted economic sanctions that freed billions of dollars in frozen assets and directly delivered $1.4 billion in cash.
Mr. Rubin writes in Commentary Magazine that the largesse prompted Tehran to increase the Quds Force budget by $300 million.
“Unilateral surrender in the name of diplomacy does tend to embolden enemies,” Mr. Rubin told The Washington Times.
Quds Force stands as the ruling mullahs’ expeditionary special operations force that, working with Lebanese Hezbollah, another Iran-created group, fought anti-Assad rebels in Syria.
Washington has renewed its sanctions war against Iran despite the nuclear agreement.
The Treasury Department last week imposed financial restrictions on Iranian companies involved in producing ballistic missiles. The Trump administration accuses the regime of violating U.N. resolutions forbidding such launches.
On Wednesday President Trump signed into law a new round of sanctions against Iran in a bill that also penalizes Russia and North Korea. Iran was hit because of human rights and ballistic missile violations.
Iran has filed a protest with the United Nations, saying the sanctions violate the 2015 nuclear accord, which the Trump administration begrudgingly acknowledged Tehran is following.
Mr. Trump has sent signals that there is evidence to find Iran in noncompliance at some point.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran, the largest opposition group to Tehran’s Islamic government, has presented evidence that Iran is violating the pact by working on nuclear bomb components at hidden sites.
The group applauded the new sanctions, which won large majorities in Congress. It especially noted the provision that places the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on the U.S.’ “specially designated global terrorists” list created by President George W. Bush after the Sept. 11 attacks.
U.S. citizens and companies can be penalized for doing business with the IRGC. The Obama administration did not consider the IRGC a terrorist organization.
“The expulsion of the IRGC and its affiliated militias from the Middle East, in particular from Syria and Iraq, is indispensable to the enactment of this law and a prerequisite to ending the conflict and crisis that have engulfed the entire region,” the National Council said.