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6/23/03 - IRAN’S PEOPLE OPPOSE TERRORISM - 2003-06-24

Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a leading member of Iran’s Islamic fundamentalist regime, recently extolled terrorism in the Middle East. Referring to suicide bombing attacks, he said: “One Palestinian by going to paradise can send three-hundred Israelis to hell. This is more powerful than atomic bombs.”

What Mr. Rafsanjani means by such incitement is that he and his colleagues are perfectly willing to support the sending of Hamas- and Hezbollah-indoctrinated Palestinian children, not to any “paradise,” but to a horrible and tragically premature death. And he is willing to do this -- to see Palestinian young people waste their lives as somebody else’s cannon fodder -- because it serves certain cold-blooded political purposes. It is estimated that Iran’s ruling clerics over the last two decades have given terrorist organizations like Hezbollah between sixty-million and one-hundred-million dollars a year. Hezbollah has carried out large-scale terrorist attacks, including the 1983 truck bombing that killed two-hundred-forty-one U.S. Marines in Lebanon and the 1992 bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which killed twenty-nine people.

The Iranian regime’s financing of international terrorism is both morally repugnant and criminal. It has also harmed Iran’s economy and people. What possible benefit do the people of Iran derive from a government that spends vast sums to blow up innocents in Argentina or Israel or Lebanon? None at all. Resources and energies are diverted to terrorism for reasons that have nothing to do with the lives of the people of Iran -- but everything to do with the unelected clerics’ desperate need for an external “enemy,” a mirage that they think can justify their illegitimate dictatorship.

As U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said, it is the Iranian regime’s skewed priorities that sparked the current anti-regime protests:

“The demonstrators say that Iran’s policies with regard to weapons of mass destruction, with support for terrorism, opposition to the [Middle East] peace process, human rights have kept Iran back from its ability to move forward in terms of modernization and have kept Iran back in terms of the ability to provide for its people.”

It is time for Iran’s unelected clerics to heed the Iranian people, and let them choose a representative government.