The Nature of the Iranian Regime under Supreme Leader Khamenei
• For 28 years, Ali Khamenei has been Iran’s Supreme Leader. Before that, he held the office of President for 8 years. In that time, he has shaped the Iranian regime in his image.
• Khamenei and the IRGC have pursued a steady policy of spreading a revolutionary ideology aimed at undermining the international system and many states by force and subversion. His main enemy and rallying point has been and continues to be the United States of America, which he calls the Great Satan.
• Under Khamenei, Iran exports violence, destabilizes its neighbors, and sponsors terrorism abroad. Within Iran, under Khamenei’s rule the Iranian government has oppressed its people, abusing their rights, restricting their access to the internet and the outside world, rigging elections, shooting student protesters in the street, and imprisoning political reformers like Mir Hussein Musavi and Mehdi Karroubi.
The Threats from the Iranian Regime
• The reckless behavior of the Iranian regime, and the IRGC in particular, poses one of the most dangerous threats to the interests of the United States and to regional stability.
• The Iranian regime has taken advantage of regional conflicts and instability to aggressively expand its regional influence and threaten its neighbors with little domestic or international cost for its actions.
• This occurred most recently following the emergence of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) from the vacuum created by the Obama administration’s ill-considered withdrawal from the region.
• The full range of the Iranian regime’s malign activities extends well beyond the nuclear threat it poses, including:
o Ballistic missile development and proliferation;
o Material and financial support for terrorism and extremism;
o Support for the Assad regime’s atrocities against the Syrian people;
o Unrelenting hostility to Israel;
o Consistently threatening freedom of navigation, especially in the strategically vital Persian Gulf;
o Cyber-attacks against the United States, Israel, and America’s other allies and partners in the Middle East;
o Grievous human rights abuses; and
o Arbitrary detention of foreigners, including United States citizens, on specious charges and without due process.