The mullah regime will not abandon its world plan to expand and spread its extremist Shiite approach, or what Tehran calls “exporting the Iranian revolution,” to the Arab and Islamic world. It uses extremist tricks to spread terrorism and exploit different groups of people, including men, women and children, recruiting them and throwing them onto the battlefield. But it is not unusual for a regime that carries out terrorism to use children as arms in wars instead of striving to provide them with a quality education that would benefit the state.

Basij Students

In this context, the Iranian regime inaugurated an institutional entity to recruit children for wars and train them to fight. The Student Mobilization Foundation, also known as the Basij Students, is affiliated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), as it bears the same name as the IRGC Basij Forces. There are also the Basij women’s units that work to suppress dissent and liquidate opponents. The mullahs use these institutions at any time to spread and carry out terrorist acts.

The Basij Students was launched after the Iranian revolution in 1979 to take part in the Iraq-Iran war that started in 1980. With the start of the war, thousands of children were sent as volunteers for the IRGC, and nearly 36,000 students were killed.

The Iranian regime provides significant funding and support for this institution, and families and children are encouraged to be recruited and participate in the institution to defend their country. According to Iranian media, more than half of the students recruited into the Basij Students are in the primary stage of education at ages no more than 12 years old.

Lures of recruitment

The Iranian regime is not shy about admitting its recruitment of children to be planted on the fronts of battle. Eleven years after its establishment, the Iranian Cabinet issued the executive regulations for this institution, which provides for psychological training of children so that they are mentally and physically able to contribute to the war effort. The students are given cultural and enthusiastic courses on the curriculum of the Khomeinist doctrine, in addition to training in the method of carrying weapons. It also provides privileges for students to encourage them to join, such as reducing the period of compulsory military service, benefitting from the quota systems dedicated to members of the Basij Students, and bonus scores on university entrance exams.

Foreign expansion

The Basij Students does not just recruit Iranian children, but it also recruit children from outside Iran to participate in the ranks of the Iranian militias in various cities. The foundation has active bases in Khuzestan, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen and Lebanon.

According to international and local media reports, the Iranian regime has sent trained, non-Iranian children to participate in the Syrian war, while the Iranian-backed Houthi militia in Yemen has followed the same approach and worked to recruit children to participate in the fighting.

In November 2018, Human Rights Watch also accused the Iranian regime of sending Afghan refugee children as soldiers to participate in the battlefields of Syria after being recruited into the Fatimiyoun Brigade, an Iranian arm made up mostly of Afghan Shiites. In February 2018, the media published photos of Iranian clerics holding religious gatherings in the city of Aleppo for Syrian children, who were given martial arts training.

In Yemen, the Houthi militia has followed the approach of “mobilizing students” and has made offers to families by granting financial rewards for every child who goes to the frontlines, while also granting his family relief materials and registering them on the lists of those entitled to food and priority treatment at hospitals, according to Yemeni media. In December 2019, the Arab coalition forces accused the Houthis of recruiting about 23,000 children to be pushed into battle, while Yemeni activists announced that the Houthis are forcibly recruiting children and then spreading lies that the coalition forces killed them.

In Lebanon, Hezbollah has recruited children to join its ranks through the enactment of new laws that take advantage of the weakness of their families, legislating the necessity of sending one minor child to combat in the event that he is not his parents’ only child.

As Iran’s militia activity expanded to countries around the region, the United States imposed sanctions on October 30, 2018 against companies that provide financial support to the Basij Forces, specifically those that recruit children, instill bad ideas in students’ minds, and train them to participate in battle.

Source » theportal-center