Since the liberation of Iraq, the government of Iran has been trying to complicate efforts by the U.S.-led coalition to bring stability to Iraq. Iran is providing covert support to hard-line Shiite Muslim groups that are promoting Iranian-style radical Islamic rule, rather than democracy, for Iraq. As U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld made clear, such outside influence will not be tolerated:
"Interference in Iraq by its neighbors or their proxies will not be permitted. Indeed, Iran should be on notice that efforts to remake Iraq in Iran's image will be aggressively put down."
Not only is Iran trying to export instability to Iraq, it is also harboring terrorists. For many years, Iran has provided funding, safe-haven, training, and weapons to terrorist groups, including Hamas, Palestine Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, and Hezbollah. There are reports that Iran is also harboring members of al-Qaida, the terrorists who attacked America on September 11th, 2001. As White House Spokesman Ari Fleischer said, Iran has failed to respond to demands that it crack down on all terrorists:
"We continue to get the message across about the importance of Iran acting as a nation that does not seek to harbor terrorists and that does its part in making certain that terrorists are not able to use -- or al-Qaida is not able to use -- Iran as any type of place to have operations out of or just even to collect or (to) be. We don't rule out the possibility that a nation with as long a border that some may cross, but we also are concerned about the fact that some may be able to find some level of safety there."
After the recent terrorist car bombings in Saudi Arabia that killed more than thirty people, Iran claims it arrested several al-Qaida members. But this is not enough. It is time for Iran, once and for all, to stop its support for terrorism.