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IRAN:  Iran IRAN: Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard special forces participate in military maneuvers at an undisclosed location near the Gulf Sea 03 April 2006. (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)  

New report: Iran funds terror through counterfeiting, drug trade

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Reza Kahlili
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      Reza Kahlili

      Reza Kahlili is a pseudonym for a former CIA operative in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and the author of the award-winning book, “A Time to Betray.” He teaches at the U.S. Department of Defense’s Joint Counterintelligence Training Academy.

A report from the Green Experts of Iran, an opposition group with sources inside the Islamic republic, has provided details of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ connections to drug trafficking, money laundering and counterfeiting. The report confirms an interconnected web of criminal enterprises, run by the Guards and often facilitated by Iranian diplomatic consulates, intended to fund the Iranian military’s worldwide terror operation.

The Revolutionary Guards’ Mafia-like network in Europe has grown steadily since Iran’s 1979 revolution.

Last year the U.S. government designated Iran as a “Primary Money-Laundering Concern,” and imposed new sanctions on Iran’s energy sector.

And on Wednesday the U.S. government named Gen. Gholamreza Baghbani, a general in Iran’s elite Quds force — a branch of the Guards — as a narcotics “kingpin,” citing his career of facilitating heroin trafficking from Afghanistan into Iran.

The Green Experts of Iran report, written in Farsi, reveals a grand project by the Guards called “Time for the Collapse.” The Guards, according to this plan, intend to destabilize the West through terror, drugs and money laundering.

News media have widely reported that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in his power struggle with those loyal to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has talked of many secret ports across Iran that are used by the Guards for illegal smuggling.

About 17 months ago, the report states, members of a drug gang were arrested in Baku, Azerbaijan. Among them were two Iranians whom Iran’s consulate shielded from prosecution. But other members of the gang were citizens of Azerbaijan, Albania and Tajikistan. They confessed to their connection to the Revolutionary Guards’ drug network.

In connection with that arrest, the Green Experts report explains, modern counterfeiting equipment was confiscated — along with information that the Guards had placed similar counterfeiting operations on the borders of Russia and across East Asia.

That information, the report states, led to more arrests 11 months ago in Macau, an island protectorate of China, resulting in the seizure of high-quality forged U.S. treasury bonds. Those bonds, the report said, were already being easily transacted through regional banks, and arousing no suspicion.

Ultimately, authorities tracked the forged currency to a criminal network in Europe which was distributing large sums of counterfeit dollars and euros, in collaboration with the Guards, since at least July 2011.

Information from arrests in Europe showed that the Guards and the Iranian intelligence apparatus were involved in a major money-laundering scheme that involved the assistance of Iranian consulates.

The Green Experts report states that an organized-crime family in Albania has collaborated with the Guards for years, running a major money-laundering operation that sends fake currency into Europe. The Guards have been successfully recruiting mostly poor Albanians, sending them to Iran for intelligence and military training, and returning them to work for their European network.

Investigations have shown that one center for distribution of phony banknotes is an Iranian-affiliated company in Hong Kong.

The Revolutionary Guards’ illicit activities have expanded throughout Europe, including to England, Germany, France and, in cooperation with Italian Mafiosi, to northern Italy.