Imam Hossein University, a U.S.-designated Iranian military institution affiliated with the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (I.R.G.C.), sends its commanders and instructors to “proxy battlefields” and “resistance fronts” to gain practical experience in asymmetric warfare tactics and strategies, a senior Iranian military official revealed on Tuesday. “Last year, our educational headlines changed to proxy war, albeit with the exception of war with America,” said Brigadier General Hamid Abazari, the lieutenant commander of Imam Hossein University. “We dispatched a number of commanders and teachers of Imam Hossein University to the resistance front to become familiar with proxy battlefields. Some of them were deployed to this mission once and others on several occasions. And this has had a great impact on the quality of their work and training,” he explained in an interview with I.R.G.C.-affiliated Tasnim News Agency.

He further argued the “nature of threats is different today” and that a commander of the I.R.G.C. has to be well-trained in all kinds of warfare tactics and strategies to counter internal and external threats. Based on guidance of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, he noted, the university is educating and training I.R.G.C. commanders in theory and practice of hard, semi-hard and soft wars as well as the concept of strategic depth. “In hard wars, for example, we aim to train individuals who can fight in a real war, meaning that they can deploy to today’s battlefield – which is a proxy war – whether it is inside the country or any place that Sepah and the regime deem necessary.”

Asked about I.H.U.’s relations with educational and training institutions of other Iranian security agencies, Abazari said the university sometimes benefits from expertise of other institutions affiliated with the Intelligence Ministry and other security agencies, but added that the scope of cooperation is limited. No students from the country’s regular army or police forces are currently enrolled in Imam Hossein University, he added.

Comment: I.H.U.’s key mission is to train capable commanders and high-ranking managers for the I.R.G.C. The university has more than 10 colleges and research centers in the areas of defense science, engineering, information technology, passive defense engineering, electronic warfare and cyber science, among others. Officials of the International Atomic Energy Agency (I.A.E.A.) have alleged in the past that civilian Iranian scientists teaching at I.H.U. run secret nuclear activities.

Last year, a senior I.H.U. official revealed that the university had dispatched about 100 of its members to Iraq and Syria on “advisory, training and military command missions.” He noted that some of them had returned while others remained in the two conflict zones to assist the “resistance front” – a term Iranian leaders use for its regional proxies.

The U.S. Department of Treasury designed Imam Hossein University in 2012 because it is “owned or controlled by the IRGC and for providing, or attempting to provide technological, or other support for and services in support of the IRGC.”

I.H.U. was established in 1986 by Mohsen Rezaei, who served as the I.R.G.C.’s chief commander between 1981 and 1997. The first commander of I.H.U. was Mehdi Mousavi Zare and the current chairman is Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Hassani-Ahangar.

Abazari has served as the deputy commander of the university for the past six years. Previously, he ran I.R.G.C. Navy’s educational and training institutions. He also currently heads I.H.U.’s “jihadi training” branch.