14 February 2017
The following information has been gathered and documented by the social network of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) inside Iran. The revelations are made public by the National Council of Resistance of Iran – US Representative Office.
According to detailed reports from inside the clerical regime, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has created a large directorate in its extraterritorial arm, the Quds Force, in order to expand its training of foreign mercenaries as part of the regime’s strategy to step up its meddling abroad, including in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Bahrain, Afghanistan and elsewhere. The overhaul has occurred with the blessing of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who according to a senior adviser to the IRGC commander-in-chief and the directorate’s former commander, IRGC Brigadier General Khosrow Orouj, personally applauded its creation during a recent visit to the Quds Force.
The intelligence reports, gathered over several months by various sources of the PMOI’s network from inside different units of the IRGC, especially the Quds Force, indicate that this directorate has dozens of training camps across Iran. The camps have been divided based on the nationality of the trainees and the type of training. Both terrorist training and also military training for militias are provided, enabling them to better infiltrate and advance the regime’s regional objectives.
Every month, hundreds of forces from Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan and Lebanon — countries where the regime is involved in frontline combat — receive military training and are subsequently dispatched to wage terrorism and war. Smaller groups are also trained in other countries in order to conduct terrorist acts and operations. Since 2012, the extent of training of foreign mercenaries in IRGC-controlled camps of the Quds Force has increased.
For operations in countries where there is no open warfare – including Persian Gulf countries such as Bahrain and Kuwait – terrorists cells are trained instead.
The Quds Force Training Directorate (group) forms an important part of the terrorist Quds Force. In internal IRGC communications, the codename of the Quds Force Training Directorate is 12,000. The headquarters is located at the Imam Ali military base, at kilometer 20 of the Tehran-Karaj highway, Ardestani Boulevard, close to the end of Saravan Street. The site is comprised of a large complex housing several IRGC garrisons; the Imam Ali Garrison is situated in the southeastern quadrant. The area of the Imam Ali Garrison alone is about 10 hectares (350m x 330m), about 25 acres. The logistics section of the Imam Ali Garrison is located in another part of this complex, the so-called Mostafa Khomeini Garrison, and has a separate entrance and exit.
The Iranian resistance has so far identified 14 training centers belonging to the directorate.
Organization and Command:
The commander of the Quds training directorate is a veteran Quds commander who reports directly to Quds Force Commander, Qassem Soleimani. The group’s commander until 2015 – and for several years – was Brigadier General Rahimi. Before Rahimi, IRGC Brigadier General Khosrow Orouj held the position. Previously, Orouj was the IRGC commander in Lebanon, where he had a close relationship with the Lebanese Hezbollah. He participated in the 33-day war in Lebanon and was a friend of Imad Mughniyeh, a senior member of Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah.
In an interview in November 2016, Orouj said: “I was in charge of training for the Quds Force, and later took charge of training of the Quds Special Forces, working with them round-the-clock, going back and forth to Lebanon. … When Khamenei visited the Quds Force, the only unit that he applauded was that same training unit.” His remarks underscore Khamenei’s close relationship with this terrorist training initiatives, as well as Khamenei’s reliance on the IRGC to advance the regime’s agenda and objectives.
Brigadier General Seyyed Shafi Shafiee had been Deputy Commander of the training directorate starting from 2014. Prior to that, he was stationed in Syria. He was transferred back to Syria in 2016. He was killed in combat in the Khan Tuman area around Aleppo in May 2016.
One of the senior Quds Force commanders runs the training directorate, meaning that he is exclusively assigned to managing its affairs.
The Inspection commander is Massih Mohammadi. The Intelligence Protection commander is IRGC Colonel Bakhtiari.
Imam Ali Garrison:
In addition to housing the headquarters of the training directorate, the Imam Ali Garrison is one of its main training centers. There are two types of training: Basic and primary training, which is short-term, usually only about 45 days, because the objective of this regimen, especially for Syrian mercenaries, is to use them in military actions similar to those of the IRGC Bassij force.
There is also full military training with specialized courses for those who are hired by the Quds Force on a permanent basis. Terrorist training courses are given as well. These take about 9 and sometimes up to 12 months to complete.
– Terrorist training
In addition to the forces who are trained for military action as part of the regime’s overall meddling in the region, terrorist units of the Quds Force are also trained in separate and secret units and are dispatched to various countries in the Persian Gulf area, Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Individuals who are trained for terrorist operations are kept separately and in isolation. They have a separate suite inside Imam Ali Garrison that has a capacity to hold between 10 to 100 people. In most cases, terrorist training is given to teams of two people who are not in contact with other units of two.
In recent years, the IRGC has brought back a number of its agents from Latin America, including Venezuela, Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia, to the Imam Ali Garrison for training, leaving them in the hands of the Quds Force. These people were held in isolation and their presence and identities were kept top secret. The commander in charge of training for these forces is Colonel Tahmasebi.
Training at Imam Ali Garrison: All those forces who are supposed to be trained, initially undergo a body building boot camp for one week. The body building group is a training section whose commander is an IRGC commander named Mowlaee. Subsequently, specialized training is given in other training centers of the Quds Force. Upon completion of this period, all forces return once again to the Imam Ali Garrison, where a final exam and confirmation process is administered. In effect, the final recruiting is performed at this garrison.
– Different sections of the training directorate in Imam Ali Garrison
- Specialized training for heavy weaponry: The commander of this section, which is identified by codename 320, is Colonel Ali Mohammad. It has 3 sub-sections: drones, rockets, heavy weapons and heavy weapons maintenance.
- Missile launch training: This course has two sections, theoretical and practical. The theoretical training portion is carried out with the help of simulators. After completion of the primary course, forces go to Semnan base to receive practical training for firing missiles.
- Marine training
- Paratrooper training
- VIP Security training (also known as “Protocol”). The commander of this section is Colonel Ramky, who is from Amol in northern Iran.
– Composition of Trainee Units
In recent years, the largest contingent trained in Imam Ali Garrison came from Syria, and at some points may involve up to 230 trainees per session. In addition, the Quds Iraqi forces (Shia militias) go to this garrison to receive missile training. Mercenaries from other countries, such as Yemen, Lebanon and Bahrain, also receive training at this base.
Subsequent to the increased meddling of the Iranian regime in Syria, the number of training courses in Imam Ali Garrison has increased. Some of the mullahs from Qom’s Al-Mustafa Community were also trained in the garrison and subsequently sent to Syria. A large number of people from Bahrain also took training courses here.
In addition to Imam Ali Garrison, the Iranian resistance has identified the following training centers belonging to the IRGC:
Imam Ali Academy in Tajrish, Tehran – Theoretical Training
IRGC mercenaries are first sent to this center to learn theoretical courses promoting fundamentalism and terrorism, and subsequently sent to other centers for practical training. This site was previously the headquarters of the Quds Force training directorate and used for practical terrorist training. However, after it was exposed, it was divided into two parts, with one being transferred to the Imam Ali Garrison (mentioned above) and the other to Baadindeh Center in Varamin (mentioned below). The address for Imam Ali Academy is: Alborz Street in Tajrish, Saad Abad district in Northern Tehran, North of Saad Abad Palace.
Baadindeh Center in Varamin – Urban Training
Urban warfare and guerilla training, including riding motorcycles for terrorist operations, is provided at this center. Driving courses and various vehicle maneuvering courses are also provided. One of these exercises is related to freeing hostages, and is carried out inside buildings designated for learning and training. The commander of this center is an IRGC commander named Ebrahimi. The center is located 30 km south of Varamin in the Siah Kouh region. This center is considered to be in a protected IRGC area in the vicinity of a number of secret IRGC sites. A portion of the Quds training directorate was transferred to this area after relocation from the former location of the Imam Ali Garrison (in northern Tajrish). The site is codenamed 950. This section of the directorate primarily focuses on the provision of terrorist and urban guerrilla warfare training.
Malek Ashtar Camp in Amol – Survival Training
One of the Quds Force training centers is situated in Oscou Mahalleh in Amol on the way towards Imamzadeh Hashem, in Mazandaran Province. Here, trainees undergo courses on how to survive under harsh conditions in the wilderness.
Semnan Center – Practical Missile Training
Training on firing missiles, including Katyusha rockets, Falagh missiles, and others, is provided at this center to Quds Force agents who first complete theoretical training sessions using simulators at Imam Ali Garrison. For instance, a number of Iraqi forces went to this base in 2014 to learn how to use various types of missiles, including Katyushas. Semnan is the regime’s main missiles center, and is the location of the recent IRGC missile tests. This week, it also paraded its missiles at the site.
Mashhad Center – Focus on Training Afghan Forces
At this training center in Mashhad (northeastern Iran), identified by the code 4000, forces mostly made up of Afghans are trained in groups of 300. This center has contacts with the Ansar Corps of the Quds Force, which is responsible for eastern Iran and Afghanistan.
Pazouki Garrison – Focus on Afghan Forces to be Dispatched to Syria
This Quds Force garrison is located in Varamin (southeastern Tehran) near Jalilabad village. In each training session, 200 Afghans are trained for deployment to Syria. Infantry training includes: Kalashnikovs, machine guns, mortars, tactics, sniper, among others. All instructors are from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the Quds Force. After completion of the military training, trainees are assigned to the Fatimiyoun division. Each week, 200 to 300 fighters are sent to Syria. The garrison is located beside the IRGC Jalilabad base, and is a spin-off. Seyyed Mostafa Hosseini, a Quds Force commander, commands the Pazouki Garrison.
Lowshan Garrison – Special Training
This garrison is located near the city of Manjil bordering the city of Lowshan. The IRGC operates a large training base in this region called the Imam Khomeini base. A portion of the base has been provided to the Quds Force.
Chamran Garrison – Focus on Afghan Forces for Dispatch to Syria
This garrison is located 5 km from Jalilabad Garrison in the town of Pishwa in southeastern Tehran. At least 100 people take part in each training session, most of whom are Afghans residing in Iran and are trained for deployment to Syria. The commander of the Chamran Garrison is Colonel Hosseini Moqaddam. Individuals receive sniper, mortar, and tactical training at this location.
Telecabin Axis – Commando Training
This center is an active training center of the Quds Force in northern Tehran. It has contacts with the location codenamed 950 (mentioned above), and specializes in providing commando training.
Abadan – Diving and Marine Training
At this location in southern Iran, diving and marine training is provided.
Ahwaz – Marine Training
Also in Southern Iran, marine training is provided at this location
Qeshm Axis – Marine Training Courses
Also in Southern Iran, Qeshm Axis provides marine training.
This garrison is one of the training centers of the Quds Force located in southwestern Tehran. It serves as the rendezvous point for Afghan mercenaries before being deployed to Syria from the cities of Qom, Tehran and Delijan. Currently, 2,000 Afghans are sent to Syria from this site every week. Each group stays for as long as two months in Syria, after which they are replaced by the next contingent. An officer of the Quds Force by the name of Khavari is in charge of sending troops to Syria from Shahriar Garrison.
The locations described above are a representative sample of only a portion of the IRGC sites provided to the Quds Force, and which are tied to meddling activities of the IRGC in other countries of the region in recent years. The IRGC operates dozens of other similar bases and camps, especially located near the Iran-Iraq frontier, to enable it to interfere in Iraqi affairs. They have not been mentioned in this report.
As it has been made clear in the course of investigations of these locations, all of the centers and garrisons of the IRGC operated by the Quds Force are dedicated to this force for the training of mercenaries and foreign fighters. In addition to the Qods Force, other IRGC branches, including the ground forces, the marines, and the missiles unit also contribute to the regime’s regional interference, committing their forces, resources and weapons to ensure that terrorist operations are carried out and the regime’s plans to advance its agenda of warmongering and regional expansionism are realized. The scope of the IRGC’s casualties during the wars in Syria and Iraq clearly underscore this point.
Qods Force, an integral part of the IRGC
The distinction between the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and the Qods Force is unwarranted. The Iranian regime is the source of this separation to whitewash the atrocities perpetrated by the IRGC and its role in terrorism and intervention throughout the Middle East and beyond.
The Qods Force was formed in 1990. The Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Badr Brigade in Iraq and other terrorist entities affiliated with the Iranian regime were set up before the Qods Force was even established. It was the IRGC that was directly responsible for the creation of these terrorist entities. Indeed, the Badr Brigade was originally and officially a military branch of the IRGC’s ground forces and took part in different operations.
The Qods Force is part of the IRGC. Neither in the Iranian constitution, nor in the budget, is there any reference to the Qods Force as a separate entity.
The Qods Force is a military entity consisting of IRGC’s units and divisions as well as mercenary fighters IRGC has trained. In other words, the Qods Force is not an independent and autonomous entity and lacks independent fighting forces. For example, those identified as Qods Force units in Syria is in reality a brigade from the IRGC’s 19th Fajr Brigade, based in Shiraz. This brigade has been stationed in Syria for the past two years. Other Qods Force elements in Syria are mercenary forces from other countries.
Currently, the IRGC as a whole is involved in the wars in Syria and Iraq. The main fighting force is from the IRGC. And the casualties are essentially commanders of different IRGC ground force units, which makes it abundantly clear that the IRGC as a whole as well as its forces in different provinces are involved in wars and terrorism in different countries. Similarly, the IRGC’s navy and missile units are also involved. It is the IRGC which funds, trains and arms terrorist groups such as Hezbollah, Asa’eb Al Ahl-Haq and Kata’eb in Iraq.
In essence, the IRGC is the pillar that preserves the ruling religious dictatorship in Iran, by engaging in domestic repression, external terrorism and nuclear weapons and missile production.
As far as the domestic scene is concerned, the IRGC has four tasks:
- The Ground Forces have been restructured into provincial forces so that it could prevent the outbreak of popular uprisings.
- It has set up the Khatam al-Anbia Garrison and its affiliated companies to control the nation’s economy.
- Through the IRGC’s Intelligence Directorate, its Cyber Army and the Bassij, the IRGC controls social networks and arrests social media users.
- Through its Counter-Intelligence Directorate, the IRGC controls the regime’s officials and personnel, and even arrests them.
As regards the nuclear weapons program, since 1984, the IRGC has sought to procure or manufacture nuclear weapons through the IRGC’s research center. This center later evolved into SPND, which is headed by Brig. Gen. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. The IRGC is working to produce Shahab missiles, which is nuclear warhead capable. It has engaged in repeated tests to this end.
As regards to exporting terrorism and warmongering, the IRGC is involved in military and terrorist intervention in regional countries. It organizes terrorist networks and conducts terrorist operations throughout the world.
Location of 14 IRGC Terrorist Training Camps Around Iran
Location of 8 IRGC Terrorist Training Camps in Tehran
Imam Ali Garrison:
IRGC’s Main Terrorist Training Camp for Foreign Nationals
Imam Ali Academy:
IRGC’s Theoretical Training Camp for Foreign Nationals
Located north of Saad Abad Palace, Alborz Street in Tajrish, Northern Tehran, IRGC mercenaries are first sent to this center for theoretical courses on fundamentalism and terrorism, and then sent to other centers for practical training. This site was previously used for practical terrorist training, but after it was exposed, practical military and terrorist training regimens were moved to the Imam Ali Garrison.
IRGC’s Special Training Camp for Foreign Nationals
IRGC has a garrison near the city of Manjil, near the town of Lowshan; a portion of this garrison is provided to Qods Force for such training purposes.
IRGC’s Training Camp for Afghan Nationals
At this garrison, in each session, 200 Afghans are trained for deployment to Syria and assigned to the Fatemiyoun Division. Infantry training includes: Kalashnikovs, machine guns, mortars, tactics, sniper, and others. All instructors are from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and the Quds Force.
IRGC’s Urban Warfare and terrorist Training Camp for Foreign Nationals
Urban warfare and terrorist training, including use of motorcycles for terrorist operations, is given. Driving courses and various vehicle-maneuvering courses are also given in this center. One of these exercises is related to freeing hostages, and is carried out inside buildings designated for learning and training. The commander of this center is Ebrahimi.
In the Media:
- Blasting News: Iranian Dissident Group Urges FTO Designation for Revolutionary Guard
- Brietbart: Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps Expands Terrorist Training Camps Nationwide
- Fox News: Opposition Group Claims Iran Sponsoring New Terror Training Camps
- Fox News: Trump May Give Terror Label to Iran’s IRGC
- Orient Net: NCRI Discloses Terrorists’ Training Camps in Iran
- Washington Examiner: Iranian Dissidents Warn IRGC is Expanding Terrorist Training
- Yahoo News/PRNewswire-USNewswire: NCRI-US: Iranian Resistance Builds Case for Terror Listing of Revolutionary Guards