- The Washington Times - Friday, December 3, 2004

As the West has tried in vain over the past year and a half to rein in Iran’s nuclear-weapons program, the Islamist regime in Tehran has grown increasingly brazen in supporting terrorism. On Sunday, the Associated Press reported that in Tehran, an organization was registering men to train for terrorist attacks. The 300 men standing in line outside the headquarters of the organization, known as the Headquarters for Commemorating Martyrs of the Global Islamic Movement, had three choices: training for suicide attacks against U.S. troops in Iraq, carrying out suicide attacks against Israelis or assassinating British author Salman Rushdie.

Officially the Iranian government says that it has nothing to do the organization. But the inaugural meeting of the group last June took place in the offices of the Martyrs Foundation, a semiofficial group that assists the families of soldiers who were killed in the 1980-88 war with Iraq. The meeting, held in a room decorated with the photographs of funerals for Israeli soldiers, was attended by a member of parliament and the head of the Revolutionary Guards, an elite organization involved in intelligence, military and terrorist training operations.

Indeed, since the U.S.-led coalition invaded Iraq and deposed Saddam Hussein last spring, Iran has been funnelling arms to Iraqi Islamists and ex-Ba’athists fighting against the liberation of that country. Al-Manar, the television broadcast arm of Hezbollah (an Iranian-backed terrorist organization that has killed hundreds of Americans) routinely broadcasts the most lurid, slanderous descriptions of the United States and the war effort in Iraq. Avi Jorisch of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, who closely monitors the work of al-Manar, describes programming urging Jihadists to kill American soldiers in Iraq. One video broadcast by the station says: “Down with the mother of terrorism! America threatens in vain, an occupying army of invaders. Nothing remains but rifles and suicide bombers.” The video ends with an image of a suicide bomber’s belt detonating. Another al-Manar video compares the United States to Nazi Germany and ends with a split screen of Adolf Hitler and President Bush. It shows the Statue of Liberty transforming itself into a knife-wielding monster covered in blood.

Iran has also harbored senior al Qaeda terrorists and Abu Musab Zarqawi, the prime mover behind Iraq’s terrorist insurgency. In his new book Shadow War, investigative journalist Richard Miniter reports that Osama bin Laden is being harbored by Iran.

In the West Bank and Gaza, Hezbollah now speaks openly of its role in arming, training, financing and coordinating activities of Palestinian terrorist cells. In July, Hezbollah boss Hassan Nasrallah delivered a eulogy for Ghaleb Awali, a Hezbollah operative who is believed to have been assassinated by Israel. Mr. Awali was coordinating Palestinian terrorist operations in Gaza. And Iran supplied Hezbollah with a surveillance drone that invaded Israeli airspace from Lebanon last month, and has given the group surface-to-surface missiles that can reach more than 40 miles into the Jewish state.

If Iran succeeds in developing nuclear weapons, it is likely to become even more brazen in its support for terrorism in the coming years.

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