As part of the nuclear agreement with Iran, U.S. President Trump noted at a recent press conference that “[the U.S.] gave Iran $150 billion and $1.8 billion in cash.”
A substantial portion of that money was used to fund global terror. Just how far Iran’s tentacles reach and to what end was evident in a news item today that most likely didn’t hit the front pages: Morocco announced that it was severing ties with Iran over Tehran’s support for the Polisario Front, a separatist movement in the Western Sahara.
Western Sahara, which borders Morocco, is a disputed territory since Spanish colonialists left the area. It was annexed by Morocco in 1975. Politics aside, the fact that Iran has sent its Lebanese lackey, Hezbollah, into Morocco to train and arm guerrilla fighters to foment dissent against yet another large and relatively moderate Sunni Arab country is both telling and disconcerting.
Iran’s foray into Africa is well known. In Senegal, Iran tried the same thing, until they were expelled in 2011 for transferring weaponry to rebels in the country’s south. In Eritrea, Iran moved into the vacuum created by the post-Cold War withdrawal of both the U.S. and the Soviet Union.
In Sudan, Iran occupied a military facility in Khartoum, using it as a base for storing weapons and providing cover for both the Iranian and Syrian chemical weapons programs.
Back in 2010, Nigeria seized the largest shipment of Iranian weapons in Africa’s history when they impounded a ship containing crates of rocket launchers and heavy mortars in the port of Lagos. In 2013, a Hezbollah cell was uncovered in Kano.
The list continues. Iran is heavily invested in South Africa, which is considered a beachhead for the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, Iran’s military force that reports directly to the “Supreme Leader,” Ayatollah Khamenei, himself. A 2006 cable exposed by Wikileaks says Iran smuggled Congolese uranium through ports in Tanzania. In 2011, Iran signed a uranium agreement with Zimbabwe.
And we haven’t even talked about Latin, Central and South America.
The point is that Iran is in for the long game. And that game is not just about creating a Shiite crescent from Iran to Lebanon in the Middle East. Iran’s aspirations go much further: to be a global power (actually, the global power) that can challenge the United States on all fronts.
Cancelling the current nuclear deal with Iran and imposing crippling sanctions on the Islamic Republic can go a long way to stymie these “aspirations.”
When President Trump makes his decision on May 12, he needs to keep the long game in focus.