The Quds Force (Persian: نیروی قدس, romanized: niru-ye qods, Jerusalem Force) is one of five branches of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) specializing in unconventional warfare and military intelligence operations. U.S. Army's Iraq War General Stanley McChrystal describes the Quds Force as an organization analogous to a combination of the CIA and the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) in the United States. Responsible for extraterritorial operations, the Quds Force supports non-state actors in many countries, including Lebanese Hezbollah, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the State of Palestine's Gaza Strip and the West Bank, Yemeni Houthis, and Shia militias in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan.
|Founded||1988as an independent force|
|Type||Special operations force|
|Role||Extraterritorial operations, Unconventional warfare, Military Intelligence|
|Part of||Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps|
1982 Lebanon War
South Lebanon conflict (1985–2000)
Battle for Herat
Syrian Civil War
2014 Northern Iraq offensive
Military intervention against ISIL
|Brig. Gen. Esmail Ghaani|
|Deputy Commander||Brig. Gen. Mohammad Hejazi|
The Quds Force reports directly to the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei. After Qassem Soleimani was killed, his deputy, Esmail Ghaani, replaced him. The U.S. Secretary of State designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Quds Force as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) based on the IRGC’s “continued support to and engagement in terrorist activity around the world.” This was the first time that the U.S. ever designated another government’s department as a FTO.
History and missionEdit
The predecessor of the Quds Force, known as 'Department 900', was created during the Iran–Iraq War as a special intelligence unit, while the IRGC was allegedly active abroad in Afghanistan before the war. The department was later merged into 'Special External Operations Department'. After the war in 1988, the IRGC was reorganized and the Quds Force was established as an independent service branch. It has the mission of liberating "Muslim land", especially al-Quds, from which it takes its name—"Jerusalem Force" in English.
Both during and after the war, it provided support to the Kurds fighting Saddam Hussein. In 1982, a Quds unit was deployed to Lebanon, where it assisted in the genesis of Hezbollah. The Force also expanded its operations into neighboring Afghanistan, including assistance for Abdul Ali Mazari's Shi'a Hezbe Wahdat in the 1980s against the government of Mohammad Najibullah. It then began funding and supporting Ahmad Shah Massoud's Northern Alliance against the Taliban. However, in recent years, the Quds Force is alleged to have been helping and guiding the Taliban insurgents against the NATO-backed Karzai administration. There were also reports of the unit lending support to Bosnian Muslims fighting the Bosnian Serbs during the Bosnian War.
According to the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram, former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad helped fund the Quds Force while he was stationed at the Ramazan garrison near Iraq, during the late 1980s.
In January 2010, according to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the mission of the Quds Force was expanded and the Force along with Hezbollah started a new campaign of attacks targeting not only the US and Israel but also other Western bodies.
The Quds force is ran from Tehran, and has ties with armed groups in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and the Palestinian territories.
The force is described as "active in dozens of countries." According to former U.S. Army intelligence officer David Dionisi, the Quds force is organized into eight different directorates based on geographic location:
- Western countries (excluding Turkey, including the former Eastern Bloc)
- Former Soviet Union
- Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India
- Israel, Lebanon, and Jordan
- North Africa
- Arabian peninsula
According to journalist Dexter Filkins, the force's members are "divided between combatants and those who train and oversee foreign assets," and the force is divided into branches focusing on "intelligence, finance, foreign languages, politics, sabotage, and special operations." Members are chosen both for their skill and "allegiance to the doctrine of the Islamic Revolution."
In addition, Dionisi asserts in his book American Hiroshima that the Iranian Quds Force headquarters for operations in Iraq was moved in 2004 to the Iran-Iraq border in order to better supervise activities in Iraq. The Quds Force also operates a base in the former compound of the U.S. Embassy, which was overrun in 1979.
According to Filkins and American General Stanley A. McChrystal, it was the Quds Force that "flooded" Iraq with "explosively formed projectiles" which fire a molten copper slug able to penetrate armor, and which accounted for "nearly 20%" of American combat deaths in Iraq (i.e. hundreds of soldiers). In September 2007, a few years after the publication of American Hiroshima: The Reasons Why and a Call to Strengthen America's Democracy in July 2006, General David Petraeus reported to Congress that the Quds Force had left Iraq. Petraeus said, "The Quds Force itself, we believe, by and large, those individuals have been pulled out of the country, as have the Lebanese Hezbollah trainers that were being used to augment that activity."
On 7 July 2008, journalist Seymour Hersh wrote an article in The New Yorker revealing that President Bush had signed a Presidential Finding authorizing the CIA and Joint Special Operations Command to conduct cross-border paramilitary operations from Iraq and Afghanistan into Iran. These operations would be against the Quds Force and "high-value targets." "The Finding was focused on undermining Iran's nuclear ambitions and trying to undermine the government through regime change," a person familiar with its contents said, and involved "working with opposition groups."
The size of the Quds Force is classified and unknown. In 2007, Mahan Abedin of Center for the Study of Terrorism said that Quds Force numbers no more than 2,000 people, with 800 core operatives. Scott Shane, who interviewed several American scholars later that year, wrote that estimates range from 3,000 to 50,000. In 2013, Dexter Filkins wrote that the Quds Force has 10,000–20,000 members, "divided between combatants and those who train and oversee foreign assets". The 2020 edition of The Military Balance, published by the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS), estimated that the force has about 5,000 personnel.
Mahan Abedin, director of research at the London-based Center for the Study of Terrorism (and editor of Islamism Digest), believes the unit is not independent: "Quds Force, although it's a highly specialized department, it is subject to strict, iron-clad military discipline. It's completely controlled by the military hierarchy of the IRGC, and the IRGC is very tightly controlled by the highest levels of the administration in Iran."
The Quds Force trains and equips foreign Islamic revolutionary groups around the Middle East. The paramilitary instruction provided by the Quds Force typically occurs in Iran or Sudan. Foreign recruits are transported from their home countries to Iran to receive training. The Quds Force sometimes plays a more direct role in the military operations of the forces it trains, including pre-attack planning and other operation-specific military advice.
Since 1979, Iran had supported the Shi'a Hezbe Wahdat forces against the Afghan government of Mohammad Najibullah. When Najibullah stepped down as President in 1992, Iran continued supporting Hezbe Wahdat against other Afghan militia groups. When the Taliban took over Afghanistan in 1996, Hezbe Wahdat had lost its founder and main leader, Abdul Ali Mazari, so the group joined Ahmad Shah Massoud's Northern Alliance. Iran began supporting the Northern Alliance against the Taliban, who were backed by Pakistan and the Arab world. In 1999, after several Iranian diplomats were killed by the Taliban in Mazar-e Sharif, Iran nearly got into a war with the Taliban. The Quds Force reportedly fought alongside the United States and the Northern Alliance in the Battle for Herat. However, in recent years Iran is accused of helping and training the Taliban insurgents against the NATO-backed Karzai administration. Iranian-made weapons, including powerful explosive devices are often found inside Afghanistan.
We did interdict a shipment, without question the Revolutionary Guard's core Quds Force, through a known Taliban facilitator. Three of the individuals were killed... Iranians certainly view as making life more difficult for us if Afghanistan is unstable. We don't have that kind of relationship with the Iranians. That's why I am particularly troubled by the interception of weapons coming from Iran. But we know that it's more than weapons; it's money; it's also according to some reports, training at Iranian camps as well.
In March 2012, Najibullah Kabuli, leader of the National Participation Front (NPF) of Afghanistan, accused three senior leaders of Iran's Revolutionary Guards of plotting to assassinate him. Some members of the Afghan Parliament accuses Iran of setting up Taliban bases in several Iranian cities, and that "Iran is directly involved in fanning ethnic, linguistic and sectarian tensions in Afghanistan." There are reports about Iran's Revolutionary Guards training Afghans inside Iran to carry out terrorist attacks in Afghanistan.
— Syed Kamal, a self-confessed agent for Iran's Revolutionary Guards and member of Sipah-i-Mohmmad
Following an attack on an Israeli diplomat in India in February 2012, Delhi Police at the time contended that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps had some involvement. This was subsequently confirmed in July 2012, after a report by the Delhi Police found evidence that members of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps had been involved in the 13 February bomb attack in the capital.
On 11 October 2011, the Obama Administration revealed the United States Government's allegations that the Quds Force was involved with the plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia's Ambassador to the United States Adel al-Jubeir, which also entailed plans to bomb the Israeli and Saudi embassies located in Washington, D.C.
It's been reported that Iran has been increasing its presence in Latin America through Venezuela. Little is known publicly what their objectives are in the region, but in 2009, Defense Secretary Robert Gates denounced Iran for meddling in "subversive activities" using Quds Forces. However, Iran claims it is merely "ensuring the survival of the regime" by propagating regional influence.
Juan Guaidó, President of the National Assembly of Venezuela, accused Nicolás Maduro in January 2020 of allowing Qasem Soleimani and his Quds Forces to incorporate their sanctioned banks and their companies in Venezuela. Guaidó also said that Soleimani "led a criminal and terrorist structure in Iran that for years caused pain to his people and destabilized the Middle East, just as Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis did with Hezbollah."
The Quds Force has been described as the Iranian "unit deployed to challenge the United States presence" in Iraq following the U.S. invasion of that country, which put "165,000 American troops along Iran's western border," adding to the American troops already in Iran's eastern neighbor Afghanistan.
The force "operated throughout Iraq, arming, aiding, and abetting Shiite militias"—i.e., the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, Dawa, and the Mahdi Army—"all" of which "had close ties to Iran, some dating back decades" as part of their struggle against Saddam Hussein's oppressive Arab nationalist regime.
In November 2006, with sectarian violence in Iraq increasing, U.S. General John Abizaid accused the Quds Force of supporting "Shi'a death squads", while the government of Iran was pledging support in stabilization. Similarly, in July 2007, Major General Kevin Bergner of the U.S. Army alleged that members of the Quds Force aided in the planning of a raid on U.S. forces in the Iraqi city of Karbala in January 2007.
2006 detainment in IraqEdit
On 24 December 2006, The New York Times reported that at least four Iranians had been captured by American troops in Iraq in the previous few days. According to the article, the U.S. government suspected that two of them were members of Quds Force, which would be some of the first physical proof of Quds Force activity in Iraq. According to The Pentagon, the alleged Quds Force members were "involved in the transfer of IED technologies from Iran to Iraq." The two men had entered Iraq legally, although they were not accredited diplomats. Iraqi officials believed that the evidence against the men was only circumstantial, but on 29 December, and under U.S. pressure, the Iraqi government ordered the men to leave Iraq. They were driven back to Iran that day. In mid-January 2007 it was reported that the two alleged Quds force officers seized by American forces were Brig. Gen. Mohsen Chizari and Col. Abu Amad Davari. According to The Washington Post. Chizari is the third highest officer of Quds Force, making him the allegedly highest-ranked Iranian to ever be held by the United States.
New York Sun ReportEdit
The New York Sun reported that the documents described the Quds Force as not only cooperating with Shi'a death squads, but also with fighters related to al-Qaeda and Ansar al-Sunna. It said that the Quds Force had studied the Iraq situation in a similar manner to the U.S. Iraq Study Group, and had concluded that they must increase efforts with Sunni and Shiite groups in order to counter the influence of Sunni states.
U.S. raid on Iranian liaison officeEdit
On 11 January 2007, U.S. forces raided and detained five employees of the Iranian liaison office in Erbil, Iraq. The U.S. military said the five detainees were connected to the Quds Force. The operation drew protests from the regional Kurdish government while the Russian government called the detainments unacceptable.
Alireza Nourizadeh, a political analyst at Voice of America, stated that their arrests were causing concern in Iranian intelligence because the five alleged officials were knowledgeable of a wide range of Quds Force and Iranian activities in Iraq. According to American ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, one of the men in custody was Quds Force's director of operations.
Iranian and Iraqi officials maintained that the detained men were part of a diplomatic mission in the city of Erbil, Iraq. The five Iranian detainees were still being held at a U.S. prison in Iraq as of 8 July 2007. The U.S. said they were "still being interrogated" and that it had "no plans to free them while they are seen as a security risk in Iraq." Iran said that the detainees were "kidnapped diplomats" and that they were "held as hostages."
On 9 July 2009, the five detainees were released from U.S. custody to Iraqi officials.
Allegations of involvement in Karbala attackEdit
On 20 January 2007, a group of gunmen attacked the Karbala Provincial Joint Coordination Center in Karbala, captured four American soldiers, and subsequently killed them. The attackers passed through an Iraqi checkpoint at around 5 pm, a total of five black GMC Suburbans, similar to those driven by U.S. security and diplomatic officials. They were also wearing American military uniforms and spoke fluent English. Because of the sophistication of the attack, some analysts have suggested that only a group like the Quds Force would be able to plan and carry out such an action. Former CIA officer Robert Baer also suggested that the five Americans were killed by the Quds Force in revenge for the Americans holding five Iranians since the 11 January raid in Irbil. It was reported that the U.S. military is investigating whether or not the attackers were trained by Iranian officials; however, no evidence besides the sophistication of the attack has yet been presented.
On 2 July 2007, the U.S. military said that information from captured Hezbollah fighter Ali Moussa Dakdouk established a link between the Quds Force and the Karbala raid. The U.S. military claims Dakdouk worked as a liaison between Quds force operatives and the Shia group that carried out the raid. According to the United States, Dakdouk said that the Shia group "could not have conducted this complex operation without the support and direction of the Quds force".
Allegations of support for Iraqi militantsEdit
In June 2007, U.S. General Ray Odierno asserted that Iranian support for these Shia militia increased as the United States itself implemented the 2007 "troop surge". Two different studies have maintained that approximately half of all foreign insurgents entering Iraq come from Saudi Arabia.
In December 2009 evidence uncovered during an investigation by The Guardian newspaper and Guardian Films linked the Quds Force to the kidnappings of five Britons from a government ministry building in Baghdad in 2007. Four of the hostages, Jason Creswell, Jason Swindlehurst, Alec Maclachlan, and Alan McMenemy, were killed. Peter Moore was released on 30 December 2009. The investigation uncovered evidence that Moore, 37, a computer expert from Lincoln was targeted because he was installing a system for the Iraqi Government that would show how a vast amount of international aid was diverted to Iran's militia groups in Iraq. One of the alleged groups funded by the Quds force directly is the Righteous League, which emerged in 2006 and has stayed largely in the shadows as a proxy of the Quds Force. Shia cleric and leading figure of the Righteous League, Qais al-Khazali, was handed over by the U.S. military for release by the Iraqi government on 29 December 2009 as part of the deal that led to the release of Moore.
Allegations by U.S. President BushEdit
In a 14 February 2007 news conference U.S. President George W. Bush reiterated his claim that the Quds Force was causing unrest in Iraq, stating:
I can say with certainty that the Quds force, a part of the Iranian government, has provided these sophisticated IEDs that have harmed our troops. And I'd like to repeat, I do not know whether or not the Quds Force was ordered from the top echelons of government. But my point is what's worse – them ordering it and it happening, or them not ordering it and it happening? And so we will continue to protect our troops. ... to say it [this claim] is provoking Iran is just a wrong way to characterize the Commander-in-Chief's decision to do what is necessary to protect our soldiers in harm's way. And I will continue to do so. ... Whether Ahmadinejad ordered the Quds force to do this, I don't think we know. But we do know that they're there, and I intend to do something about it. And I've asked our commanders to do something about it. And we're going to protect our troops. ... I don't think we know who picked up the phone and said to the Quds Force, go do this, but we know it's a vital part of the Iranian government. ...What matters is, is that we're responding. The idea that somehow we're manufacturing the idea that the Iranians are providing IEDs is preposterous. ... My job is to protect our troops. And when we find devices that are in that country that are hurting our troops, we're going to do something about it, pure and simple. ... does this mean you're trying to have a pretext for war? No. It means I'm trying to protect our troops.
Mohsen Sazegara, who was a high-ranking Tehran official before turning against the government, has argued that Ahmadinejad does not control the Guards outside of Iran. "Not only the foreign ministry of Iran; even the president does not know what the Revolutionary Guards does outside of Iran. They directly report to the leader", he said, referring to Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Although Ali Khamenei is the ultimate person in charge of the Quds Force, George Bush did not mention him. According to Richard Clarke, "Quds force reports directly to the Supreme Ayatollah, through the commander-in-chief of the revolutionary guards."
Detainment of alleged bomb smugglerEdit
On 20 September 2007, the U.S. military arrested an Iranian during a raid on a hotel in Sulaimaniyah, a city in the Kurdish-controlled north. The military accused the Iranian of being a member of the elite Quds Force and smuggling powerful roadside bombs, including armor-piercing explosively formed penetrators, into Iraq. The military said intelligence reports asserted the suspect was involved in the infiltration and training of foreign fighters into Iraq as well.
On 22 September 2007, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani criticized the United States for arresting the Iranian and called for his immediate release. Talabani argued he is a civil servant who was on an official trade mission in the Kurdish Region and stated Iraqi and Kurdish regional government representatives were aware of the man's presence in the country. "I express to you our outrage for these American forces arresting this Iranian civil official visitor without informing or cooperating with the government of the Kurdistan region, which means insult and disregard for its rights", Talabani wrote in a "letter of resentment" to Ryan Crocker, U.S. ambassador to Iraq, and Gen. David Petraeus.
Allegations of 2007 market attackEdit
On 24 November 2007, US military officials accused an Iranian special group of placing a bomb in a bird box that blew up at a popular animal market in central Baghdad. "The group's purpose was to make it appear Al Qaeda in Iraq was responsible for the attack", Admiral Smith said. He further emphasized there was "no evidence Iran ordered the attack". In May 2008, Iraq said it had no evidence that Iran was supporting militants on Iraqi soil. Al-Sadr spokesman Al-Ubaydi said the presence of Iranian weapons in Iraq is "quite normal," since "they are bought and sold and any party can buy them."
Allegations of ties to Al-QaedaEdit
According to reports produced by Agence France-Presse (AFP), The Jerusalem Post, and Al Arabiya, at the request of a member of the United States' House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, in 2011 Congressional counter-terrorism advisor Michael S. Smith II of Kronos Advisory, LLC produced a report on Iran's alleged ties to Al-Qaeda that was distributed to members of the Congressional Anti-Terrorism Caucus. Titled "The al-Qa'ida-Qods Force Nexus: Scratching the Surface of a Known Unknown", a redacted version of Smith's report is available online via the blog site owned by American military geostrategist and The Pentagon's New Map author Thomas P.M. Barnett. The report's Issue Summary section explains: "This report focuses on the history of Iran's relationship with al-Qa'ida, and briefly addresses potential implications of these ties. Additionally, its author provides a list of recommended action items for Members of the United States Congress, as well as a list of questions that may help Members develop a better understanding of this issue through interactions with defense and intelligence officials". A member of the Quds Force was alleged arrested with 21 other suspects in the attack on the Israeli and United States embassies on 14 March 2012 in Azerbaijan.
Combat against Islamic StateEdit
In 2014, Quds Force was deployed into Iraq to lead Iranian action against ISIL. Iran sent three Quds Force battalions to help the Iraqi government repel ISIL's 2014 Northern Iraq offensive. Over 40 officers participated in the Second Battle of Tikrit, including the commander of the force, Gen. Qasem Soleimani who took a leading role in the operation.
2020 Rocket Attack on Qasem Soleimani in IraqEdit
On 3 January 2020 a rocket attack approved by United States President Donald Trump at Baghdad airport killed General Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Quds Force.
IRGC Commander Jafari announced on 16 September 2012 that Quds Force "were present" in Syria.
Coinciding with the Geneva II Conference on Syria in 2014, Iran boosted its presence in Syria with several "hundred" military specialists, including senior commanders from the Quds Force, according to Iranian sources and security experts. While recently retired senior IRGC commander told that there were at least 60 to 70 Quds force commanders on the ground in Syria at any given time. The primary role of these forces is to gather intelligence and manage the logistics of the battle for the Syrian Government.
In November 2015 the Quds Force conducted a successful rescue mission of a Russian bomber pilot who was shot down by a Turkish fighter jet. The commander of the Quds Force, Major General Qasem Soleimani, got in touch with his Russian counterparts and said that a special unit had been formed and was ready for the rescue operation. He also explained that the squad was made up of men from the Lebanese "Hezbollah" and soldiers from the Syrian Special Forces, who had undergone special training under the guidance of Iranian instructors. Apart from this fact, the Syrian soldiers were familiar with the terrain. The general assumed command of the ground operation and Russian aircraft had to carry out air cover and enable satellite surveillance. Once the location of the Russian pilot was determined via satellite through the built-in GPS device, it became clear that the pilot was located six kilometers behind the front line of the opposition forces. The Special squad that entered the territory controlled by rebels was not only able to save the Russian pilot, but also kill all of the remaining rebels there. All of the 24 fighters not only survived, but also returned to their base without injuries.
In May 2018, Quds forces on the Syrian-held side of the Golan Heights allegedly fired around 20 projectiles towards Israeli army positions without causing damage or casualties. Israel responded with airstrikes against Iranian bases in Syria. At least twenty-three fighters, among them 18 foreigners, were reportedly killed in the strikes.
In January 2019, the Israel Defense Forces confirmed that it had carried out strikes against Iranian military targets in Syria several hours after a rocket was intercepted over the Golan Heights. The Israeli military claimed in a statement that Quds Force positions were targeted and included a warning to the Syrian military against "attempting to harm Israeli forces or territory."
In January 2018, German authorities conducted raids in Baden-Württemberg, North Rhine-Westphalia, Bavaria and Berlin, searching homes and businesses belonging to ten alleged Iranian Quds Force members, suspected of spying on Israeli and Jewish targets.
Designation as a terrorist organizationEdit
The United States Department of the Treasury designated the Quds Force under Executive Order 13224 for providing material support to US-designated terrorist organizations on 25 October 2007, prohibiting transactions between the group and U.S. citizens, and freezing any assets under U.S. jurisdiction. The Government of Canada designated the Quds Force as a terrorist organization on 17 December 2012. Israel designated the Quds Force as a terrorist organization in March 2015.
On 23 October 2018, the kingdoms of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, both involved in Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen against Quds Force-backed Houthis, designated the IRGC as a terrorist organization. The designation also included former commander Qasem Soleimani.
In April 2019, the U.S. made the decision to designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a foreign military, as a foreign terrorist organization by the State Department under an immigration statute and their maximum pressure campaign. This designation was done over the opposition of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Department of Defense (DoD).
On 28 August 2019, when Israel's foreign minister Katz made a visit to the United kingdom, he asked the UK's foreign minister Dominic Raab to designate the Quds Force as a terrorist organization.
Designates IRGC-Qods Force Front CompanyEdit
On 1 May 2020, The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated dual Iranian and Iraqi national Amir Dianat, associate of Revolutionary Guards Quds Force officials. The religion, Dianat, who also known as Amir Abdulazeez Jaafar, has been involved in the Quds Force's efforts to generate revenue and smuggle weapons abroad. The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) also designating "Taif" Mineral Mining Services Company, a company owned, controlled, or directed by Dianat.
- Kamrava, Mehran, ed. (2020), "The Armed Forces in Post-revolutionary Iran", Routledge Handbook of Persian Gulf Politics, Routledge, ISBN 9780429514081
- McChrystal, Stanley. "Iran's Deadly Puppet Master". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 7 January 2020.
- Operational Environment Assessment (OEA) Team (April 2010). "Operational Environment Assessment: Iran". Ft. Leavenworth, KS: TRADOC Intelligence Support Activity (TRISA)-Threats, US Army. This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Army.
- Dionisi, 7
- "Iran demands nationals' release". BBC News. 14 January 2007. Archived from the original on 19 January 2007. Retrieved 14 February 2007.
- "Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps wrestles with new reality after killing of its chief military strategist". Washington post. 22 February 2020.
- "Country Reports on Terrorism 2019" (PDF). Country Reports.
- Ostovar, Afshon (2016). Vanguard of the Imam: Religion, Politics, and Iran's Revolutionary Guards. Oxford University Press. p. 263. ISBN 978-0199387892.
- Uskowi, Nader (2018), Temperature Rising: Iran's Revolutionary Guards and Wars in the Middle East, Rowman & Littlefield, p. 42, ISBN 9781538121740
- Matusitz, Jonathan (2014), "Al-Quds: The Muslim Jerusalem", Symbolism in Terrorism: Motivation, Communication, and Behavior, Rowman & Littlefield, p. 117, ISBN 978-1442235793
- Moghadam, Assaf (2011). Militancy and Political Violence in Shiism: Trends and Patterns. Routledge. p. 87. ISBN 978-1136663536. Archived from the original on 13 October 2017. Retrieved 12 November 2016.
- "Iran's Revolutionary Guards". Telegraph. 4 October 2007. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
- Ben Farmer, ed. (1 August 2012). "Taliban opens office in Iran". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 4 April 2017. Retrieved 18 May 2013.
- Abasin Zaheeron, ed. (20 May 2012). "Iran, Pakistan out to weaken Afghanistan, MPs told". Pajhwok Afghan News. Archived from the original on 3 May 2019. Retrieved 18 May 2013.
- Brian Todd and Pam Benson, ed. (23 March 2010). "Taliban fighters training in Iran, U.S. officials say". CNN. Archived from the original on 10 October 2014. Retrieved 18 May 2013.
- Jha, Lalit K (16 March 2011). "Concern in US over increasing Iranian activity in Afghanistan". Pajhwok Afghan News. Archived from the original on 10 May 2013. Retrieved 18 May 2013.
- O'Rourke, Breffni (18 April 2007). "Afghanistan: U.S. Says Iranian-Made Weapons Found". Radio Free Europe. Archived from the original on 11 August 2013. Retrieved 18 May 2013.
- "Afghans find tons of explosive devices transferred from Iran". CNN. 6 October 2010. Archived from the original on 5 March 2012. Retrieved 18 May 2013.
- "Is Iran Supporting the Insurgency in Afghanistan?". The Jamestown Foundation. Archived from the original on 21 July 2015. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
- Moghadam, Assaf (2011). Militancy and Political Violence in Shiism: Trends and Patterns. Routledge. p. 87. ISBN 978-1136663536. Archived from the original on 13 October 2017. Retrieved 12 November 2016.
It also assisted in the establishment of Hizballah in Lebanon and various Islamic groups in Bosnia.
- Rubin, Michael (2001). Into the Shadows: Radical Vigilantes in Khatami's Iran. Washington Institute for Near East Policy. p. 46. ISBN 978-0944029459. Archived from the original on 13 October 2017. Retrieved 12 November 2016.
- Hirsh, Michael; Dehghanpisheh, Babak; Hosenball, Mark. "The New Enemy? Archived 1 April 2007 at the Wayback Machine", Newsweek, 15 February 2007. Retrieved 17 February 2007.
- Nawar, Ibrahim. "Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: Justice versus freedom Archived 12 January 2007 at the Wayback Machine", Al Ahram Weekly, 30 June 2005. Retrieved 7 January 2006.
- Matthew, Levitt (January 2013). "Hizballah and the Qods Force in Iran's shadow war with the West" (Policy Focus (No. 123)). The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Archived (PDF) from the original on 23 September 2018. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
- "Iran's Gen. Soleimani killed in airstrike at Baghdad airport". AP NEWS. 2 January 2020. Archived from the original on 3 January 2020. Retrieved 3 January 2020.
- Matthew, Levitt (January 2020). "What is Iran's secretive Quds Force?".
- Wright, Robin, Dreams and Shadows: the Future of the Middle East, Penguin Press, 2008, pp. 332–333.
- Dionisis, 8
- Filkins, Dexter| "The Shadow Commander Archived 28 June 2014 at the Wayback Machine"| The New Yorker, 30 September 2013.
- "Pentagon, State Department Debunk Bush Fabrications on Iran". Alternet. 18 September 2007. Archived from the original on 24 March 2012. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
- Hersh, Seymour (7 July 2008). "Preparing the Battlefield: The Bush Administration steps up its secret moves against Iran". The New Yorker. Archived from the original on 17 June 2009. Retrieved 20 June 2009.
- Daragahi, Borzou and Spiegel, Peter. "Iran's elite and mysterious fighters", Los Angeles Times, 15 February 2007. Retrieved 15 February 2007.
- "Experts: Iran's Quds Force Deeply Enmeshed in Iraq Archived 14 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine", Fox News, 15 February 2007. Retrieved 15 February 2007.
- Shane, Scott. "Iranian Force, Focus of U.S., Still a Mystery Archived 1 July 2017 at the Wayback Machine", New York Times, 17 February 2007. Retrieved 17 February 2007.
- The International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) (2020). "Middle East and North Africa". The Military Balance 2020. 120. Routledge. pp. 348–352. doi:10.1080/04597222.2020.1707968. ISBN 9780367466398. S2CID 219624897.
- Matthew, Levitt (January 2020). "What is Iran's secretive Quds Force?".
- Charbonneau, Louis (19 November 2014). "Iran uses China bank to transfer funds to Quds-linked companies". Reuters. Retrieved 6 January 2020.
- Golnaz Esfandiari (16 February 2007). "Iran: Expert Discusses Iran's Quds Force And U.S. Charges Concerning Iraq". Radio Free Europe. Archived from the original on 16 April 2008. Retrieved 17 October 2007.
- "Operations Anaconda entering second week". CNN. 8 March 2002. Archived from the original on 7 November 2007.
- Karon, Tony. "TIME.com Primer: The Taliban and Afghanistan Archived 13 September 2006 at the Wayback Machine", Time Magazine, 18 September 2001. Retrieved 16 October 2006.
- "The Elusive Quds Force: The Iranian Special Ops unit accused of meddling in Iraq has a fierce history and powerful friends" Archived 13 January 2008 at the Wayback Machine, Newsweek, 26 February 2007. Retrieved 14 March 2007.
- Khwaja Baser Ahmad, ed. (4 March 2012). "Iran's Revolutionary Guards plotting to kill me: Kabuli". Pajhwok Afghan News. Archived from the original on 2 December 2013. Retrieved 18 May 2013.
- Abasin Zaheer, ed. (27 March 2012). "Afghan MPs fault Ahmadinejad's remarks". Pahjwok Afghan News. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 18 May 2013.
- Khwaja Basir Ahmad, ed. (7 May 2012). "Alleged spies say Iran's Revolutionary Guards trained them". Pahjwok Afghan News. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 18 May 2013.
- "Cops name Iran military arm for attack on Israeli diplomat" Archived 1 August 2012 at the Wayback Machine, Times of India, 30 July 2012
- "Two Men Charged in Alleged Plot to Assassinate Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the United States". Department of Justice. 11 October 2011. Archived from the original on 4 September 2014. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
- Plot to kill Saudi ambassador casts light on shadowy group that reports to Iran’s leader. The Associated Press. 13 October 2011
- Obama Says Facts Support Accusation of Iranian Plot Archived 1 July 2017 at the Wayback Machine. The New York Times. 13 October 2011
- "Hezbollah in Latin America - Implications for U.S. Homeland Security" (PDF). U.S. House of Representatives, Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence (112th). 7 July 2011. Archived (PDF) from the original on 20 September 2018.
- "Faced with events in the Middle East, the interim government reiterates Maduro's ties with international terrorism". Centro de Comunicación Nacional (in Spanish). 3 January 2020. Retrieved 4 January 2020.
- Wright, Robin, Dreams and Shadows: the Future of the Middle East, Penguin Press, 2008, pp. 333–4
- "Gen. Abizaid On Stabilizing Iraq Archived 3 December 2006 at the Wayback Machine", 60 Minutes, 26 November 2006. Retrieved 27 November 2006.
- Middle East - Iraq Archived 11 May 2017 at the Wayback Machine The New York Times, 3 July 2007
- Baer, Robert. "Where's the Smoking Gun on Iran? Archived 16 February 2007 at the Wayback Machine", Time Magazine, 13 February 2007. Retrieved 13 February 2007.
- Glanz, James and Tavernise, Sabrina. "U.S. Is Holding Iranians Seized in Raids in Iraq Archived 1 July 2017 at the Wayback Machine", The New York Times, 24 December 2006. Retrieved 25 December 2006.
- "Group: Iranians Were Part of Elite Force". The Washington Post. 28 December 2006. Archived from the original on 5 November 2012. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
- Tavernise, Sabrina and Glanz, James. "U.S. and Iraq Dispute Role of Iranians but Free Them Archived 1 July 2017 at the Wayback Machine", New York Times, 30 December 2006. Retrieved 30 December 2006.
- Wright, Robin and Trejos, Nancy. "Iranians captured inside Iraq Archived 14 January 2007 at the Wayback Machine", The Washington Post, 12 January 2007. Retrieved 13 January 2007.
- Lake, Eli. "Iran's Secret Plan For Mayhem Archived 5 January 2007 at the Wayback Machine", The New York Sun, 3 January 2007. Retrieved 3 January 2007.
- Arrested Iranians tied to group arming Iraqis: U.S. Archived 31 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine Archived copy at WebCite (30 July 2007)., Reuters 14 January 2007
- Iran complains to U.N. over diplomats' arrest -TV[dead link], Reuters, 20 January 2007
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 15 March 2007. Retrieved 3 April 2017.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Zadeh, Ali Nouri. "US-Held Iranians Source of Major Concern for Tehran Archived 8 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine", Asharq Alawsat, 23 January 2007. Retrieved 24 January 2007.
- Hurst, Steven. "U.S. Envoy: Guard Quds Director Detained", The Guardian, 24 January 2007. Retrieved 25 January 2007.
- "Kurdish leader: US sought to capture Iranian Revolutionary Guard officials in Irbil raid". International Herald Tribune. 6 April 2007. Archived from the original on 19 April 2007. Retrieved 7 April 2007.
- albawaba.com middle east news information::Iran complains about detention conditions of diplomats in U.S. custody Archived 16 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine
- Richard Beeston (27 March 2007). "Kidnapping could be traced back to arrests by US forces". The Times. London. Archived from the original on 1 April 2007. Retrieved 3 April 2007.
- "گزارش کامل از نخستین جلسه هفتگی سخنگوی وزارت خارجه در سال". Mehr News. Archived from the original on 8 February 2012. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
- "Iranians held in Iraq since 2007 released". CNN. 9 July 2009. Archived from the original on 17 November 2010. Retrieved 13 October 2011.
- Schippert, Steve. "Quds Force, Karbala and the Language of War Archived 2 February 2007 at the Wayback Machine", Threats Watch, 29 January 2007. Retrieved 30 January 2007.
- Baer, Bob. "Are the Iranians Out for Revenge? Archived 2 February 2007 at the Wayback Machine", Time Magazine, 30 January 2007. Retrieved 30 January 2007.
- James Glanz and Mark Mazzetti. "Iran May Have Trained Attackers That Killed 5 American Soldiers, U.S. and Iraqis Say Archived 1 July 2017 at the Wayback Machine", New York Times, 30 January 2007. Retrieved 31 January 2007.
- "[US links Iran to attack in Iraq http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6260690.stm Archived 7 July 2007 at the Wayback Machine]", BBC News, 2 July 2007. Retrieved 2 July 2007.
- Pessin, Al. "US Could Begin Withdrawal if Iraqis Can Take Over from Surge, says Commander Archived 25 June 2007 at the Wayback Machine", VOA, 22 June 2007. Retrieved 22 June 2007.
- Henry Schuster (17 March 2005). "The battle for Saudi hearts and minds". CNN. Archived from the original on 4 November 2012. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
- Grandjean, Guy (30 December 2009). "Revealed: Hand of Iran behind Britons' Baghdad Kidnapping". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 18 April 2010. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
- "Press Conference by the President". Office of the Press Secretary. 14 February 2007. Archived from the original on 10 October 2017. Retrieved 10 September 2017. Retrieved 14 February 2007
- "Iranian dissident warns of US actions against Iran". 23 August 2007. Archived from the original on 16 August 2012. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
- Who's Behind Iran's Death Squad? Archived 18 February 2007 at the Wayback Machine ABC News, 14 February 2007
- Military Cites Mixed Results in Baghdad[dead link]
- "Iraqi president urges release of Iranian detainee". CNN. 22 September 2007. Archived from the original on 4 November 2012. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
- Rubin, Alissa J. (25 November 2007). "U.S. Starts First Major Pullout From Iraq, Beginning With Brigade Members". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 1 July 2017. Retrieved 23 February 2017.
- "'No evidence' Iran backs militias – Baghdad". The Daily Star. 5 May 2008. Archived from the original on 29 December 2010. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
- Ridolfo, Kathleen (4 May 2008). "Iraq: Al-Sadr Refuses to Meet Baghdad Delegation In Iran". Radio Free Europe. Archived from the original on 11 June 2008. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
- Report highlights alleged Iran forces al-Qaeda links. AFP. 4 May 2011
- US congressional report: Iran offering support to al-Qaida Archived 6 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine. The Jerusalem Post. 5 May 2011
- Report from Congressional panel says Iran's Revolutionary Guard helps Al-Qaeda Archived 8 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Al Arabiya. 5 May 2011
- "The al-Qa'ida-Qods Force Nexus" (PDF). 29 April 2011. Archived (PDF) from the original on 13 April 2012. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
- Fassihi, Farnaz (11 June 2014). "Iran Deploys Forces to Fight al Qaeda-Inspired Militants in Iraq". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on 13 June 2014. Retrieved 12 June 2014.
- Alfoneh, Ali (21 September 2012). "What Is Iran Doing in Syria?". Foreign Policy. Archived from the original on 25 September 2012. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
- Iran boosts support to Syria Archived 8 April 2019 at the Wayback Machine, Telegraph, 21 February 2014
- Iranian Strategy in Syria Archived 22 October 2017 at the Wayback Machine, Institute for the Study of War, Executive Summary + Full report, May 2013
- "Iranian Forces in Syria Shell Israeli Army Bases on Golan-Israel". New York Times. 9 May 2018. Archived from the original on 21 May 2018. Retrieved 21 May 2018.
- "Israel targets Iranian forces in Syria after rocket attack on Golan Heights". Fox News. 10 May 2018. Archived from the original on 29 August 2018. Retrieved 21 May 2018.
- "Israel Launches Most Extensive Strike in Syria in Decades After Iranian Rocket Barrage". Haaretz. 11 May 2018. Archived from the original on 20 May 2018. Retrieved 21 May 2018.
- "Israel Confirms Another Attack on Iranian Targets in Syria". New York Times. 20 January 2018. Archived from the original on 22 January 2019. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
- "Raids across Germany target suspected Iranian spies". Deutsche Welle. 16 January 2018. Archived from the original on 16 January 2018. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
- "Fact Sheet: Designation of Iranian Entities and Individuals for Proliferation Activities and Support for Terrorism". U.S. Department of the Treasury. 25 October 2007. Archived from the original on 10 November 2014. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
- "Currently listed entities". Publicsafety.gc.ca. Archived from the original on 2 February 2017. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
- "Israel designates the Quds Force as a terrorist group". Retrieved 30 September 2020.
- Saudi, Bahrain add Iran's IRGC to terror lists - SPA Archived 10 May 2019 at the Wayback Machine euronews.com
- U.S. Labels Iran's Revolutionary Guard As A Foreign Terrorist Organization Archived 10 June 2019 at the Wayback Machine npr.org
- Trump Designates Iran’s Revolutionary Guards a Foreign Terrorist Group Archived 8 April 2019 at the Wayback Machine nytimes.com
- Why Trump’s Latest Move Against Iran Was Pointless—and Dangerous Archived 5 May 2019 at the Wayback Machine time.com
- Mattis: Iran is the biggest threat to Mideast peace Archived 27 May 2019 at the Wayback Machine washingtonexaminer.com
- staff, T. O. I. "Israel asks UK to designate Iran's Revolutionary Guards a terror organization". www.timesofisrael.com. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
- "Treasury Designates IRGC-Qods Force Front Company and Owner". U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY. 1 May 2020.