by WorldTribune Staff, January 20, 2017
Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) stands to profit greatly for helping Syrian President Bashar Assad take back most of his country from rebel forces.
It what an opposition group called the “looting of the Syrian people,” the IRGC is expected to reap huge financial benefits from the telecommunications and mining deals Syria signed with Iran this week.
Analysts said the IRGC, a military force that runs a powerful industrial empire in Iran, would especially benefit from the mobile network contract. The IRGC largely controls telecommunications in Iran.
“Telecoms are a very sensitive industry. It will allow Iran to closely monitor Syrian communications,” said Karim Sadjadpour, senior associate of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Middle East program.
Teheran has also shown interest in helping Syria rebuild its roads, airports, power stations and ports, another potential boon to the IRGC, which owns the biggest construction firms in Iran.
One political opposition group called the deals “illegal and unacceptable” under any circumstances.
“These agreements represent further a blatant violation of Syria’s sovereignty as they are meant to reward an occupation force in return for its involvement in shedding the Syrian people’s blood and attempting to break their will,” the Syrian National Coalition said in a statement on its website.
More than 1,000 soldiers deployed by the IRGC to Syria have been killed on front lines of the conflict in recent years.
Apart from military assistance, Syria is increasingly indebted to Iran financially: Teheran opened a $3.5 billion credit line in 2013, and extended it by $1 billion in 2015, which economists say has helped keep the Syrian economy afloat.
SANA quoted Iran’s vice president Eshaq Jahangiri as saying Teheran was ready to “implement a new credit line between Syrian Trade Bank and Export Development Bank of Iran” to help trade.