January 6, 2022 Special Dispatch No. 9714

Saudi Journalist: Iran Exploits Hunger In Asian And African Countries To Spread The Shi'a And Expand Its Global Influence

January 6, 2022
Iran, Saudi Arabia | Special Dispatch No. 9714

In an article in the Saudi daily Al-Jazirah, journalist Hammad Bin Hamed Al-Salemi warned of Iran's efforts to spread the Shi'a around the world and actualize its hegemonic aspirations. He argued that Iran uses its nuclear program to distract the world from its expansionist ambitions, which are not confined to Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and Gaza. Iran also invests considerable efforts in spreading the Shi'a in other countries, he said, such as Indonesia, Ethiopia and Nigeria, by paying poor people to convert. He warned that, if this continues, the list of countries controlled by Iran will grow ever longer.  

Hammad Bin Hamed Al-Salemi (Source:

The following are translated excerpts from his article:[1]

"Some of you may remember the statements made seven years ago on Iranian television by Alireza Zakani, [formerly] the Tehran representative in the Iranian parliament and an associate of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. He said that Sanaa, capital of Yemen, had become the fourth Arab capital affiliated with Iran, after Beirut, Damascus and Baghdad. He also clarified that the Houthi revolution in Yemen was a continuation of Khomeini's revolution [in Iran]… and stressed to his fellow members in the Iranian parliament that 'Iran is now facing a larger jihad'…[2]

"Zakani was not the only Iranian to say this. Iranian officials repeated the boast [about the Arab capitals] again and again, clearly in order to humiliate the Arabs… Zakani was right in what he said. The Safavid[3] Persians do as they wish in Arab countries like Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, as well as in Gaza. Anyone who has a shred of Arab pride in these countries is oppressed, murdered or excluded by his fellow citizens, who have sadly become Persian and Safavid themselves.

"Is the Persian expansion confined to Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and Gaza? Of course not. Reality shows that, for the last 40 years, the Safavid regime in Tehran has had a plan to expand to every continent in the world, so that Zakani can reappear and tell us that Iran is in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and other Asian countries, as well as in Africa, Europe and America. That is the true face of the terrorist expansionist Iranian regime, which objects to the international siege and boycott [imposed on it] and uses its nuclear program to distract the entire world from its plans and plots to expand in the name of the [Islamic] faith and the [Shi'ite] religious school.

"The Persians have managed to infiltrate fragile Sunni societies… This is what happened in the Arab countries that have become subordinate to the control and will of the Iranian Safavids. Yemen is the latest of them, and the same is happening in [other] Arab and Islamic countries, and elsewhere around the world.

"Notice the grave reports that appeared lately in many media outlets, which expose this dangerous Iranian Safavid policy of undermining countries, occupying peoples and penetrating geographically important regions with the aim of spreading a distorted and politicized [brand of] the Shi'a. The Safavids created this [religious] school to further their interests, so as to subjugate people in the name of a [religious] school tailored to their needs, using the model they created for their supporters in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and Gaza.

"The Safavids began spreading the Shi'a among the hungry in Indonesia over a decade ago, according to the following plan: A disadvantaged person who embraces the Shi'a is given a monthly salary of $50, and whoever brings in further converts receives a grant of $50 for each one.  The new converts also receive a monthly salary of $50.

"Imagine how tempting this is, and how the process of Shi'ization builds up, forming communities of pro-Iranian Ja'fari Twelver Shi'ites that follow Iran rather than their own homeland… Imagine what the result is like today, and what it will be in another decade. One of the results of the Shi'ization in Indonesia, which is the world's largest Muslim country, is that the central Sunni library in Jakarta has become a Shi'ite library! Hunger [breeds] heresy.

"We also remember the visit of [former Iranian president] Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Egypt during the presidency of the late Muhammad Morsi [of the Muslim Brotherhood], and how [Iran began] spreading the Shi'a in Egypt by building Shi'ite community centers. Then came the new Egyptian republic, headed by President ['Abd Al-Fattah] Al-Sisi, and put an end to this Safavid invasion into the heart of Arabism. 

"The same happened in Malaysia. The Safavids tried to do what they did in Indonesia, but their game was exposed. Shi'ism was banned, and they were expelled.

"Conversely, in Ethiopia Shi'ization is proceeding apace, and dollars are pouring into the pockets of hungry Sunnis and hungry members of other religions. This situation in Ethiopia explains how the Persians infiltrated the Zaydi Yemeni society: They trained [clerics] in Qom, [Iran], cultivated leaders loyal [to Iran] who spread the Shi'a among [the Zaydis], and expanded, until they managed to recruit the hungry to a vicious war against their [fellow] Yemenis and against [Yemen's] neighbors. Hunger certainly [breeds] heresy.

"Just as they operated in Yemen, the Safavids also hosted academic delegations from the Comoro Islands, a completely Sunni country, persuaded them to embrace the Shi'a and indoctrinated them in Qom. Then they granted them diplomatic passports, salaries and women for their pleasure. As a result, the state became Shi'ite and subordinate to the Safavids in Iran. Hunger [breeds] heresy.

"In Nigeria the number of Shi'ites used to be zero squared. Today they number over 15 million out of 211 milion people [in the country]. The Iranian embassy in [the Nigerian capital of] Abuja has millions of dollars and millions of Ja'fari [Shi'ite] books for the sake of the Shi'ization [program] sponsored by the clerical center in Qom. There are some 100 mullahs in charge of spreading the Shi'a in this country, and [of spreading it] from Abuja to every African country. Hunger [breeds] heresy.

"This is the situation today in many countries in Asia and Africa. The Persian hegemony is spreading and expanding thanks to the dollars raised by imposing a khums tax[4] on the economies of the hungry nations that are in [Iran's] sights [as potential targets for] Shi'ization. In a few years, we will see Zakani, or some other Zakani, a new Safavid who will boast and say: "We are conquering Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut, Sanaa, Gaza, Jakarta, Addis Ababa, Abuja, etc., etc. The Iranian list is getting longer."  


[1] Al-Jazirah (Saudi Arabia), January 2, 2021.

[2] For Alireza's statements, see, September 22, 2014.

[3] The Safavid dynasty ruled Persia in the 16th-18th centuries. Today "Safavid" is used by some Arabs as a derogatory term for Iranians.

[4] In Islam, khums (lit. "one-fifth") is a 20% tax that must be paid on all wealth acquired from certain sources, especially on wealth acquired as war booty.


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