The deputy commander of Iran’s elite Quds Force has said that the United States has failed to destabilize the Islamic Republic or undermine its interests in the region. “America, under the pretext of September 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,” Brigadier General Ismail Ghaani said at a ceremony commemorating the “martyrs of the defenders of shrines” – a term Iranian leaders use for Iranian forces and Iranian-backed militias fighting in Syria and Iraq. “They did not succeed in that plan. Therefore, they attacked Iraq and Syria so as to attack Iran from two fronts,” he continued with the conspiracy theory often repeated by Iranian military leaders. The Quds Force deputy commander added that the United States has spent more than six trillion dollars but has not been able to take any actions against the Islamic Republic. “America has suffered more losses from us than we have suffered losses from them,” he concluded.

Comment: The Quds Force is the elite branch of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (I.R.G.C.) responsible for external operations. Led by Major General Qassem Soleimani, the Quds Force has been implementing Iran’s hard power and often soft power strategies in the region – from South and Central Asia to the Middle East, North Africa and Latin America. In the past decades, the Quds Force has provided assistance to, and at times directly commanded, several militia and terrorist groups in the region. In 2007, the U.S. Department of Treasury designated the Quds Force for providing “material support to the Taliban, Lebanese Hizballah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC).” The Treasury has also designed Soleimani and Ghani for their support for terrorist groups in the region.