New Study: A Regional Reality Check about Iran as the P5+1 Meet

As the P5+1 group meets with Iran this week in Iraq, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) release a new study entitled, Iranian influence in the Levant, Egypt, Iraq, and Afghanistan, in which co-authors Frederick W. Kagan, Ahmad K. Majidyar, Danielle Pletka of AEI and Marisa Cochrane Sullivan of ISW warn that,

"The most important conclusion this study can offer is the growing importance of evaluating Iranian strategy in any one area within the context of Iranian strategy as a whole. One of the greatest mistakes the United States can make is to imagine that Iranian activities in a given arena--the nuclear program, for example--are isolated from Iranian undertakings in another."

Did you know?:

Syria

  • Iran agreed to finance a $23 million Syrian military compound at Latakia airport in order to transport weapons from Iran to Syria via transport planes. The facility will reportedly be manned by a joint Syrian-IRGC team. (Page 24)
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  • Since 2008, Iran has sponsored dozens of Shi'a theological centers (hawzas) as well as Iranian cultural and educational centers in Syria. (Page 27)
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  • In 2009, Syria received a total of $1.467 billion in total foreign direct investment in 2008, of which $1 billion came from Iran. (Page 29)
 


Hezbollah & Hamas

  • Iran donated $600 million in "election financial aid" to Hezbollah to help the party's prospects in the 2009 parliamentary elections. (Page 39)
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  • In 2008, 800 Hamas fighters underwent extensive training with the IRGC in Iran and Syria. (Page 43)
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Afghanistan

  • Iran's economic activity in Afghanistan has grown significantly over the past three years. Iran's exports to Afghanistan increased from $800 million in 2008 to more than $2 billion in 2011, and the two sides aim to further enhance bilateral trade to $6 billion in coming years. (Page 80)
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  • Iranian companies are implementing 110 technical-engineering projects in Afghanistan worth $360 million. More than 2000 private Iranian firms are operating across Afghanistan, and the number is growing. (Page 80)
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  • Iran provides direct monetary assistance to the Taliban. Documents seized from the Taliban's Kunduz headquarters show the insurgents received "interest-free loans" from Iran's National Bank to finance their operations. (Page 84)
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  • More than 3,000 out of 5,630 Afghan citizens jailed in Iran are facing execution. Iranian and Afghan opposition media claim many were jailed for allegedly aiding the 2009 antigovernment protests. (Page 86)
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  • In 2010, Afghan President Hamid Karzai publicly acknowledged accepting about $2 million in direct annual cash payments from Iran. (Page 86)
 

The authors are available for interviews and can be reached at:

Frederick W. Kagan, Director of AEI's Critical Threats Project:[email protected] or through [email protected] (202.828.6035)

Ahmad K. Majidyar, AEI Senior Research Associate: [email protected] (202.862.5845)

Danielle Pletka, AEI's Vice President for Foreign and Defense Policy Studies: [email protected] or through Alex Della Rocchetta at [email protected] (202.862.7152)

Marisa Cochrane Sullivan, ISW Deputy Director: [email protected] (202.293.5550 x215)

For media inquiries or additional help, please contact Jesse Blumenthal at [email protected] (202.862.4870)

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About the Author

 

Danielle
Pletka

 

Ahmad K.
Majidyar

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