Musa Ghazanfarabadi, head of the Tehran Islamic Revolution Courts, told religious students in Qom this month that his government could use foreign fighters to crack down on potential popular uprisings in Iran.
“If we don’t support [our] revolution, the Iraqi Hashd al-Shaabi, the Afghan Fatemiyoun [Brigade], the Pakistani Zainebiyoun and Yemeni Houthis will come and support the revolution,” he said.
Ghazanfarabadi was referring to Shiite militias from Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen that have been formed by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
These armed groups have played a major role in conflicts in Iraq and Syria, supporting the governments of both countries. In Yemen, the Iran-backed Houthis have been fighting Saudi-backed government forces for years.
Ghazanfarabadi’s comments have triggered negative reactions inside Iran and abroad.
Seyyed Mostafa Tajzadeh, an Iranian reformist and a former minister, was among the first politicians to denounce the idea.
“What damage did you do to the Islamic Republic so you’re asking help from other people to protect it, instead of seeking help from those who built it?” Tajzadeh said.
Some analysts say the Iranian regime is considering the foreign fighters backed by Tehran as a potential reserve force for emergency use.
Saeed Bashirtash, a Belgium-based Iranian affairs analyst, believes that the presence of IRGC-controlled foreign militia could threaten any national movement seeking democratic change in Iran.
“These trained, brainwashed Shiite fighters can become a strong arm for the theocrats of Iran against anything intimidating them,” he told VOA. “They could be used as a force to suppress and destroy any democratic movement in the future.”
Read more: VOA
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