Al-Mustafa University

Formidable tool for recruiting candidates for the regime’s terrorist and military activities abroad

Status:Top Alert – Entity designated / sanctioned for terror, WMD and human rights violation

Risk Level:99%

May harm your business future. Persons or entities that engage in transactions with this entity will be exposed to sanctions or subject to an enforcement action.

Working with this entity means supporting Iranian Regime, Regime Terrorist Activities & development of WMD

Al-Mustafa International University is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended, for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, the IRGC-QF. According to the U.S. Treasury Department: Iran-based Al-Mustafa International University, which claims branches in over 50 countries, enables IRGC-QF intelligence operations by allowing its student body, which includes large numbers of foreign and American students, to serve as an international recruitment network. The IRGC-QF uses Al-Mustafa University to develop student exchanges with foreign universities for the purposes of indoctrinating and recruiting foreign sources. Al-Mustafa has facilitated unwitting tourists from western countries to come to Iran, from whom IRGC-QF members sought to collect intelligence. Recruits from Al-Mustafa International University have been sent to Syria to fight on behalf of IRGC-QF-led militias. The IRGC-QF established the Fatemiyoun Division, an Iranian-led Shia militia composed of primarily ethnic Afghan residents in Iran, as well as the Zaynabiyoun Brigade, a militia group composed of Pakistani Shia, as expeditionary forces to fight in Syria. The IRGC-QF has used Al-Mustafa as cover for its recruitment of Afghans. The IRGC-QF has used Al-Mustafa’s campus in Qom, Iran as a recruitment ground for Pakistani students to join the Zaynabiyoun Brigades. Multiple students from the university have been killed fighting in Syria. The Fatemiyoun Division and Zaynabiyoun Brigade are both designated under counterterrorism and human rights authorities.

Al-Mustafa International University is Iran’s foremost religious institution. With Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei as its highest authority, the university is responsible for exporting Tehran’s revolutionary ideology with one hundred branches across the Islamic world, training foreign clerics, scholars and missionaries;

Al-Mustafa is a formidable tool for recruiting candidates for the regime’s terrorist and military activities abroad. Alireza Tavassoli, killed in 2014, was an Al-Mustafa cleric and commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Afghan force in Syria;

Al-Mustafa has more than 40,000 students, half of whom study at campuses across Iran. There are nearly 10,000 female students. Since 2007, more than 45,000 clerics and Islamic scholars have graduated from Al-Mustafa, and a good portion of them have been hired by the university as teaching staff or missionaries and sent to different countries around the globe;

Al-Mustafa has seventeen main branches in sub-Saharan Africa and runs some one hundred schools, mosques, and seminaries in thirty African countries. In a July 2015 interview, the university president emphasized the importance of the continent as “strategic depth” for “pure Islam,” namely the version of Islam promoted by the Iranian regime. In his account:
“5,000 African students are studying at the university, and there have also been 5,000 African graduates from Al-Mustafa. We have tens of schools and seminaries in Africa, and we are somehow present in thirty different countries in the continent.”;

Of these 5,000 African students, nearly 2,000 study in Iran, some 1,200 of whom learn at the Mashhad campus. According to the Iranian press, African students studying in Iran are sent as missionaries to their native countries several times each year;

Al-Mustafa is also a formidable tool for recruiting candidates for the regime’s terrorist and military activities abroad, including direct participation in Iran’s imperial wars. Since the start of the civil war in Syria and Tehran’s military intervention to save the Bashar Assad regime, there have been numerous reports in the Iranian media about funerals for Al-Mustafa students killed in Syria. In March 2016, one of the university’s directors declared that “some of the foreign fighters deployed by Iran and sent to Syria were Al-Mustafa’s students and clerics.” Alireza Tavassoli, commander of the IRGC’s Afghan force in Syria (Fatemiyon), killed in 2014, was an Al-Mustafa cleric. According to Mashregh, an IRGC-affiliated website, the founding members of Zeynabiyoun (the IRGC’s Pakistani contingent in Syria) were Pakistani students in Qom seminaries;

Al-Mustafa network’s explicit goal is also to spread the Iranian regime’s anti-American ideology and promote its self-proclaimed mandate to “liberate Palestine” and “eradicate Israel.” In this context, Al-Mustafa and ICRO work together to organize al-Quds rallies in African countries such as Burkina Faso, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Kenya, and Uganda;

Al-Mustafa’s most important African centers are located in Nigeria, a country with several million Shiites, where the university operates five schools and seminaries with nearly one thousand students from Nigeria and neighboring states;

In an upmarket suburb of Senegal’s seaside capital, a branch of Iran’s Al-Mustafa University teaches Senegalese students Shi’ite Muslim theology, among other subjects. The branch director is Iranian and a portrait of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei hangs on his office wall.;

Al-Mustafa University opened its branch in Berlin in 2016 which is called “Al-Mustafa Institute” and is led by Mehdi Esfahani. The school is working closely with the Hamburg seminary and has a Facebook page;

Al-Mustafa University has international branches and affiliate schools, such as Islamic College of London, Indonesia Islamic college and Ghana Islamic College;

Al-Mustafa University does not have tax liabilities;

Some Al-Mustafa sites include:
1. Al-Mustafa has its main branch in Burkina Faso’s capital city of Ouagadougou;
2. Cameroon: One small branch in Cameroon and two seminaries, one for men and another for women.
3. Congo: A main branch in Kinshasa numbering some 120 students.
4. Guinea: The Ahl al-Bait school with nearly one hundred students.
5. Ivory Coast: The Shiite seminary of Ahl al-Bait with 120 students and the Zeynab seminary for women with forty.
6. Madagascar: A branch of the university in the capital city of Antananarivo. Other affiliated centers include Imam Sadjad Mosque, the Rasul Akram Mosque and the Islamic Center of Dar al-Quran in the city of Mahajanga.
7. Malawi: A branch in the capital city of Lilongwe.
8. Mali: One small branch.
9. Niger: A branch in the capital city of Niamey.
10. Senegal: A campus in Dakar. * Sierra Leon: The International Institute of Islamic Studies (IIIS) in the capital city of Freetown and the Imam Hossein Seminary in Makeni.
11. South Africa: A branch in Johannesburg, which collaborates closely with ICRO’s Islamic center of Ahl al-Bait, Cape Town.
12. Uganda: Al-Mustafa’s Islamic College with nearly one hundred students.

Involved In:
Spreading Iranian Propaganda

Also Known As:
Al-Mustafa Institute



Muallim Boulevard,Qom,Islamic Republic of Iran, PO Box:439

+98 25 3717273



Person of interests:
Mehdi Esfahani, head of Al-Mustafa Institute in Berlin

Reason for the color:
[December 2020]
» Added to the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list maintained by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) on December 8, 2020 pursuant to Executive Order 13224, as amended, for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, the IRGC-QF;

» Iranian regime’s network of Islamic Centers, seminaries and Mosques in Europe;
» Al Mustafa University, Iran’s global network of Islamic schools;