- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 24, 2007

Talks between senior U.S. and Iranian officials to explore how to bring stability to Iraq are now scheduled in Baghdad for May 28. It is important those who see this as a positive step forward, including members of the Iraq Study Group who suggested such an initiative last year, now understand why the chances of substantive progress via such discussions are zero.

(1) Despite the numerous complexities contributing to the fighting in Iraq, there should be no doubt Iran is the predominant cause of the violence. Dry up the flow of trained terrorists, weapons, improved explosive device (IED) technology, Qods Force personnel and funding originating in Iran and the violence in Iraq will be reduced to manageable levels.

(2) While it is doubtful the meeting will lead to an agreement, the Islamofascists, such as those in Tehran, adhere to an interpretation of the Koran that allows them to deceive nonbelievers, such as those in Washington. Islamofascists believe under Islam they can make any promise necessary to placate nonbelievers — while having absolutely no intention of honoring such promises — to advance the cause of Islam. This served as justification for Tehran’s initial, secret, nuclear power program and then, after its discovery, the claim Iran only seeks nuclear power for peaceful purposes.

(3) However, most worrisome is the requirement under the laws of the Islamic Republic of Iran for Tehran that its revolution be exported around the world — a mandate embedded within the country’s national psyche through the preamble of its own constitution. After the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini swept to power in Iran in 1979, he made it clear Iran was but the first step in a worldwide effort to spread his version of Islam. The constitution’s preamble states Iran’s army “will be responsible not only for safeguarding the borders, but also for accomplishing an ideological mission, that is, the Jihad for the sake of God, as well as for struggling to open the way for the sovereignty of the Word of God throughout the world.”

Alireza Jafarzadeh, who is credited with exposing Iran’s secret nuclear program in 2002, describes this national psyche under the current regime of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in his book “The Iran Threat.” Mr. Jafarzadeh says, “The driving force of the regime is a long-held ambition to spread its repressive brand of Islamic extremist rule throughout the Middle East and beyond. Anyone who thinks this expansionist zeal has faded with time and that Iranian leaders have been on a slow, inevitable course toward moderation has only to listen to one speech by Ahmadinejad. The regime may have toyed with the outer trappings of a reformist attitude in the 1990s, but the current government has given up that charade, and Ahmadinejad is the most authentic voice of the regime since Khomeini himself lambasted the United States as the ‘Great Satan.’ ”

There should be no doubt, not only from Iran’s constitutional mandate but also from its actions, it takes this obligation seriously. The Iranian government is playing Islamofascist “Monopoly,” seeking to add properties from the world board of nations to the Islamofascist fold, initially focusing on Iraq and Lebanon.

This mandate led Tehran to support the terrorist organization Hezbollah, established in Lebanon in 1982, by sending 1,500 of its Revolutionary Guards and funding Hezbollah to the tune of $100 million annually. This mandate led Tehran more recently to fund Hamas in the Palestinian territories. This mandate led Tehran to fund and coordinate murders and bombings in Argentina, France, Germany and Kuwait, leading to an arrest warrant for at least one former Iranian president and allegations of criminal conspiracy by others.

It should be clear this is an extremist Islamic government committed to exporting terrorism in hopes of fomenting its revolution all around the world — and doing so aggressively as mandated by its constitution.

Against such a backdrop, two questions must be asked:

• How can any reasonable person expect discussions in Baghdad with Iranian officials to lead to a serious reconsideration by Tehran of modifying an aggressive and violent conduct that has served them well to date?

• Even if such an agreement were to be reached how can anyone reasonably believe Iran would honor it rather than use it as a tool to deceive the United States, since doing so is permissible to further the cause of Islam?

While the idealist may look to the May 28 meeting with hope, the realist simply cannot. Iran is driven by a religious zeal to export its revolution and nothing will cause it, voluntarily, to alter this course. A similar zeal powers its drive to possess nuclear weapons. Any course change by Iran will come only via others imposing strict, enforceable and effective economic sanctions, including divestiture of Western investment funds, or taking military action.

A great chess master once observed, “Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-the-last mistake.” Trusting Iran to voluntarily alter its course would be the last mistake.

James G. Zumwalt, a Marine veteran of the Persian Gulf and Vietnam wars, is a contributor to The Washington Times.

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