The Islamic Republic is using Iranian students abroad, including those on government scholarships, to spread its Islamist ideology throughout Europe, according to new reports.
Iranian university students living in the diaspora or studying abroad are allegedly being used as tools by the regime to promote Shiite Islamism in Western countries and recruited to transfer information and know-how to the um-ul-Qora (Islamic motherland).
This latest report comes as the Islamic Republic’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, appointed Ahmad Vaezi to oversee the Islamic students’ organizations in Europe in 2020.
Vaezi is a direct link between Khamenei’s office and the Islamic Students Associations in Europe and has been an ardent supporter of the Islamic Republic regime. In a letter written to members of his union, Vaez called on members to “follow your role model, the great leader of Islam, martyr Qasem Soleimani.”
Qasem Soleimani was the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force (Jerusalem Force) Chief who was neutralized during the Trump administration.
Following the 1979 Islamic Revolution led by then-Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Islamic Republic created various pro-regime entities that supported Shia Islam and the overthrow of governments hostile to the mullahs. The university scholarships provided by the regime allow Iranian university students to pursue their education by getting loans, working, and using their hard-earned parents’ savings.
However, because of such privileges, students are ordered to perform several functions for the regime, including spreading political propaganda, participating in anti-Israel Quds rallies, and recruiting their professors and colleagues to steal information for strengthening military and technical knowledge to be passed back to the mullahs, as well as establishing pro-regime companies to help Tehran’s military programs.
Since 2020, Members of the Islamic Students Association in Britain have met at least eight times with commanders and members of the IRGC, who have given speeches on anti-Semitism and anti-West sentiments. The U.K.-based organization also organized a technological conference in Tehran in 2023 with invitees, including faculty members living in the U.K. and people involved in tech companies in Iran who work for the IRGC.
In the U.K., members of the Parliament have called on the British government to proscribe the IRCG as a terrorist organization while calling on British authorities to investigate ties between various Islamic centers and the regime in Tehran.
Following Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre against Israel, Iran has praised left-wing progressive student groups, Muslim groups, and Palestinian groups in Europe and the United States for standing with Hamas.