IRGC-Quds Force

Also Known As: 

Qods Force
Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force
Pasdaran-e Enghelab-e Islami
Sepah-e Qods
Jerusalem Force
Al Qods

Weapon Program: 

  • Military

A branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) that supports terrorist organizations.

Provides financial and military support to militant and terrorist groups, including to Hezbollah and groups in Africa; officers have trafficked narcotics and use diplomatic, non-governmental, and humanitarian organizations as cover for operational activities; has provided support and equipment to the Syrian government to repress civilian movements; has cooperated with Yas Air (Pars Aviation Services Company), Mahan Air, and Iran Air, to reportedly supply the Syrian government with weapons and crowd control equipment; reportedly uses Syria as a hub to transfer weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza, and Islamic Jihad in the West Bank; has used DFS Worldwide to ship goods from Dubai to Tehran.

Has provided weapons, training, funding, and guidance to Shi'a militants in Iraq; has reportedly supplied Iraqi militants with explosively formed penetrators (EFP) and the shaped charges used in improvised explosive devices (IEDs); has allegedly supplied bomb-making equipment to anti-government forces in Iraq, including material for 50 EFPs that was reportedly discovered in trucks crossing the Iranian border into Afghanistan.

Used Bank Melli for financial services and was sent at least $100 million through Bank Melli between 2002 and 2006; is reportedly financed through foreign-based shell companies which it directly owns or with which it is affiliated; reportedly uses a network of front companies throughout the Gulf region to finance its operations, including a stake in the Bonyard e Mostazafan va Janbazan (Bonyad e Mostazafan Foundation); received assistance from a network designated by the U.S. Department of the Treasury on November 20, 2017 for having circumvented European export control restrictions and for having procured equipment and materials in a scheme to counterfeit currency in support of the destabilizing activities in Yemen.

In October 2010, facilitated an attempted weapons shipment including grenades, rockets, mortars, and ammunition to The Gambia; weapons were shipped by Behineh Trading and Ali Abbas Usman Jega before being seized in Nigeria.

Oversees Unit 190, which has reportedly smuggled arms to conflict zones across the Middle East and Africa, including to Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen, using land, air, and sea routes; Unit 190 reportedly uses a network of front companies to circumvent sanctions and allegedly smuggles weapons, including rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), night-vision equipment, and long-range rockets, packed within everyday items, such as powdered milk, cement, and spare vehicle parts.

Commanded by Brigadier General Qasem Soleimani since 1998; other members include Hosein Afghajani, Akbar Seyed Alhosseini, Hushang Allahdad (financial officer), General Gholamreza Baghbani, Hasan Deghan Ebrahimi, Alireza Hemmati, Deputy Commander Esmail Ghani, Ali Sharifi, Alireza Shirazi (representative of the Supreme Leader), Sayyid Ali Akbar Tabatabaei (commander of the IRGC-QF Africa Corps), and reportedly Saeed Izaddhi (head of the Palestinian unit); officials have also included Brigadier General Ahmed Foruzandeh, Colonel Hasan Mortezavi, General Hossein Musavi (commander of the IRGC Quds Force Ansar Corps), Deputy Commander Abdul Reza Shahlai, and Mohammad Reza Zahedi (commander of the IRGC Quds Force in Lebanon).


Listed by the European Union on July 26, 2010 as an entity linked to Iran's proliferation-sensitive nuclear activities or Iran's development of nuclear weapon delivery systems; with some exceptions, European Union member states must freeze all funds and economic resources owned, held, or controlled by the listed entity, and prevent funds or economic resources from being made available to it.

Sanctioned (with all successors, sub-units, and subsidiaries) by the United States on April 30, 2018, June 28, 2016, August 28, 2015, December 19, 2014, and May 23, 2011 under the Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Act; sanctions apply for two years and ban the U.S. government from procuring from, contracting with, providing assistance to, or issuing export licenses involving controlled items for the entity; added on October 25, 2007 to the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list maintained by the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), blocking its assets under U.S. jurisdiction and prohibiting transactions with U.S. parties, pursuant to Executive Order 13224, which targets terrorists and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism; foreign parties facilitating transactions for the entity or otherwise assisting the entity are subject to U.S. sanctions.

Sanctioned by the governments of Australia and South Korea, restricting business and financial transactions with the entity and/or freezing its assets in those countries.

Listed by the Japanese government in 2018 as an entity of concern for proliferation relating to missiles; added by the Canadian government to its list of terrorist entities on December 17, 2012.

Mentioned Suspect Entities & Suppliers: 

Date Entered: 

January 1, 2009

Date Last Modified: 

August 14, 2018