- - Monday, June 12, 2017


Terrorism is a scourge born in an evil place in the heart, extinguishing hope and breeding cynicism like little else. Now that the Islamic Republic of Iran has felt the lash of wholesale murder, perhaps the hard-hearted mullahs will reconsider their “holy” war against the world. Pigs, not necessarily the favorite animals of the followers of Muhammad, will sooner fly.

Tehran, at the beating heart of global terrorism, was pierced last week by an attack by five Islamic State suicide gunmen and bombers who stormed the parliament building and mausoleum of its revolutionary founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomenei. The attack killed 17 and wounded more than 50 before the assailants were then themselves killed by security forces. The Islamic State, or ISIS, composed primarily of Muslim Sunnis, claimed “credit” in Iran, where the Shia Muslims comprise the majority.

Though Iran has fought other resistance organizations along its borders with Pakistan and Afghanistan, this was the first time ISIS had penetrated its capital. It was a shocking turnabout for the imams, who got a bitter taste of what the civilized world now deals with.

President Trump offered condolences to the people of Iran — with a deserved twist. “We grieve and pray for the innocent victims of the terrorist attacks in Iran, and for the Iranian people, who are going through such challenging times,” he said a statement from the White House. “We underscore that states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif bristled at hearing the obvious, tweeting, “Repugnant WH statement & Senate sanctions as Iranians counter terror backed by US clients. Iranian people reject such US claims of friendship.” Friends of Iran elsewhere quickly condemned the president, reminding the White House that candles were lit in Tehran for the victims — though not necessarily by the mullahs — when the United States was attacked on Sept. 11, 2001.

It would be difficult to find a Hallmark card that combines heartfelt condolence and sneering condemnation. Nevertheless, a reminder is in order. A federal district court in Manhattan found that in 2011 Iran and its proxy, Hezbollah, materially and directly supported al Qaeda in the attack that killed nearly 3,000 men and women. The families of the victims were awarded $10.5 billion, which has yet to be paid, and probably never will be.

The State Department pinned the label of state sponsor of terrorism on Iran in 1984, and its leaders have used every tool at their disposal to eliminate it, everything but discontinuing the state sponsorship of terrorism. Iran surpasses all other nations in the sacrifice of innocents to promote their evil theology.

While sympathizing with the Iranian people in their sorrow, Mr. Trump called out their rulers in his uniquely blunt way. Would it have been more diplomatic to bite his tongue and refrain from pointing out Iran’s historical transgression? More diplomatic, yes, but as useless as bowing before the bullies, as Barack Obama spent eight years demonstrating.

The U.S. State Department will soon publish its annual Country Reports on Terrorism, and Iran’s behavior during the past year — backing genocide in Syria and insurgencies in Yemen and Libya — is likely to earn another dubious title as the world’s top sponsor of terrorism. Meanwhile, the murder and mayhem in Tehran is a grim reminder that those who play with matches usually get burned.

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