- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 30, 2007

BRUSSELS — The Iranian education system is preparing its students for a global war with the West in the name of Islam, according to an independent study of 115 textbooks and teachers guides released yesterday.

With Tehran accused of seeking to develop nuclear weapons and the United States dispatching a second aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf, the report by the Israel-based Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace highlights the uphill task Washington faces in trying to persuade Iranian youths to distance themselves from the hard-line Islamist regime.

The study, which claims to be the first of its kind, catalogs how students as young as 9 are conditioned to take part in a global jihad against “infidel oppressors” such as Israel and the United States.

“Hate indoctrination is a professed goal of Iranian textbooks,” said the report’s author, Arnon Groiss, a Princeton- and Harvard-educated journalist who also has written critical studies of the Israeli, Palestinian, Syrian, Saudi and Egyptian education systems.

Mr. Groiss said Iranian students learn from an early age that the Islamic republic is in mortal combat with Western powers bent on its destruction.

“If the World Devourers [the United States and its allies] wish to stand against our religion, we will stand against their whole world and will not cease until the annihilation of all of them,” says one 11th-grade textbook, quoting former spiritual leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

Students are drilled from age 12, when they are obliged to take defense-readiness classes, says the study by the nongovernmental organization. Some also are drafted into the Revolutionary Guard and other elite combat units, where they are taught how to handle shoulder-propelled rocket launchers, the group says.

Through stories, poems and exercises, martyrdom is glorified as a means of defending the Islamic republic and attaining eternal happiness, the report says. A 10th-grade textbook on “Defense Readiness” boasts that during the eight-year war with Iraq in the 1980s, a half-million students were sent to the front and “36,000 martyrs … were offered to the Islamic Revolution.”

Describing Iran’s school system as a “global war curriculum,” Mr. Groiss said the emphasis on military training from such a young age instilled a “siege mentality” among many students.

“It is a form of child abuse to install such notions in children’s minds,” he told journalists at a briefing at the European Parliament in Brussels.

Speaking at the release of the report, the vice chairman of the European Parliament’s foreign affairs committee, Geoffrey Van Orden, said: “Young people are being indoctrinated in hatred and intolerance to other religions and cultures. This is not only very disturbing in terms of the education and upbringing of those young people, but in terms of international stability.”

Israel, which Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said should be “wiped off the map,” is not recognized in atlases and is portrayed as a danger to Islamic states.

Anti-Semitism also is rife, according to the report, which analyzed textbooks published before Mr. Ahmadinejad came to power in 2005.

The Iranian Embassy in Brussels was asked to respond to the report, but it did not comment.

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