It has been ten years since a truck bomb exploded at the Khobar Towers apartment complex near Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Nineteen U.S. military personnel were killed and hundreds of other Americans and Saudis were injured. President George W. Bush marked the anniversary with a statement in which he said that those responsible "were terrorists who we believe were working with Iranian officials." Mr. Bush said that the United States remains "determined in our efforts to bring to justice those responsible for this attack."
The U.S. military personnel who were killed in the Khobar Towers were in Saudi Arabia as part of a United Nations mandated mission. They were there to enforce the "no fly zone" over southern Iraq, imposed after the 1991 Gulf War, to protect Iraq's Shiite population from Saddam Hussein.
In June 2001, a grand jury in Alexandria, Virginia, indicted fourteen Hezbollah terrorists - thirteen Saudis and one Lebanese - for the Khobar Towers attack. The grand jury asserted that the defendants were supported and directed in their activities by Iranian officials. None has yet been apprehended, and it is believed that some may be living in Iran.
Iran's support for the perpetrators of the Khobar Towers attack was not an isolated phenomenon. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice calls the clerical regime in Iran "the central banker" of international terrorism. The U.S. State Department ranks Iran as "the most active state sponsor of terrorism." Its latest report cites the Iranian government's support of terrorist activity in Iraq; its extensive funding, training, and arming of Lebanese Hezbollah and Palestinian terrorist groups notably; Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades; and its refusal to turn over al-Qaida terrorists to justice, render or deport them to their countries of origin, in violation of obligations under U-N Security Council resolutions.
The terrorist activity of Iran's clerical regime is a one of the paramount reasons why the United States and other nations believe that Iran cannot be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons. Here is President George W. Bush:
"It's incredibly dangerous to think of Iran with a nuclear weapon."
If the Iranian clerical regime had a nuclear weapon, says Mr. Bush, it "could blackmail the world."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.