Mapping the IRGC’s Global Activity, 1979–present

  • Direct activity
  • Indirect activity
  • Soft activity

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Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has been the chief implementer of Iran’s militia doctrine and a major cause of instability in the Middle East. Our global activity tracker shows how the IRGC disseminates its ideology and supports violence at home and abroad through its own actions, its network of militias and Tehran’s soft-power organisations. We will continue to populate this tracker, building a picture of how the IRGC undermines global security.

1979
February

Iran

1 direct

11 February 1979

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini declares the victory of Iran’s Islamic Revolution, marking the collapse of the Pahlavi Monarchy and the creation of the Islamic Republic of Iran – a theocracy headed by a supreme clerical leader. Islamist militias – which later merge to form the IRGC – help consolidate the clergy’s grip on power in postrevolutionary Iran.

1979
May

Iran

1 direct

5 May 1979

The IRGC is formally established in Iran's 1979 constitution as an "ideological army" with a "mission of jihad" to export the Islamic Revolution. The IRGC falls under the direct control of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and is separate from the Artesh (Iranian army). The IRGC is made from a merger of several Khomeinist militias that helped seize power for the clergy after the revolution in February 1979.

1979
May

Iran

1 direct

May 1979

The IRGC establishes the Liberation Movement Office and International Relations Unit to further its extraterritorial capacity, develop Iran's militia doctrine and export the revolution.

1979
May

Afghanistan

1 direct

May 1979

IRGC members enter Afghanistan to recruit, train and radicalise Afghans from the Shia Hazara community to fight the Soviet Red Army and export the Islamic Revolution to Afghanistan. This leads to the creation of the IRGC-backed Shia Mujahideen.

1979
May

Qom, Tehran and Kashan, Iran

1 direct

May 1979

The IRGC begins to recruit, radicalise and train Shia Hazara Afghan refugees living in camps across Iranian cities, such as Qom, Tehran and Kashan.

1979
May
1979
May
1979
November

Tehran, Iran

1 indirect

4 November 1979 - 20 January 1981

Iranian students part of the “Muslim Student Followers of the Imam's Line” group storm US Embassy in Tehran, taking 52 US citizens hostage for 444-days. Members of the IRGC among hostage takers.

1980
January

Tehran, Iran

1 soft

3 January 1980

Iran holds the inaugural Liberation Fronts Conference with representatives from 16 so-called liberation movements, including Shia dissidents from Bahrain and Saudi Arabia as well as anti-imperialist students from Panama. Khomeini vows to "support every organisation in the world that has stood up to save its country [from Western oppressors]".

1980
January

Tehran, Iran

1 direct

January 1980

The Arabian Peninsula Liberation Front is established to act as a hub dedicated to exporting the Islamic Revolution to the Arabian Peninsula. This office is tasked with creating a network to export the revolution to the Gulf states, not least Saudi Arabia, in a move that would catalyse the rupture of Iranian-Saudi relations.

1980
February

Kaduna state, Nigeria

1 soft

February 1980

Nigeria's Ibrahim Zakzaki pledges allegiance to Khomeini after visiting Tehran in February 1980. He returns to Nigeria as a Shia convert and uses the newly founded Islamic Movement of Nigeria as a vehicle to export Khomeini's Islamic Revolution to the country and convert the local population to Shia Islam.

1980
July

Neuilly-sur-Seine, France

1 indirect

18 July 1980

The IRGC fails in its attempt to assassinate Shapour Bakhtiar, Iran's last prime minister under the shah, using a Lebanese cell loyal to Khomeini.

1980
July

Bethesda, Maryland, US

1 direct

22 July 1980

An Iranian operative assassinates exiled former Iranian diplomat Ali Akbar Tabatabai.

1980
September

Iran-Iraq border

1 direct

September 1980

The IRGC redeploys its newly formed Afghan Shia militias that are loyal to Khomeini to the Iranian front line and scales up its recruitment of Afghan refugees in Iran.

1981
December

Manama, Bahrain

1 indirect

December 1981

The Islamic Front for the Liberation of Bahrain, a Shia Islamist militia trained and financed by the IRGC, attempts a coup to overthrow Bahrain's ruling monarchy and install a theocracy.

1982
April

Iran

1 direct

April–May 1982

Iran retakes all Iranian territory lost to Saddam Hussein in the Iran-Iraq War and launches an offensive into Iraq. The IRGC seeks to export the revolution to Iraq.

1982
June

Tehran, Iran

1 soft

June–September 1982

Khomeini appoints then Iranian President Ali Khamenei (later supreme leader) as his representative to Hizbullah.

1982
June

Lebanon and Syria

1 direct

11 June 1982

A special IRGC unit of 1,000 recruits arrives in Syria and Lebanon with the aim of "removing Israel from the face of the earth", to fight Israel after the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon and to export the Islamic Revolution to Lebanon.

1982
June
1982
June

Lebanon

1 direct

June–September 1982

The IRGC manufactures Hizbullah as a Shia Islamist militia that embraces Iran's Shia Islamist ideology (velayat-e faqih) and vows allegiance to Khomeini.

1982
November

Tyre, Lebanon

1 indirect

11 November 1982

Hizbullah conducts its first suicide bomb attack, on an Israeli military government building, killing 91 people.

1982
July

Lebanon

1 indirect

July 1982 – June 1992

Lebanon hostage crisis: Hizbullah abducts 104 foreign hostages between 1982 and 1992; eight die.

1982
November

Iran

1 direct

November 1982

The IRGC manufactures its Badr Corps, a Shia militia made from Iraqi refugees who had sworn allegiance to Iran's Islamic Revolution. The Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq is created as a movement to export the revolution to Iraq.

1983
April

Iran-Iraq border

1 direct

April 1983

The IRGC establishes the Ramazan Headquarters dedicated to guerrilla warfare and militancy. The headquarters seeks to professionalise militancy and streamline coordination between the IRGC and Iranian-backed militias such as Hizbullah, the IRGC Badr Corps (Iraqi fighters) and the IRGC Abozar Brigade (Afghan fighters).

1983
April

Beirut, Lebanon

1 indirect

18 April 1983

The IRGC coordinates two Hizbullah suicide bombings against Americans in Beirut. An attack on the US Embassy kills 63, including 17 Americans.

1983
October

Beirut, Lebanon

1 indirect

23 October 1983

Beirut barracks bombings: The IRGC coordinates two Hizbullah suicide attacks. One, targeting the US Marine barracks, kills 241 US service members in the bloodiest terrorist attack against the US before 9/11. The other, targeting a French military barracks, kills 58 French soldiers.

1983
December

Kuwait City, Kuwait

1 indirect

12 December 1983

Lebanese Hizbullah and Iran-backed Iraqi Shia group Da'wa carry out a series of bombings in Kuwait targeting US, French and Kuwaiti individuals, killing six people and wounding nearly 90 more.

1984
February

Paris, France

1 indirect

7 February 1984

Hizbullah's Islamic Jihad Organisation, a Shia Islamist militia ideologically aligned with Khomeini and trained by the IRGC, assassinates Gholam Ali Oveissi, an Iranian general under the shah. The IRGC coordinates the operation from its Ramazan Headquarters.

1984
September

Beirut, Lebanon

1 indirect

20 September 1984

Hizbullah, using the cover name of the Islamic Jihad Organisation, conducts a suicide bomb attack on the US Embassy in Beirut, killing 23.

1985
February

Lebanon

1 direct

16 February 1985

IRGC commander Hossein Dehghan co-writes and edits Hizbullah's 1985 charter, which pledges to eradicate Israel.

1985
May

Kuwait City, Kuwait

1 indirect

26 May 1985

Hizbullah's Islamic Jihad Organisation takes responsibility for a failed suicide car bomb attack on the emir of Kuwait.

1985
June

Athens, Greece

1 indirect

14 June 1985

Hizbullah hijacks Trans World Airlines Flight 847 shortly after take-off from Athens. The IRGC plays a crucial role in supervising and planning the hijacking.

1985
December

Paris, France

1 indirect

December 1985 – September 1986

Lebanese Hizbullah conducts a series of attacks with Iranian logistical support, killing 12 and wounding 200.

1989
July

Vienna, Austria

1 direct

13 July 1989

The IRGC and operatives of Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security assassinate the chairman of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan, Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou.

1989
October

Tehran, Iran

1 soft

16 October 1989

At the third International Islamic Unity Conference, new supreme leader Khamenei pushes the idea of Iran as the Umm al‐Qura‐ye Jahan-e Islam (the mother of all cities of the Islamic world), which seeks to shift Islam's capital from Mecca in Saudi Arabia to Qom in Iran.

1990
April

Tehran, Iran

1 direct

April 1990

The Quds Force is created as a separate branch of the IRGC dedicated to pursuing the regime's extraterritorial activities. The name of this branch—Quds means Jerusalem—explicitly evokes the IRGC's ideological aspiration of the armed liberation of Jerusalem through the destruction of Israel.

1990
April

Coppet, Switzerland

1 direct

24 April 1990

The Quds Force and operatives of Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security assassinate Kazem Rajavi. Rajavi was a human rights activist, a representative of the Iranian opposition group the People's Mujahideen of Iran and Iran's first ambassador to the UN in Geneva after 1979.

1991
March

Basra, Iraq

1 indirect

March 1991 – April 1991

The IRGC's Iraqi Badr Corps is deployed to assist Iraq's March 1991 uprisings, in which thousands of Iraqi Kurds and Shias revolt against Saddam's regime after he is forced out of Kuwait.

1991
June

Beirut, Lebanon

1 soft

4 June 1991

The Quds Force uses the Imam Khomeini Relief Foundation, a Khamenei-run humanitarian organisation, to establish Hizbullah's first TV news network, Al-Manar TV. The channel's aim is to propagate Iran's Shia Islamist ideology and propaganda to gain support for Hizbullah and velayat-e faqih.

1991
August

Paris, France

1 direct

6 August 1991

The Quds Force and Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security assassinate Shapour Bakhtiar, Iran's last prime minister under the shah, and his secretary.

1991
December

Sudan

1 direct

December 1991

After Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani visits Khartoum, approximately 2,000 IRGC personnel arrive in Sudan to train the Popular Defence Forces, a Sudanese militia.

1992
March

Buenos Aires, Argentina

1 indirect

17 March 1992

Hizbullah's Islamic Jihad Organisation carries out a car bomb attack at the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, killing 29 and injuring 252. The IRGC Quds Force coordinates and provides logistical support for the attack.

1992
August

Bonn, Germany

1 direct

7 August 1992

The Quds Force and Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security assassinate Fereydoun Farrokhzad, an Iranian singer and political dissident.

1992
September

Berlin, Germany

1 direct

17 September 1992

The Quds Force and Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security assassinate Iranian-Kurdish opposition leaders Sadegh Sharafkandi, Fattah Abdoli, Homayoun Ardalan and Nouri Dehkordi at a Greek restaurant.

1992
September

Bosnia and Herzegovina

1 soft

September 1992 – December 1995

The Quds Force instrumentalises Iran's Red Crescent Society to deploy recruits to Bosnia and Herzegovina to train the Islamist Bosnian Mujahideen in the Bosnian War and fight Serbian forces.

1992
September

Bosnia and Herzegovina

1 indirect

September 1992 – December 1995

On the Quds Force's orders, Hizbullah intervenes in the Bosnian War and sends 400 fighters to Europe.

1992
September

Bosnia and Herzegovina

1 soft

September 1992 – December 1995

The Quds Force transfers hundreds of Bosnian Muslims to Iran for rigorous ideological indoctrination, in the hope that these radicalised recruits will return to Bosnia and Herzegovina and form an IRGC-organised militia committed to exporting the Islamic Revolution to Europe.

1994
July

Buenos Aires, Argentina

1 indirect

18 July 1994

The Quds Force coordinates and provides logistical support for a Hizbullah attack on a Jewish community centre that kills 95 and wounds 300.

1996
February

Jerusalem, Israel

1 indirect

25 February 1996

Jaffa Road bus bombings: Hamas suicide bombers attack two buses in Jerusalem, killing 17 civilians and nine Israeli soldiers and wounding 48 civilians. The Quds Force financed the attack and trained the perpetrators in Iran.

1996
June

Khobar, Saudi Arabia

1 indirect

25 June 1996

The IRGC coordinates an attack by Hizbullah in Hijaz (Saudi Hizbullah) on the Khobar Towers, killing 19 US servicemen and one Saudi national and injuring 498.

1996
September

Panjshir, Afghanistan

1 direct

September 1996

As Kabul falls to the Taliban, the Quds Force's Qassem Suleimani crosses the Iran-Afghanistan border to activate his cell network to establish an Afghan resistance headquarters in the Shia Hazara province of Panjshir.

1997
December

Bosnia and Herzegovina

1 soft

December 1997

The Quds Force instrumentalises Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting to launch a Bosnian-language radio station, and later a TV channel, called Sahar to propagate its ideology in the Western Balkans.

1998
January

Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo

1 direct

1998

Hossein Hamedani, a Quds Force commander later killed in the Syrian Civil War in 2015, arrives in the Democratic Republic of the Congo under the guise of the Islamic Republic's military attaché.

1998
February

Prizren, Kosovo

1 soft

February 1998 – June 1999

The Quds Force uses funds provided by Iran's Culture Centre in Belgrade to form a so-called cultural society to recruit and transfer ethnic Albanians to Iran to undergo ideological indoctrination and return to Europe.

2000
September

Accra, Ghana

1 soft

September 2000

The Ahlul-Bait Foundation establishes the Islamic University College, Ghana. The college later becomes part of Al-Mustafa International University, which is frequently used by the IRGC for recruitment.

2000
October

Iran

1 indirect

October 2000 – February 2001

Iran allows al-Qaeda militants to pass through its borders without receiving stamps in their passports. These militants would later conduct the 9/11 attacks.

2002
January

Red Sea

1 indirect

3 January 2002

Karine A affair: Israel seizes an Iranian-linked vessel found to be carrying 50 tonnes of weapons to the Palestinian Authority.

2002
December

Tehran, Iran

1 direct

December 2002

The Quds Force gains $26 million to strengthen the Badr Corps, an IRGC-manufactured militia of Shia Iraqi refugees, as Khamenei raises with senior military officials the possibility of a US invasion of Iraq.

2003
March

Basra, Iraq

1 direct

March 2003

As the US-led invasion of Iraq begins, Quds Force officials and hundreds of Badr Corps militants covertly cross the border into southern Iraq and connect with Iranian cells, which would be activated to transport Iranian munitions across the border.

2003
March

Iraq

1 soft

March 2003

Under Suleimani's supervision, Sayyid Ammar al-Hakim, the former chief of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, becomes the main coordinator for sending Iraqi Shia clerics to export velayat-e faqih to Shia heartlands.

2003
March

Iraq

1 direct

2003–2011

To inflict maximum harm on US coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Quds Force begins to support grassroots militias, some of which—including al-Qaeda in Iraq and the Taliban in Afghanistan—are ideologically opposed to Tehran and actively hostile towards it. The Quds Force trains, arms and finances local Iraqi and Afghan militant groups that share the goal of attacking US and British forces. This marks the start of the mercenary era of the IRGC's militia doctrine.

2003
March

Afghanistan

1 direct

2003–2011

To inflict maximum harm on US coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Quds Force begins to support grassroots militias, some of which—including al-Qaeda in Iraq and the Taliban in Afghanistan—are ideologically opposed to Tehran and actively hostile towards it. The Quds Force trains, arms and finances local Iraqi and Afghan militant groups that share the goal of attacking US and British forces. This marks the start of the mercenary era of the IRGC's militia doctrine.

2003
May

Iraq

1 indirect

May 2003

Iranian-backed Shia militias in Iraq launch an uprising against the US military presence, unleashing deadly attacks on coalition forces through roadside improvised explosive devices (IEDs), which are made in Iran and supplied by the IRGC.

2003
June

Iraq

1 indirect

June 2003

Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr founds the Shia Islamist militia group the Mahdi Army (Jaysh al-Mahdi). Despite their differences, the Quds Force begins supporting the Mahdi Army, including by training, arming and financing its fighters as part of its mercenary tactic.

2004
May

Iraq

1 indirect

May 2004 – August 2004

The Mahdi Army agrees to a ceasefire with US and coalition forces—a truce that is against Tehran's will and would be broken within months. The IRGC struggles to impose command and control over Sadr's forces and decides to manufacture its own group by splintering pro-Khamenei members of the Mahdi Army.

2004
May

Karbala, Iraq

1 direct

May 2004 – August 2004

After the Mahdi Army's ceasefire with US-led forces, the Quds Force calls on Qais al-Khazali, a pro-Khamenei member of the Mahdi Army, to split from Sadr's movement and operate as an Iranian-backed group.

2005
January

Iran-Afghan border

1 direct

January 2005

Iranian intelligence reportedly delivers $212,000 to fund Afghan militants.

2006
July

Iraq

1 indirect

July 2006

Asaib al-Haaq is formally established as an IRGC-backed Shia militia in Iraq. The group would eventually claim responsibility for over 6,000 attacks on US and coalition forces.

2006
May

Basra, Iraq

1 indirect

6 May 2006

Asaib al-Haaq shoots down a British Lynx helicopter, killing five British soldiers.

2006
July

Lebanon

1 direct

12 July – 14 August 2006

33-Day War: Having successfully tested the Quds Force's insurgency strategy against coalition forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, Suleimani travels to Lebanon to implement this approach against Israel when war breaks out again between Israel and Hizbullah.

2006
July

Lebanon

1 soft

12 July – 14 August 2006

The Quds Force uses Iran's Red Crescent Society and the Imam Khomeini Relief Foundation as cover to smuggle military equipment and weapons from Iran to Lebanon.

2006
August

Bint Jbeil, Lebanon

1 soft

15 August 2006 – 2009

The Iranian Committee for the Reconstruction of Lebanon is founded to rebuild the country after the 33-Day War. By 2009, the Islamic Republic has implemented nearly 400 development projects in the Shia-populated areas of Southern Lebanon with the aim of promoting Tehran's brand of Islamism and nurturing support for Hizbullah.

2006
December

Gaza Strip, Palestinian Territories

1 direct

December 2006

The Quds Force provides $22 million in cash to the Palestinian militant group Hamas during its first trip to Tehran after taking office following the March 2006 Palestinian election.

2007
January

Qom, Iran

1 soft

2007

Khamenei founds Al-Mustafa International University as a merger of two Iranian religious organisations: the World Centre of Islamic Sciences and the Organisation of Seminarians. Al-Mustafa is Iran's global engine of indoctrination and greatest soft-power asset abroad. The university is de facto affiliated with the Quds Force, providing a nominally legitimate cover to operate beyond Iran's borders.

2007
January

Karbala, Iraq

1 indirect

20 January 2007

Asaib al-Haaq kidnaps five US soldiers, all of whom are killed.

2007
March

Persian Gulf

1 direct

23 March 2007

The IRGC detains 15 British Royal Navy personnel from HMS Cornwall off the Iran-Iraq coast.

2007
May

Baghdad, Iraq

1 indirect

29 May 2007

An Iranian proxy militia in Iraq kidnaps five British men, including computer expert Peter Moore. The Quds Force coordinates the attack, and the hostages are reportedly taken to Iran. Moore is released in exchange for Qais al-Khazali, Laith al-Khazali and a senior member of Hizbullah, but the other four Britons are executed.

2007
July

Tehran, Iran

1 soft

8 July 2007

Iran launches Press TV as a state-owned news and documentary network that broadcasts in English and French. Press TV is part of Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting and seeks to propagate the regime's ideology.

2007
August

Iraq

1 indirect

August 2007

Kataib Hizbullah, an IRGC-manufactured militia, is formed from a merger of several IRGC-backed Shia militias under the leadership of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, an Iraqi-Iranian dual national and a member of the IRGC's Badr Corps.

2008
February

Baghdad, Iraq

1 indirect

19 February 2008

Kataib Hizbullah launches an improvised rocket-assisted munition explosive device at a US military base southeast of Baghdad, killing one American civilian.

2008
June

Baghdad, Iraq

1 indirect

4 June 2008

Kataib Hizbullah conducts an attack that is meant to target coalition forces but instead kills 18 civilians, wounds 29 and destroys 19 homes.

2008
November

Iraq

1 soft

November 2008

The Imam Khomeini Relief Foundation has established a presence in all of Iraq's 11 Shia provinces, effectively operating as a recruitment centre for Shia militias. The Khamenei-run charity is an ideological front and plays a key role in supporting the IRGC's operations, from recruitment efforts to the transportation of munitions.

2008
November

Baghdad, Iraq

1 indirect

29 November 2008

A Kataib Hizbullah rocket attack on a UN compound in Baghdad's Green Zone kills two contractors and wounds 15.

2009
January

Jakarta, Indonesia

1 soft

2009

Al-Mustafa International University establishes a branch in Jakarta under the name Islamic College Jakarta.

2009
June

Iran

1 direct

June 2009 – February 2010

The IRGC and its Basij civil militia crush the anti-regime Green Movement uprising, which was sparked by the fraudulent 2009 presidential election. Regime forces kill at least 72 civilians and detain over 4,000.

2009
December

San Francisco, US

1 direct

December 2009

A group that calls itself the Iranian Cyber Army and is linked to the IRGC launches a cyberattack on Twitter to redirect users to a third-party, pro-regime propaganda site.

2009
September

Glendora, California, US

1 indirect

September 2009

An Iranian operative attempts to hire a hitman to assassinate a famous Iranian-American opponent of the regime.

2010
January

Kano, Nigeria

1 soft

2010

A branch of Al-Mustafa International University is established in Kano.

2010
September

Calabria, Italy

1 direct

22 September 2010

Italian police intercept an arms delivery from Iran to Syria and seize seven tonnes of explosives.

2010
October

Lagos, Nigeria

1 indirect

October 2010

Nigerian authorities seize an Iranian shipment of weapons for rebel groups in The Gambia and Senegal.

2011
February

Yemen

1 direct

February 2011

Yemeni authorities seize an Iranian fishing vessel carrying 900 Iranian-made anti-tank and anti-helicopter rockets bound for Houthi rebels.

2011
February

Nimruz, Afghanistan

1 direct

February 2011

British special forces in Afghanistan intercept an Iranian shipment of rockets to the Taliban.

2011
April

Damascus, Syria

1 direct

April 2011 – present

After the start of the Syrian uprising, the Quds Force uses Iranian civilian airlines Mahan Air and Iran Air to transport vital supplies, such as arms, money and personnel, to the army of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

2011
May

Karachi, Pakistan

1 indirect

16 May 2011

Operatives linked to the Quds Force assassinate Saudi diplomat Hassan al-Qahtani.

2011
May

Warnes, Bolivia

1 direct

May 2011

Ahmad Vahidi, Iran's defence minister and the first Quds Force commander, visits Bolivia for the inauguration of the country's military college. Up to 300 Quds Force members are transferred to Bolivia to serve as trainers at the college.

2011
May

Baghdad, Iraq

1 indirect

6 June 2011

A Kataib Hizbullah rocket attack on a US base kills five US soldiers.

2011
June

Zurbatiyah, Iraq

1 indirect

29 June 2011

A Kataib Hizbullah attack using Iranian-made rockets kills three US soldiers at a US base on Iraq's border with Iran.

2011
September

Tehran, Iran

1 soft

17 September 2011

Iran hosts the inaugural Islamic Awakening conference in response to the Arab Spring uprisings. Tehran invites Islamist groups including the Taliban to take part. An IRGC commander vows to "transfer its experiences" to the protesters.

2011
September

New York, US

1 direct

29 September 2011

A Quds Force operative is arrested in New York for planning to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the US in a restaurant in Washington, DC.

2011
November

Tehran, Iran

1 direct

29 November 2011

The IRGC's Basij unit attacks and ransacks the British Embassy in Tehran.

2011
December

New York, US

1 direct

December 2011 – May 2013

Over 176 days, Iranian hackers linked to the IRGC target 46 major financial institutions and corporations, leaving hundreds of thousands of customers unable to access their bank accounts. The organisations affected spend tens of millions of dollars to mitigate and neutralise the attacks.

2011
December

Bolivia

1 soft

21 December 2011

Iran launches a state-owned Spanish-language channel, operated by Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, with the goal of propagating its ideology to Latin American states. This follows then Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's aim to deepen ties with anti-Western governments in Latin America and the transfer of IRGC operatives to Venezuela and Bolivia.

2012
January

Damascus, Syria

1 direct

3 January 2012

Quds Force commander Hossein Hamedani, who was in charge of violently suppressing Iran's 2009 Green Movement, arrives in Syria to advise Assad on how to crush the Syrian uprising. Hamedani creates a Syrian Basij-style volunteer force, which becomes known as the National Defence Force, to help preserve the Assad regime.

2012
January

Damascus, Syria

1 direct

January 2012

The IRGC's plan to save Assad by creating a Syrian Basij has five dimensions: military, security, economic, political and, crucially, cultural-ideological.

2012
January

Turkey

1 direct

2012

Four Quds Force operatives are arrested for plotting an attack against Israeli targets.

2012
February

New Delhi, India

1 direct

13 February 2012

The Quds Force orchestrates a failed bomb attack on an Israeli diplomat, injuring four people.

2012
February

Tbilisi, Georgia

1 direct

13 February 2012

Georgian intelligence foils a Quds Force bomb plot, which aimed to target the Israeli Embassy in Tbilisi.

2012
February

Bangkok, Thailand

1 direct

14 February 2012

A Quds Force bomb plot to assassinate Israeli diplomats fails but injures five people.

2012
June

Mombasa, Kenya

1 direct

June 2012

Two Quds Force operatives arrive in Kenya and travel to Mombasa to receive explosives, having carried out surveillance on Israeli, British, US and Saudi targets in Kenya. Both operatives are arrested on 19 June in Mombasa.

2012
July

Cyprus

1 indirect

7 July 2012

Cypriot police arrest Hossam Yaacoub, a Swedish-Lebanese dual national, on suspicion of being a Hizbullah operative engaged in surveillance of Israeli tourists arriving in Cyprus.

2012
July

Burgas, Bulgaria

1 indirect

18 July 2012

The Quds Force coordinates a Hizbullah bus suicide bomb attack that kills five Israelis and a Bulgarian.

2013
February

Abuja, Nigeria

1 direct

21 February 2013

Members of an Iranian-funded cell that was trained in Iran are arrested for plotting attacks on Nigerian leaders, including former military leader Ibrahim Babangida and the former sultan of Sokoto, Ibrahim Dasuki, as well as the Saudi ambassador to Nigeria, and for conducting surveillance on US and Israeli targets in Nigeria, including USAID offices.

2013
April

Syria

1 soft

April 2013 onwards

The Quds Force transforms its intervention in Syria into a religious-ideological cause and doubles down on sectarianism, propagating the idea that Shiism is under attack after Salafi-jihadi attacks on Shia shrines. The Quds Force calls on Shia communities to pick up arms in "defence of the holy shrines".

2013
April

Kathmandu, Nepal

1 direct

13 April 2013

An Iranian operative travelling on a fake Israeli passport is arrested on suspicion of plotting a terrorist attack after he carried out surveillance on the Israeli Embassy.

2013
April

Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

1 direct

April 2013

Bosnia and Herzegovina expels two Iranian diplomats for espionage and connections to terrorism.

2013
April

Syria and Iraq

1 direct

April 2013

From 2013 onwards, the push to create IRGC-manufactured militias leads to the formation of several new groups to defend Shia shrines, including Liwa Abu al-Fadhal al-Abbas, Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada and Harakat Hizbullah al-Nujaba. The new groups consist primarily of Shia Iraqis, including refugees in Syria. Fighting under the collective banner of the Heydarioun, these militants were prepared for the IRGC's mission in Syria and embrace velayat-e faqih to varying degrees.

2013
May

Kano, Nigeria

1 indirect

May 2013

The Nigerian state security service discovers Hizbullah armoury in Kano. Three Lebanese nationals are arrested.

2013
August

East Ghouta, Damascus, Syria

1 indirect

21 August 2013

The IRGC-backed militia Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada is speculated to have been involved in the Assad regime's chemical weapons attack on a Damascus suburb. The regime reportedly used the militia to surround the area under attack to prevent rebel fighters from escaping.

2013
December

Mashhad, Iran

1 direct

Winter 2013

The Quds Force manufactures a new Shia militia, the Afghan Fatemiyoun. The Quds Force recruits the Fatemiyoun's membership from Iran's Afghan Shia refugee population and Afghan clerical students studying at Al-Mustafa International University.

2014
March

Syria

1 indirect

March 2014 – present

The first contingent of IRGC-trained Pakistani Shia fighters arrives in Syria under the name Zeinabiyoun. They begin as a 24-man fighting unit but have an estimated fighting force of up to 1,000 militants by 2015.

2014
March

Afghanistan and Pakistan

1 soft

2013–present

Al-Mustafa International University boasts that it has helped recruit fighters for the IRGC's Afghan Shia militia, the Fatemiyoun, and its Pakistani Shia militia, the Zeinabiyoun.

2014
March
2014
June

Baghdad, Iraq

1 indirect

June 2014 – present

A fatwa by Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani leads to the creation of the Iraqi Popular Mobilisation Units (PMU), or Hashd al-Shaabi. The PMU is an umbrella militia that houses 40 paramilitary groups with more than 140,000 fighters. Armed, trained and ready to be deployed, the IRGC's Iraqi proxies, under the banner of the Heydarioun, provide the foundation of the PMU.

2015
February

Montevideo, Uruguay

1 direct

6 February 2015

A senior Iranian diplomat is expelled from Uruguay for planning an attack near the Israeli Embassy.

2015
March

Turkey

1 direct

31 March 2015

An Iranian-based hacker group with ties to the IRGC disrupts energy infrastructure in Turkey, leading to a 12-hour power cut in over half of the country's provinces.

2015
April

Tikrit, Iraq

1 direct

April 2015

Battle of Tikrit: IRGC forces battle ISIS, with air support and artillery from US-led coalition forces.

2015
May

Cyprus

1 indirect

May 2015

A member of Hizbullah is imprisoned in Cyprus for stockpiling explosive material to conduct attacks against Jewish targets in the country.

2015
July

Moscow, Russia

1 direct

24 July 2015

Quds Force Commander Qassem Suleimani breaks a UN travel ban and travels to Moscow to ask for a Russian intervention in the Syrian conflict. Russia's military intervenes weeks later.

2015
September

London, UK

1 indirect

30 September 2015

British intelligence services discover that Hizbullah has been stockpiling explosive materials in London. Three tonnes of ammonium nitrate are found at an Iranian-linked bomb factory.

2015
December

Almere, the Netherlands

1 direct

15 December 2015

Iranian dissident Mohammed Reza Kolahi Samadi is assassinated in the Netherlands by local criminals hired by the Islamic Republic.

2016
January

Tehran, Iran

1 direct

4 January 2016

The IRGC's Basij members attack and torch the Saudi Embassy in Tehran.

2016
February

Manila, Philippines

1 direct

24 February 2016

An Iranian plot to hijack a Saudi aircraft is foiled.

2016
July

Falluja, Iraq

1 indirect

5 July 2016

The UN reports that Iranian-backed Shia militants from Kataib Hizbullah who fought alongside the Iraqi army against ISIS in Falluja may have seized some 900 civilian men and boys and killed nearly 50, as well as torturing many detainees.

2016
November

Nairobi, Kenya

1 direct

29 November 2016

Two Iranians working at the Iranian Embassy in Kenya are arrested on terrorism charges after carrying out surveillance on the Israeli Embassy.

2017
January

Red Sea

1 indirect

30 January 2017

Iranian-backed Houthi rebels attack a Saudi frigate in the Red Sea via an unmanned boat likely supplied by the IRGC.

2017
March

Berlin, Germany

1 direct

27 March 2017

A Pakistani man is convicted of spying for Iran and identifying potential targets for the Quds Force in Germany.

2017
April

Istanbul, Turkey

1 direct

29 April 2017

The Quds Force assassinates Saeed Karimian, an Iranian TV executive and the owner of the United Arab Emirates–based Persian-language TV channel GEM TV.

2017
June

New York, US

1 indirect

1 June 2017

The US arrests two men linked to Hizbullah for planning attacks against Israeli and American targets in the US, including New York City's JFK International Airport.

2017
June

Deir ez-Zour, Syria

1 direct

18 June 2017

The IRGC fires six surface-to-surface ballistic missiles at an ISIS camp in Deir ez-Zour following ISIS terrorist attacks in Tehran.

2017
June

London, UK

1 direct

23 June 2017

An Iranian hacker group tied to the IRGC conducts a cyberattack on the UK parliament, which compromises the email accounts of 90 parliamentarians.

2017
July

Chicago, US

1 direct

21 July 2017

Ahmadreza Mohammadi-Doostdar, a US-Iranian dual national acting as an agent for Iran's regime, conducts covert surveillance of Israeli and Jewish facilities in Chicago.

2017
September

New York City, US

1 direct

20 September 2017

Majid Ghorbani, an Iranian citizen living in California and acting as an agent for Iran's regime, conducts covert surveillance by collecting identifying information about US citizens who are members of the dissident group People's Mujahideen of Iran.

2017
October

Tikrit, Iraq

1 indirect

1 October 2017

An Iranian-backed militia conducts an explosively formed penetrator attack that kills one US soldier and wounds another.

2017
November

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

1 indirect

4 November 2017

Yemeni Houthis fire a ballistic missile supplied by the Quds Force at Riyadh International Airport. Saudi Arabia describes this as an "act of war" committed by Iran.

2017
November

The Hague, the Netherlands

1 direct

8 November 2017

Ahmad Mola Nissi, an Iranian dissident, is assassinated in The Hague by local criminals hired by the Islamic Republic.

2017
December

Iran nationwide

1 direct

28 December 2017 – 7 January 2018

Anti-regime protests erupt across Iran. The IRGC and security forces suppress the demonstrations, killing 25 and detaining 4,000.

2018
January

Germany

1 direct

16 January 2018

German authorities conduct ten raids targeting a suspected Iranian spy cell linked to the Quds Force. Raids occur in Berlin, Baden-Württemberg, North Rhine–Westphalia and Bavaria.

2018
January
2018
January
2018
January
2018
February

Israel

1 direct

10 February 2018

The Israeli Defence Forces shoot down an IRGC drone loaded with explosives after it crosses Israel's northern border.

2018
May

Golan Heights, Israel

1 direct

10 May 2018

The Quds Force fires approximately 20 rockets towards the forward line of Israeli Defence Forces positions in the Golan Heights.

2018
June

Luxembourg City, Luxembourg

1 direct

28 June 2018

Paris bomb plot: Two Belgian nationals of Iranian origin drive from the Belgian city of Antwerp to Luxembourg and reportedly meet Assadollah Assadi, an Iranian diplomat serving at the Iranian Embassy in Vienna. According to Belgian police, Assadi hands over a package containing half a kilogram of explosives and a detonator to bomb a rally of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, an Iranian dissident group, near Paris.

2018
July

Brussels, Belgium; Aschaffenburg, Germany; and Paris, France,

1 direct

1 July 2018

Paris bomb plot: Two Belgian nationals of Iranian origin are arrested in Brussels while driving to France. German police also arrest Assadi in Bavaria as he returns to Austria, and French police arrest an Iranian man in Paris who was accused of being an accomplice. All four suspects are accused of attempted terrorist murder and preparing an act of terrorism.

2018
July
2018
July
2018
September

Copenhagen, Denmark

1 direct

28 September 2018

Danish authorities foil an assassination attempt by Iranian intelligence targeting Arab-Iranian activists. A senior Iranian intelligence operative with Norwegian citizenship is arrested for planning the assassinations of three Iranians living in exile in Denmark.

2018
December

Tirana, Albania

1 direct

18 December 2018

Albanian authorities expel Iranian ambassador to Tirana and another diplomat for threatening the security of the country. The US describes the diplomats as “two Iranian agents who plotted terrorist attacks in Albania.” An unconfirmed report suggests the plots were linked to a 2016 World Cup qualifier football match between Albania and Israel. Another suggests an increasing threat to exiled Iranian dissident group Mujahideen-e Khalq, which is based in Albania.

2019
May

Fujairah coast, Gulf of Oman

1 direct

12 May 2019

The IRGC sabotages an attack on four commercial ships—two Saudi oil tankers, a Norwegian oil tanker and an Emirati ship—in the Gulf of Oman.

2019
May

Baghdad, Iraq

1 indirect

19 May 2019

An Iranian-backed militia fires a rocket that lands near the US Embassy in Baghdad, and the US holds Iran responsible. The rocket is fired from east Baghdad, the area home to Iranian-backed militias.

2019
June

Gulf of Oman, Indian Ocean

1 direct

13 June 2019

The IRGC uses limpet mines to attack two oil tankers—operated by a Japanese company and a Norwegian company—near the Strait of Hormuz.

2019
June

Strait of Hormuz, Persian Gulf

1 direct

20 June 2019

The IRGC shoots down a US drone over international waters.

2019
July

Strait of Hormuz, Persian Gulf

1 direct

19 July 2020

The IRGC hijacks and seizes a British-flagged oil tanker, the Stena Impero.

2019
September

Iraq

1 direct

September 2019

Rouhollah Zam, a dissident Iranian journalist and head of a popular news site, is kidnapped and transferred to Iran by the IRGC and later sentenced to death.

2019
September

Ramyah, Lebanon

1 indirect

9 September 2019

Hizbullah claims to have shot down an Israeli unmanned aircraft in Lebanese airspace.

2019
September

Abqaiq and Khurais, Saudi Arabia

1 indirect

14 September 2019

The IRGC orchestrates a drone attack on the state-owned Saudi Aramco oil processing facilities carried out by Houthi rebels.

2019
September
2019
October

Tahrir Square, Baghdad, Iraq

1 indirect

1 October – December 2019

Anti-corruption protests erupt with strong sentiment against the Iranian regime. On the orders of Quds Force commander Qassem Suleimani, Iranian-backed militias in Iraq violently suppress the protests. As many as 500 unarmed civilians are killed and a further 27,000 injured.

2019
October

Baghdad, Iraq

1 direct

2 October 2019

As protests erupt, Quds Force commander Qassem Suleimani travels to Baghdad and chairs a security meeting where he orders Iranian-backed militias to crack down on demonstrations, reportedly saying, "We in Iran know how to deal with protests". The death toll the next day rises above 100.

2019
November

Iran nationwide

1 direct

15–21 November 2019

Anti-regime protests break out across Iran. IRGC and security forces kill 1,500 protesters, and the Iranian government shuts down the internet in the country for six days.

2019
December

Kirkuk, Iraq

1 indirect

27 December 2019

A rocket attack conducted by Iran proxy Kataib Hizbullah targets the K-1 Air Base, killing a US civilian contractor and wounding several US service members and Iraqi soldiers.

2019
December

Baghdad, Iraq

1 indirect

31 December 2019

Iran-backed militias storm US Embassy.

2020
January

London, UK

1 soft

3 January 2020

The Islamic Centre of England, a UK-registered charity, hosts a vigil for Qassem Suleimani, the Quds Force commander killed in a US drone strike that day. Suleimani – a designated terrorist in the UK – is praised as a “great martyr”.

2020
January

Anbar Province and Erbil, Iraq

1 direct

8 January 2020

The IRGC launches 13 ballistic missiles at two military bases in Iraq, Ain al-Asad and Erbil, which host US and Coalition forces. 110 US troops are diagnosed with and treated for traumatic brain injuries from the attack.

2020
January
2020
January

Tehran, Iran

1 direct

8 January 2020

The IRGC fires two missiles at a Ukrainian civilian aircraft in Iranian airspace, killing all 176 people on board. Iran cites "human error" for the mistake, but experts note Tehran deliberately kept civilian airspace open to deter a US retaliation in response to its ballistic missile attack on US bases in Iraq.

2020
January

Tirana, Albania

1 direct

January 2020

Albania expels two Iranian diplomats, Seyed Ahmed Hosseini Alast and Mohamed Peimanemati, in breach of their diplomatic status and the Vienna Convention. Alast, Iran’s cultural attaché in Tirana, was a member of the IRGC, and Peimanemati was a member of Iran’s Intelligence Agency, MOIS.

2020
March

Camp Taji, Iraq

1 indirect

11 March 2020

Iranian-backed militia Kataib Hizbullah launches a rocket attack, killing two US troops and one British soldier and injuring 12 people.

2020
May

Caracas, Venezuela

1 direct

May 2020

Iran defies US oil sanctions and sends five oil tankers to Venezuela. The shipment to the Maduro regime was supplied by the IRGC’s Khatam al-Anbiya refineries.

2020
July

Baghdad, Iraq

1 indirect

5 July 2020

Following a raid a week earlier by Iraqi security forces on a headquarters of Iranian-backed militia Kataib Hizbullah in southern Baghdad, the militia fires a rocket towards the Green Zone, injuring a child.

2020
July

Baghdad, Iraq

1 indirect

11 July 2020

Iran-backed militia attacks a US military convoy carrying logistics supplies, destroying three vehicles.

2020
July

Caracas, Venezuela

1 soft

5 July 2020

Iranian conglomerate Etka (which is owned by the country’s military and tied to the IRGC) establishes a retail foothold in Venezuela. The opening ceremony is held in Caracas with the company's head, Abas Rezaie, who is former financial director of the IRGC's construction firm Khatam al-Anbiya.

2020
September

Tehran, Iran

1 direct

12 September 2020

The IRGC issues an official statement condemning the Israel-Bahrain peace agreement (the Abraham Accords) and warns of a possible Shia insurgency in Bahrain, stating, "Those responsible for this betrayal will be the target of sacred and harsh revenge of the Islamic ummah, especially Bahrain’s Shia people".

2020
September

Bahrain

1 indirect

17 September 2020

Following the signing of the Abraham Accords between Israel, Bahrain and the UAE, a new Shia militia, Sarayat Shohada al-Quds (or "Quds [Jerusalem] Martyrs Squad") is formed. This new Shia militant group has sworn to “counter Zionist enemies”.

2020
September

Iraq

1 indirect

17 September 2020

A new armed militia calling itself Saraya Qassem al-Jabbarin announces its establishment and takes responsibility for two attacks on US convoys.

2020
September

Iraq

1 indirect

27 September 2020

A new Shia militia in Iraq named al-Ghashieh announces its establishment with a proclaimed mission of targeting US forces. IRGC-linked media describe the group as being part of Iran's "Axis of Resistance".

2020
September

India

1 soft

29 September 2020

Al-Mustafa International University, which is de facto affiliated with the Quds Force, launches an online university in India for all Indian students.

2020
October

Istanbul, Turkey

1 direct

October 2020

IRGC intelligence abducts the Iranian-Swedish political activist Habib Chaab and smuggles him to Iran, where Chaab now faces execution.

2020
November

Manama, Bahrain

1 indirect

3 November 2020

Bahrain convicts 51 people of membership in a terrorist organisation that was planning to carry out attacks in the Gulf kingdom with support from the IRGC.

2021
January

Persian Gulf

1 direct

4 January 2021

The IRGC seizes a South Korea-flagged oil tanker in the waters of the Persian Gulf in an attempt to force Seoul to free billions in frozen assets.

2021
February

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

1 indirect

February 2021

Ethiopian authorities arrest 16 people from an Iranian cell planning an attack on the UAE Embassy.