After graduation, many foreign-born clerics trained at Al-Mustafa International University return to their home countries to proselytize and conduct missionary work on behalf of the Iranian regime. One such Al-Mustafa graduate is Abbas DiPalma, a Catholic convert to Shi’ism who became the first Italian to gain the rank of Hojjatoleslam. DiPalma now serves as director of Rome’s Imam Mahdi Center, one of Italy’s primary Khomeinist institutions along with the Italian branch of AhlulBayt World Assembly. Italy’s pro-Iranian community activities are largely coordinated in conjunction with the Cultural Institute of the Iran Embassy.
At the Imam Mahdi Center, Di Palma “organizes religious ceremonies, recruits among the local population, notably Muslim immigrants, and also organizes political events to support the Iranian regime.” DiPalma is an outspoken proponent of the Iran-led “resistance axis” and has staged events in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Iran’s intervention in the Syrian civil war. DiPalma was the subject of a PressTV documentary in which he spoke reverently of Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah, saying: “He is a role-model, his justice, justness, glory, and purity, intellectually and morally. This is very important, and this is why people connect with him and can trust him. He speaks to people in an easy way. It is very interesting, I think, to see this connection between people and Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah.”