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The IRGC's push into Peru

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  • The IRGC's push into Peru

    The Islamic Republic of Iran, represented by elements and individuals linked to the IRGC and answering to Ayatollah Khamenei, are building on their success elsewhere in Latin American, with a move into Peru. This has been going on for two or three years, and involves known IRGC operatives, local recruits, training/indoctrination trips to Qom, the bank rolling of local political organizations, and the establishment of an Iran-Peru "cultural" mission. All this activity is enabled by ascendent socialists of the Bolivarian type, both civilians and in the military. Recruitment activities are largely focused on, and conducted under the cover of, organizing and aiding indigenous people who self-identify as Incan (mostly Quechua). Last December - February saw the first group of recruits travel to Iran for two months. As of September 2012 efforts were being made to organize a second trip.

    [Update: 2013-01-21 - See also, these newer, and related threads: Another of Khamenei's sites targeting Latin America

    IRI recruitment and support activities in Latin America - the Uruguay connection
    Last edited by Aaron; 2013-07-05, 11:51.
    Asymmetric Warfare: It's not just for the other guys.

  • #2
    The Peruvian front man

    The Peruvian front man for this effort was a walk-in. He reached out to the IRGC's recruiter in Latin American, converted to Shia Islam, and was sent to Iran for training.

    Edwar Quiroga Vargas
    a/k/a Edwar Quiroga
    a/k/a Hossein Vargas
    a/k/a Yaku

    Vargas is a classic 'red hot', a newly-minted radical activist with lots of energy and many projects and ambitions. He is credited by the IRI's point man with recruiting/converting at least 60 people so far. He also travels throughout Latin America, attending various socialist, youth, and first people's conferences, and has documented the various regional leaders he has met:

    Vargas with Daniel Ortega

    Vargas with Evo Morales

    Vargas with Hugo Chavez

    Vargas with Rafale Correa

    Vargas with Tomas Borge

    Vargas with Mohammad Saleh Meftah

    Vargas with the IRGC's man in Latin America (the white guy, 2nd from left)
    Asymmetric Warfare: It's not just for the other guys.


    • #3
      The IRGC's point man in Latin America

      Credited with establishing more than 20 Islamic Centers and a continent-wide network of activists, he was born in Argentina to Lebanese parents, and converted or adopted Shia Islam as a young man. He speaks Persian, Arabic, English, and Spanish, and has an academic teaching position in Chile, in addition to his work on behalf of Khamenei.

      Dr. Edgardo Ruben Assad
      a/k/a Sheij Sohail (or Soheil) Assad

      Assad is described as a disciple of Mohsen Rabbani, and like Rabbani is implicated in the bombing of the Israeli Embassy in 1992, and the AMIA Jewish community center in 1994 (though unlike Rabbani, Assad has not been charged in either case, AFAIK). A leaked US State Department cable notes the following about Assad (in the context of a report regarding Iranian influence and activities in Mexico):
      CISEN [Mexican intelligence service] has watchlisted Dr. Edgardo Ruben Assad (aka Shaykh Soheil Assad) to prohibit his future travel to Mexico because his name appears on various international terrorism watchlists linking him to the bombings in Argentina in the early 1990s. Mexican immigration honored CISEN's request to prevent his entry, though CISEN has no information of its own regarding his case. CISEN indicates that the Iranian Embassy continues to urge the Mexican Government to allow him back into Mexico. The Soraya Mosque in Torreon, Coahuila has petitioned to grant Assad residency status so he can serve as cultural and educational attache to the mosque. CISEN says this is the first time they have observed the Muslim community acting with such unity and harmony of purpose, and they attribute this unity to the Iranian Ambassador. Such activism enhances CISEN and the broader GOM's view of the Iranian presence in Mexico as increasingly troublesome and counterproductive to relations.
      Asymmetric Warfare: It's not just for the other guys.


      • #4
        ASPRET: beneficiary of IRGC largesse and/or IRGC front

        Sohail Assad with leaders of ASPRET

        Given the involvement of Vargas, the occasional visits from Assad, the use of the organization for Shia missionary work, and the staff members who are likely converts to Islam, it seems reasonable to suspect that ASPRET is funded at least in part by Iran, with the money flowing through Assad to Vargas. ASPRET may be a more or less genuine organization seeking to defend the rights of the Quechua, but that's not all it is.

        Vargas distributing Quran's at the ASPRET office
        (note the short stack to the left, w/pic of Khomeini on the cover)

        ASPRET staff

        ASPRET: Che on the wall, El Quran on the desk

        And this brings us to Sacha. Who is Sacha? He's the guy to the right of the general:

        This is Sacha's card:

        Sacha served in the Peruvian army...

        ...and he identifies closely with the "Movimiento Etnocacerista." The Etnocaceristas led military revolts against previous Peruvian governments. Antauro Humala is currently serving a 25 year prison sentence on account of such activity, while his brother Ollanta is the current President of Peru. ASPRET was heavily involved in supporting Ollanta's presidential campaign:

        Celebrating Ollanta's victory at the ASPRET office
        Asymmetric Warfare: It's not just for the other guys.


        • #5
          The first group of recruits in Iran

          The m.o. of the IRGC is to recruit people and send them to Iran for an initial two month training and indoctrination program. Vargas did us the favor of getting photos taken of the group while they were there. And no such trip would be complete without some quality time at Almostafa Open University (a/k/a Almostafa International University). That's where you'll find Rabbani these days, I do believe.

          Asymmetric Warfare: It's not just for the other guys.


          • #6
            The network(s)

            Vargas is linked to a number of people in Iran, most being associated in one way or another with Almostafa and linked to networks of IRGC activists.

            Given the obvious counter-intelligence issues involved in bringing in foreign recruits, some portion of the Iranians in this network are likely involved in doing CI work while being around to assist their guests.
            Asymmetric Warfare: It's not just for the other guys.


            • #7
              El Centro

              The most recent venture by Vargas and Assad involves the formation of the Centro de Intercambio Cultural Inkarrislam.

              Vargas provides the following details:
              Centro de Intercambio Cultural INKARRISLAM (Perú - Irán) Se encuentra debidamente inscrito en el registro de personas jurídicas. Rubro: Constitución de Asociaciones, con la Partida Nº 11035757. Solo, en el presente año hemos ampliado nuestras filiales en: Lima, Ayacucho, Andahuaylas, Cusco y Puno.
              Asymmetric Warfare: It's not just for the other guys.


              • #8
                See also

                The beginning of the IRI's move into Peru (Assad's account of meeting Vargas and the start of their activities in Peru).

                Sarbaz Roohulla Rezvi: A tie that binds IRI, GM2J, and MB (He and Vargas are friends)

                Last week's IRGC recruiting event in Tehran... (I have reason to believe Vargas & Co. were in attendence - as was Mr. Rezvi)

                Whether working out of the IRI Embassy or through NGO's, the IRGC is using cultural, religious, educational, charitable, and political activities as cover for recruitment (not to mention using journalists and documentary film makers as agents). The following is a sample of the kinds of things I find it useful to focus on:

                1st Session of the World Assembly of Islamic Awakening [Tehran]

                IRI front of the day award goes to...

                Islamic Republic of Iran Supporters Abroad

                La amenaza Iraní [The Iranian Threat (in Latin America) - Univision] (A truly awesome exposé of IRGC recruiting activities in Mexico, involving also Venezuela and Cuba)

                IRGC's FARS News Agency opens office in Istanbul

                International Union of Unified Ummah: Global front of the Islamic Republic of Iran

                Al-Mustafa International University: IRGC recruiting center?

                Iran's Cultural Attache in Ottawa strikes again

                The IRI embassy in Ottawa, it's a known issue

                Iran's Indian agent spied on London's Ahwazi Arabs

                IRGC/MOIS recruiting event of the month award goes to...

                A look back at the IRI Cultural Centre in Ottawa, Canada

                IRGC Quds Day gatherings in interesting places

                Quds Day in Brasil
                Asymmetric Warfare: It's not just for the other guys.


                • #9
                  And also

                  The mounting Hezbollah threat in Latin America
                  Roger F. Noriega, José R. Cárdenas | American Enterprise Institute

                  «El Islam es una forma de vida»: sheij Suhail Assad

                  Testimony Of Ambassador Roger F. Noriega
                  Before The United States Senate Committee On Foreign Relations
                  Subcommittee On The Western Hemisphere, Peace Corps, And Global Narcotics Affairs
                  Hearing On
                  “Iran’s Influence And Activity In Latin America”
                  Thursday, February 16, 2012 Room 419, Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington, DC

                  Latin America as an Arena for Iran and Hezbollah's Terrorist, Subversive and Criminal Activities
                  Meir Amit ITIC
                  Asymmetric Warfare: It's not just for the other guys.


                  • #10
                    This isn't actually Rabbani is it?

                    Top pic is Mohsen Rabbani. Who's the older guy in the bottom photo? Rabbani with contact lenses? Or just another *sshole at Almostafa.

                    Rabbani, for sure.

                    This guy?

                    Seeing as how this trip to Qom was organized by Rabbani's disciple Sohail Assad, I'm more than a little curious. I know that similar groups of recruits have met with Rabbani during their two month all-expenses-paid trip to Iran.
                    Last edited by Aaron; 2012-12-26, 16:54.
                    Asymmetric Warfare: It's not just for the other guys.


                    • #11
                      Curso islámico de corto plazo en abancay - apurimac - perú

                      This year's trip to Iran may not have panned out, but they *are* offering a 30 day all-expenses-paid course on Islam, saying:
                      Las inscripciones son limitadas máximo 40 participantes, la comisión organizadora se encargan de la alimentación y hospedaje durante los 30 días del curso.
                      They've also posted a few pics from what was apparently a previous class.

                      Vargas teaching, his mentor Assad sitting nearby

                      I find it interesting that they are recording the class as well.

                      Asymmetric Warfare: It's not just for the other guys.


                      • #12
                        Iran/Peru Web

                        Hey the Mr. Aaron, Big fan. Anyone who exposes terrorists is a bro in my book.
                        I'm doing a research project on Iran and the IRGC in Peru, and your posts have been quite helpful. Is there any way you could email me the spider web connection picture from this thread? I am having a hard time reading the names on it in it's current form.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Tani View Post
                          I am having a hard time reading the names on it in it's current form.
                          Yes, that was deliberate, but only to make the boys back at the home office in Qom work harder

                          I should be able to assist.
                          Asymmetric Warfare: It's not just for the other guys.