The deputy commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (I.R.G.C.) said on Monday that the influence and power of the Iranian-supported “resistance front” have now reached different parts of the world. “While the roots of the resistance were strengthened in Iran, its branches took shape in Eastern Mediterranean,” Brigadier General Hossein Salami told a gathering in Tehran. “Today, Muslims and mujahedeen are fighting the infidels everywhere,” he added – claiming that the worldwide “resistance” is an extension of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution. The I.R.G.C. commander also claimed that the “resistance” has helped Iran become a regional power and expand its influence around the world. “Today, America, Zionism and the Saudis have entered the field to isolate us, cripple our economy and destroy our culture. However, they have failed in all these fields,” he stressed. Salami praised the Basij forces and called on all centers of power inside Iran to support this “everlasting asset” and culture.
Comment: Iranian leaders use the terms “resistance front” and “axis of resistance” for non-state and sub-state militant groups that fight on Iran’s behalf in the Middle East – particularly against the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia and its allies. Most of these groups are Shiites, but Tehran also supports a number of Sunni militant groups such as Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The I.R.G.C. also provides support to the Sunni Taliban in Afghanistan, but Iranian leaders do not publicly admit Tehran's financial and arms support to the terrorist group.
While the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria is far from over, the Iranian-supported “resistant front” – a regional alliance of Lebanese, Iraqi, Afghan and Pakistani Shiites – has already shifted attention to force out the U.S. military from the region and to open a new front against Israel from southern Syria. Through its militia proxies, Iran is also aiming to carve out a land corridor to the Mediterranean to consolidate its gains and influence in Syria and Iraq and keep a strategic supply line running to Hezbollah in Lebanon. "The Zionist regime which once considered itself as secure is not secure now from Hezbollah's fire, and the revolutionary forces are able to create a hell for the Zionists in a short period of time," Salami said in March. Some Iranian-controlled Iraqi militia groups have also declared that they will fight Israel after the Islamic State is defeated in Syria.