Iran Trying to Expand Influence Into Kashmir

This month, Mehr News Agency published an article about Iranian concern for Kashmiri civilians in the face of what they deem Indian oppression.

Tehran-based Mehr News Agency is owned and operated by an organization called the Islamic Ideology Dissemination Organization (IIDO). IIDO is the propaganda arm of the Islamic revolution of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Kashmir is an Indian-administered territory that has been a subject of dispute between India, Pakistan and China. Islamists, like Lashkar e Taiba, backed by Pakistan, have attempted to seize the territory for decades.

Iran is attempting to lead the entire Islamic world, despite historic Shiite-Sunni tensions. Kashmiri Muslims are Sunni, but Shiite Tehran has frequently worked with Sunni groups:

  • Iran is the chief sponsor of the Sunni terrorist group Hamas which weeks to replace Israel with an Islamic state ruled by Sharia. This is consistent with Iran’s other efforts to provide Sunni terrorist groups with weaponry and training.
  • Iran has defense agreements with the Sunni regime in Sudan, a fellow state sponsor of terrorism.
  • Iran—and its Shiite terrorist proxy Hezbollah in Lebanon – have periodically provided safe haven, training, and arms to al Qaeda, a Sunni terrorist group.
  • According to US military leaders in Afghanistan, Iran has provided weaponry and support for the Taliban, which is Sunni.

Iran may be using the Kashmir conflict to get closer to Pakistan. This could be a game changer because traditionally, the Pakistanis (80% Sunni) have not been interested in working with the Iranians. A Pakistani-Iranian alliance would be very beneficial to Iran and could possibly include a transfer of Pakistani nuclear technology.

About Christopher Holton

Christopher Holton is a Senior Analyst and Director of State Outreach at the Center for Security Policy. Mr. Holton came to the Center after serving as president and marketing director of Blanchard & Co. and editor-in-chief of the Blanchard Economic Research Unit from 1990 to 2003