Volume 6, No. 3 – September 2002
TEHRAN, WASHINGTON, AND TERROR: NO AGREEMENT TO DIFFER
The U.S. accuses Iran of being a state-sponsor of terrorism, and Iran levels the same accusation at the U.S. The U.S. says that Lebanese Hizballah, Hamas, and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad are terrorists, while Tehran sees them as liberation movements. This is more than a disagreement over terminology — state-sponsors of terrorism are subject to legal sanctions. Washington has indicated its willingness to hold a dialog with Tehran about terrorism and other issues, but Tehran demands the lifting of sanctions beforehand. What is the potential for a dialog under these circumstances, and what will be the effect of Iranian officials giving aid or sanctuary to al-Qa?ida personnel who are fleeing Afghanistan?
Tehran and Washington have not held an official and open bilateral dialogue for some twenty years, and one of the biggest obstacles to such a dialogue is Iranian support for what the U.S. sees as terrorism. Since 1984, the U.S. government has described Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism. The Iranian government levels the same accusation at the U.S. Washington describes organizations that Tehran assists, such as Lebanese Hizballah, Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine ? General Command (PFLP-GC), as terrorist groups. Tehran sees them as liberation movements.
The Iranian government feels obliged to support these organizations. According to Article 154 of the Iranian constitution, ?while completely refraining from any interference in the internal matters of other nations, [Iran] supports the rightful struggle of the oppressed people against their oppressors anywhere in the world.?(1) In the words of a former Iranian president, ?we support those people who are defending their rights. In Islamic countries, we stand behind the struggling and combatant Muslims. In other places, such as Palestine, we do not recognize the legitimacy of Israel.?(2)
American identification of any country as a state sponsor of terrorism means that it must be subject to certain legal penalties, and Iran?s involvement with terrorism has made it the subject of additional legal penalties and sanctions. Washington has expressed a willingness to engage in a dialogue with Tehran. Tehran has set as its precondition for any dialogue the lifting of these sanctions.
This article will contrast Iranian definitions of terrorism with the American definitions of that phenomenon. This article also will discuss Washington?s perspective on Tehran?s direct involvement with and support for international terrorism.(3) A discussion about alleged Iranian involvement with al-Qa?ida, the organization responsible for the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks in the U.S., will follow. Iran and the U.S. may continue to discuss issues of mutual interest, such as Afghanistan, Iraq, and Nagorno-Karabakh, in multilateral fora, and they may hold unofficial bilateral discussions in places like Cyprus and Switzerland, but disagreements over the fundamental issue of terrorism militate against a more substantive and open dialogue in the near future.
DEFINITIONS OF TERRORISM
?It is time for Iran to give up terror as instrument of policy,? the U.S. National Security Council senior director for Southwest Asia, the Near East, and North Africa, Zalmay Khalilzad, said in August 2002 as he described the White House?s dual-track policy of opposing Iran’s destructive and unacceptable behavior while laying out a vision of support for the Iranian people.(4)
One of the problems in dealing with terrorism is the absence of a commonly accepted definition of it. The U.S. Department of State concedes, “[n]o one definition of terrorism has gained universal acceptance.”(5) Nevertheless, since 1983 the State Department has used the definition of terrorism contained in Title 22 of the United States Code, Section 2656f(d). It says that terrorism means “premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience.” This definition, furthermore, says that a “terrorist group” is one that practices, or has any subgroups that practice, “international terrorism” (which is defined as “terrorism involving citizens or the territory of more than one country”).
Ayatollah Muhammad ?Ali Taskhiri of Iran?s Islamic Propagation Organization attempted to define terrorism in 1987.(6) He said: “Terrorism is an act carried out to achieve an inhuman and corrupt (mufsid) objective, and involving threat to security of any kind, and violation of rights acknowledged by religion and mankind.” Taskhiri said the following did not constitute terrorism: “acts of national resistance exercised against occupying forces, colonizers and usurpers; resistance of peoples against cliques imposed on them by the force of arms; rejection of dictatorships and other forms of despotism and efforts to undermine their institutions; resistance against racial discrimination and attacks on the latter’s strongholds; retaliation against any aggression if there is no other alternative.”
In October 2001, the Iranian Foreign Minister said that there should be a distinction between terrorism and “nationalist, freedom-seeking struggles.”(7) This may sound benign, but when he referred to Palestinian suicide bombers six months later, the Iranian Foreign Minister said that one could not compare them with the individuals who flew hijacked aircraft into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. He explained, ?The difference is that the Palestinians are resisting the occupation of their land.?(8) And another Iranian official said, ?One cannot possibly describe the Palestinians’ martyrdom operations as acts of terrorism. ? In fact, they are defending their own rights by launching such operations.?(9)
From Tehran?s perspective, Israel is repressing the Palestinian people and Israel invaded and occupied Lebanon. This, for Tehran, is the definition of state terrorism. The head of the Iranian legislature said that the current Palestinian uprising is “a natural, legal, and firm reaction against the criminal actions of the occupying Israelis.”(10) He added, “the world’s freedom-seekers today have hinged their hopes on this decisive struggle since they know that no alternative has been left for the Palestinian people except for the resistance and fight with the occupiers.”
Former Iranian president Ayatollah ?Ali-Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani recognized the need for a universally acceptable definition of terrorism: “What is the difference between a freedom fighter and aggressive terrorist…. The UN has to give a description for this which is acceptable to all of us and is done with a majority of votes.”(11)
But so far the UN has been unable to define terrorism. The UN General Assembly established a Terrorism Prevention Branch in 1999 as part of its Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (ODCCP), and the UN has adopted 12 conventions and protocols on terrorism. But the member states still have not agreed on a definition of terrorism. A 1992 UN study suggested that the definition of terrorism should be based on the definition of a “war crime” ? deliberate attacks on civilians, hostage takings, and the killing of prisoners. In other words, an act of terrorism is the peacetime equivalent of a war crime.(12)
One day after the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks in the U.S., the United Nations Security Council passed a unanimous resolution that it was ready to “take all necessary steps” to respond to them. And less than three weeks later (28 September) the Security Council unanimously voted for Resolution 1373, which obliges member states to criminalize fund-raising for terrorist acts; freeze the assets of people who have committed terrorist acts; and “refrain from providing any form of support, including political or diplomatic, active or passive,” to terrorists.(13) Moreover, member states are obliged to “deny safe haven to those who finance, plan, support, or commit terrorist acts;” and they must ensure that terrorists are brought to justice and punished. Resolution 1373, however, does not define terrorism.
Iranian state radio warned that the Security Council?s failure to define terrorism could lead to abuse or the creation of obstacles.(14) This is why “it is imperative to present a precise definition of terrorism and to distinguish it from the honorable struggles that are taking place in the occupied territories within the framework of the right to legitimate defense.” Iranian officials tried to build up support for their position before the October 2001 meeting of the 56-member Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in Doha and the April 2002 OIC meeting in Kuala Lumpur.
After the first of these meetings, Tehran described the OIC communiquĂ?Â©Ă?Ĺ Ă?Âˇs a “practical guide for fighting against terrorism.”(15) The final communiquĂ?Â©Ă?Â Ă?Â˛ejected any link between terrorism and the right of Muslim, Arab, Palestinian, and/or Lebanese people to pursue “self-determination, self-defense, sovereignty, and resistance against Israeli, and foreign, occupation and aggression.”(16) Israel, moreover, was warned not to exploit the current situation to “justify its aggression against the Palestinian people,” while the UN, EU, U.S., and Russia were urged to end the “siege” imposed on the Palestinians and “stop the barbaric Israeli practices.” The “Israeli Government’s state terrorism” was mentioned, too. The OIC members expressed their readiness to define “terrorism” and act against it within the context of the UN. The conference rejected the targeting of any Arab or Islamic state on the pretext of combating terrorism.
The OIC met again in Malaysia in April 2002, and its 57 members adopted a resolution that specifically rejected a proposal to include Palestinian suicide bombers in a condemnation of terrorism. The final declaration said, “We reject any attempt to link terrorism to the struggle of the Palestinian people in the exercise of their inalienable right to establish their independent state.”(17) Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Muhammad had suggested that suicide bombers should be condemned with all who use violence against civilians.(18)
Tehran seemed to approve of this resolution. Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Muhammad Zarif said, “It is not for us to define international terrorism for the international community. It is for us to ask the international community to start a process of defining terrorism. That process has started.”(19) A horrified American newspaper editorialized, on the other hand, ?it should not be hard to agree that a person who detonates himself in a pizza parlor or a discotheque filled with children, spraying scrap metal and nails in an effort to kill and maim as many of them as possible, has done something evil that can only discredit and damage whatever cause he hopes to advance.?(20)
Since that time, the Iranian position on defining terrorism has hardened. Ayatollah Taskhiri, who tried to define terrorism in 1987, fifteen years later said, “For the Palestinian people, who are subject to the Zionist oppression, the only way is the continuation of the intifada and martyrdom operations.”(21) He also warned that any attempt to ban suicide attacks would be a “grave betrayal of Islam and Palestinian ideals.”(22) Taskhiri said that the government of Israel is the manifestation of state terrorism.(23)
The views expressed by Ayatollah Hashemi-Rafsanjani during a Friday prayers sermon in May 2002 demonstrated the difference between Iranian and American views.(24) He said that whatever America does not like is called terrorism, and he added, ?terror has become an instrument for the Americans and every day they are drawing up a list, saying that this or that person supports or does not support terrorism.? Rafsanjani criticized the use of Israeli tanks in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and he said that nobody hears the Palestinians? scream, ?so they let the world hear their scream by way of exploding themselves.? He continued, ?It is very dastardly to describe that [action of suicide bombers] as terror, but the crimes of [Israeli Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon and Israeli forces as peace-seeking acts.?
Ayatollah ?Ali Khamene?i, Iran?s top political and religious leader, presented a similar view at that time. Khamene?i said, ?It is the zenith of honor for a man, a young person, boy or girl, to be prepared to sacrifice his life in order to serve the interests of his nation and his religion. … martyrdom-seeking operations demonstrate the pinnacle of a nation’s honor. They demonstrate the zenith of the epic.?(25)
IRANIAN SPONSORSHIP OF TERRORISM
Iranian officials also meet with representatives of these organizations in multilateral fora. ?Ali-Akbar Mohtashami-Pur, along with Hizballah?s Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah and Hamas politburo member Khalid Mishaal, participated in a January 2002 conference in Beirut.(43) The final statement of this conference noted: ?The martyrdom operations that the Mujahidin carry out against the Zionist enemy are legitimate operations… They represent the highest level of martyrdom and they are the way to win God’s blessing and paradise. … It is one of the resistance’s most important strategic weapons.?(44) It also rejected the U.S. terrorism lists. The head of the Iranian Supreme Leader?s office in April 2002 told a Damascus meeting of Syrian, Iranian, Iraqi, and Lebanese religious people that Iran?s policy is to “strengthen and support the front line of resistance against the Zionist regime.”(45)
Tehran hosted the April 2001 “Support for the Palestinian Intifada” conference, which was attended by representatives of Hizballah, Hamas, the PIJ, and the PFLP-GC, as well as officials from several Islamic countries. Iranian officials had individual meetings with their guests ? Supreme Leader Khamene?i met with Hizballah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, while President Muhammad Khatami met with Nasrallah, PIJ Secretary-General Ramadan Abdallah Shallah, and PFLP-GC head Ahmed Jibril.(46) The Palestinian Authority, Fatah, and Fatah Uprising signed off on the conference?s final statement.(47)
Tehran hosted another “Support for the Palestinian Intifada” conference on 2-3 June 2002. Representatives of Hamas, Hizballah, the PIJ, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine — General Command (PFLP-GC) participated in this event, as did over 160 officials from Iran and 23 other countries.(48) PIJ Secretary-General Ramadan Abdallah Shallah, Hizballah Deputy Secretary-General Sheikh Naim Qasim, and PFLP-GC Secretary-General Ahmad Jibril heard a warning from conference secretary Hojatoleslam ?Ali-Akbar Mohtashami-Pur: ?Dissension, discord, and despondency among Islamic governments will contribute to the growth of that cancerous tumor, Israel.”(49) The head of the PIJ said that “martyrdom operations” would continue, adding, “We have the right to sacrifice our bodies for something that is more sacred than our own lives and America does not have the right to oppose this.”(50)
The State Department?s terrorism report that covers 2001 notes an increase in Iranian encouragement of Hizballah and rejectionist Palestinian groups to coordinate their planning and activities, and the report describes the January 2002 Israeli seizure in the Red Sea of a ship that was carrying 50 tons of weaponry in boxes bearing Iranian markings.(51) Tehran denied any connection with the ship, which was called the Karine A, or the weapons, which were destined for the Palestinian Authority. In the words of the Iranian Defense Minister, “The Islamic Republic of Iran has had no military relations with [Palestinian Authority leader Yassir] Arafat, and no steps have been taken by any Iranian organization for the shipment of arms to the mentioned lands.”(52)Palestinian Authority leader Yassir Arafat denied that there was any military cooperation between Tehran and the PA, saying, ?I challenge everyone who wants to prove that I have relations with Iran,? and he denied a connection with the ship.(53) By early February, however, Arafat had accepted some responsibility for the arms shipment.(54) There were more Palestinian denials when allegations of a Tehran-PLO relationship appeared in the media in March 2002.(55) The Palestinian Authority Cabinet Secretary said that the allegation “is an illusion in the sick Israeli mind,” and he added, “This Israeli fabrication is a big lie. The report’s reference to an Iranian-Palestinian alliance is totally false.?(56)
The Hizballah leadership denied any involvement with the Karine A affair, but it said that arming the Palestinians was the right thing to do. In the words of Hizballah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah:
Delivering arms to the Palestinians is a legitimate action. It is also a moral action. In fact, the most moral action these days and on the face of this earth is sending arms to the Palestinians. It is a legal action. The terrorist is not the one who sends arms to the Palestinians, but the one who gives arms to Ariel Sharon in order to butcher the Palestinians. I mean the U.S. Administration.(57)
After Hizballah operatives were apprehended as they attempted to deliver Katyusha rockets to Palestinian militants, Nasrallah reiterated this theme:
In principle, we believe that the least that can be done for the Palestinian people is to provide them with weapons and funds. … The Palestinians have not asked us to send them combat forces. All they are asking for is support and backing, primarily with arms. We therefore consider it our duty as well as the duty of everyone to send weapons to the Palestinians. … If delivering or sending weapons to the Palestinians is a punishable crime by law, then we are ready to be punished and to be called by whatever name. (58)
Tehran also is identified by the State Department as a backer of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). Tehran supports the Islamic Movement of Kurdistan (IMK), according to the State Department, and recent reports from Iraqi Kurdistan indicate that Tehran is backing an Islamic group identified as the Supporters of Islam in Kurdistan (Peshtiwanani Islam le Kurdistan, PIK, but which also has used the names Ansar al-Islam and Jund al-Islam).(59)
North African governments complain of Iranian-sponsored terrorism. Algiers accuses Tehran and Khartoum of supporting the Armed Islamic Group — which aims to overthrow the secular Algerian regime and replace it with an Islamic state ? and the Salafist Group for Call and Combat (GSPC) ? which has surpassed the GIA and is perceived as the most effective armed group inside Algeria. Cairo believes that Iran, Sudan, and Afghan militant groups support Al-Gamaat al-Islamiyya (Islamic Group) and al-Jihad (a.k.a. Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Jihad Group, Islamic Jihad, Vanguards of Conquest, Talaa’ al-Fateh).(60) Some of these claims about Iranian involvement in North African and Central Asian terrorism probably are little more than exaggerations by governments that do not want to admit to homegrown domestic unrest.
In his August 2002 speech on U.S. policy towards Iran, the NSC?s Khalilzad described Iranian involvement in the June 1996 bombing of a U.S. Air Force housing complex in al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia. Iran is referred to almost 40 times in the 21 June 2001 indictment of 14 people for that bombing, which killed 19 American servicemen and wounded 372 other Americans.(61) No Iranians are actually indicted, but the indictment says that the individuals responsible for this attack were members of Saudi Hizballah (a.k.a. Hizballah al-Hijaz), Hizballah was a name used by “a number of related terrorist organizations operating in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Kuwait, and Bahrain, among other places,” and “[t]hese Hizballah organizations were inspired, supported, and directed by elements of the Iranian government.”
The indictment states that the named individuals were in direct contact with the Iranian Embassy in Damascus or traveled with vehicles provided by that embassy; had close associations with military elements of the Iranian government; and/or traveled to Iran for military and religious training. They reported to Iranian officials and were directed by an Iranian military officer.(62) Four of the men on Washington?s list of most-wanted international terrorists, which was announced in October 2001, are named in the indictment.(63)
Early U.S. reports on Iranian terrorism noted that Tehran used its intelligence services to facilitate and conduct terrorist attacks, and intelligence officers in Iranian embassies used the diplomatic pouch to convey weapons and finances to terrorist groups. 1999, 2000, and 2001 reports try to narrow the focus, noting, ?the actions of certain state institutions in support of terrorist groups made Iran the most active state sponsor of terrorism.? These state institutions are identified as the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) and the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), which are ?involved in the planning and execution of terrorist acts and continued to support a variety of groups that use terrorism to pursue their goals.?(64)
The pursuit of different agendas by different Iranian institutions is not a new development, and attributing undesirable Iranian actions to the internal political conflict between ?hardliners? and ?reformists? is not entirely inaccurate.(65) Nevertheless, the country?s leadership ? both elected and unelected — appears to be united on some aspects of international relations.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah ?Ali Khamene?i declared in January 2001 that “the essence of the Islamic state opposes the Zionist regime and [Iran’s] permanent stance dictates that Israel should be eliminated from the region.”(66) In the same month, President Muhammad Khatami “called for extending all forms of aid and support to the valiant Palestinian intifada,”(67) and he declared that Israel is “an artificial entity created under the aegis of the international colonialism, Israel which has inflicted great damage to the Islamic Ummah [community] including the Palestinian nation.”(68) A few months later, the deputy speaker of parliament said, “Although there may be some minor differences among Iranian officials on various internal issues, all authorities of the country share a common view regarding support for the resistance movement of the Palestinian nation against Israel.?(69)
Lebanese Hizballah?s spiritual leader rejects allegations that there are divisions in the Iranian political elite regarding Tehran’s stand towards his organization. He said: “Imam Khamene?i, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic, is committed to the resistance and is in agreement with President Khatami in this regard. Therefore, anyone who tries to play this game of the political space between Khamene?i and Khatami as far as the resistance is concerned is not aware of the nature of the agreement in the minds of these two gentlemen.”(70)
IRAN AND AL-QA?IDA
Tehran makes no secret of its relationship with Hizballah, Hamas, the PIJ, and the PFLP-GC, but it rejects allegations that is has anything to do with al-Qa?ida, the terrorist organization responsible for the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks against the United States. Indeed, the U.S. State Department?s Patterns of Global Terrorism — 2001 report states: ?There is no evidence of Iranian sponsorship or foreknowledge of the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States.? Nevertheless, anonymous officials from the U.S. intelligence community and intelligence community documents assert that al-Qa?ida tried to establish a relationship with Iran in the mid-1990s, and U.S. officials accuse hard-line and unaccountable elements within the Iranian government of facilitating the escape from Afghanistan of al-Qa?ida personnel after October 2001.(71)
Tehran eventually conceded the near impossibility of sealing the 936 kilometer-long border, and the Iranian Minister of Intelligence and Security acknowledged the arrest of many foreigners who had rushed to the Taliban?s aid and later, after they fled Afghanistan, entered Iran through Pakistani Baluchistan, although he remained adamant that no al-Qa?ida members had entered the country.(76) Iranian parliamentarians and regional media, however, openly discussed the detention in Iran of al-Qa?ida members.(77) The Iranian Foreign Minister told the legislature in early-March that all of the detainees were sent to their countries of origin, and Tehran?s permanent representative to the UN repeated this claim later in the month.(78)
Coinciding with concerns about the disappearance of al-Qa?ida personnel were concerns that al-Qa?ida would establish links with other terrorist organizations. Hizballah seemed a likely candidate, as it already had a relationship of sorts with al-Qa?ida. During a trial relating to al-Qa?ida?s 1998 bombings of the U.S embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, a man described by the U.S. government as a long-time and trusted lieutenant of bin Ladin had testified that he made the security arrangements for a meeting between the head of Hizballah and bin Ladin sometime in the mid- to late-1990s.(80) This individual testified that Hizballah gave explosives training for al-Qa?ida and the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, and the Egyptians also obtained weapons from Iran.
Academic observers could regard as sloppy official American reports about Iranian support for international terrorism because they do not offer proof or evidence to support their assertions. Statements by U.S. government officials who refuse to be identified are not entirely convincing, either. Just because Iranian officials meet with their counterparts from Hizballah, Hamas, the PIJ, and the PFLP-GC in Tehran and other places, furthermore, it does not mean that the Iranians are providing them with the means or the encouragement to carry out terrorist activities.
When high-level American officials go on record as saying that Iran is behind terrorist activities, however, it is fairly certain that they have convincing evidence of this. The same can be said about the State Department?s annual reports on terrorism. It is reasonable to expect the intelligence community to protect its sources and methods. Who one chooses to believe ? Tehran or Washington ? comes down to a matter of trust and patriotism.
This article, therefore, is more about perceptions. Washington sees Iran as a state supporter of terrorism. Tehran denies this and levels the same accusation at Washington. After the State Department released its Patterns of Global Terrorism — 2001 report, the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said that the statements about Iranian support of terrorism are “baseless and outside the scope of U.S. authority.”(87) He said that the charges against Iran reflected U.S. hostility to the Islamic republic and were meant as a whitewash of failures in U.S. foreign policy, and the Palestinians’ efforts to liberate the occupied territories reflect a “legitimate resistance.” Iranian state radio commented, “America, as the main supporter of this regime [Israel] is the main supporter of terrorism in the world.”(88)
These conflicting perceptions are not without costs for Iran. Identification as a state sponsor of terrorism means that the U.S. government will impose four sets of sanctions against Iran. These sanctions include a ban on arms-related exports and sales, as well as controls over the export of dual-use items (“goods or services that could significantly enhance the terrorist-list country’s military capability or ability to support terrorism”). Economic assistance will be prohibited, too. Other restrictions include opposition to loans from the World Bank and other international financial institutions, denial of tax credits to individuals and companies who earn income in listed countries, prohibitions on unlicensed financial transactions with listed governments, and prohibition of Defense Department contracts worth more than $100,000 with companies controlled by listed states.
The Antiterrorism and Death Penalty Act sets out penalties or ?secondary sanctions? for individuals and countries that deal with Iran and other countries on the terrorism list.(89) Other U.S. legislation is a reaction to Iranian support for terrorism. Executive Order 12959 of 6 May 1995 bans U.S. trade and investment in Iran and was issued after a series of bombings in Israel by pro-Iranian groups.(90) The Iran-Libya Sanctions Act, passed in 1996 and renewed in 2001, is intended to dissuade foreign countries from investing in the Iranian sector, thereby reducing Iranian funding of terrorist groups.(91)
These laws do not prevent the White House from engaging in a dialog with the Iranian government, but Tehran has demanded the lifting of such measures against it before it will engage in a dialogue with Washington. This impasse seems irreconcilable, as does the impasse over the meaning of ?terrorism.?
1. This version of the constitution appears on the website of the Iranology Foundation (Bonyad-i Iran-Shenasi), which is affiliated with Iran?s Ministry of Education and Training . Regardless of this, Tehran feels no obligation to help the people of Chechnya against their Russian oppressors; see A.W. Samii, ?Iran and
Chechnya: Realpolitik at Work,? Middle East Policy Vol. VIII, No. 1 (March 2001).
2. Ayatollah ?Ali-Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, the Tehran Friday prayers sermon, Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran, July 19, 2002.
3. In the 1980s and until the late-1990s, the Iranian regime frequently targeted overseas dissidents, according to the U.S. State Department?s annual Pattern?s of Global Terrorism reports, but this is outside the scope of this paper because of its reduced frequency in recent years. The Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI) head was murdered in Vienna in 1989 and aMujahedin-i Khalq Organization (MKO) leader was killed in 1990. Former Prime
Minister Shahpur Bakhtiar was murdered in his home near Paris in August 1991. Iranian government agents assassinated four opposition members in Berlin in September 1992, and in 1997 Germany convicted, in abstentia, Iran? s Supreme Leader, President, Minister of Intelligence and Security, and Minister of Foreign Affairs for their parts in these killings.
In 1994, Iran was linked with the killing of at least four MKO members in Italy, Pakistan, and Turkey. In 1994, KDPI members were killed in Turkey and Iraq, and a member was wounded in Sweden. In that same year, two MKO members were killed in Iraq, and Tehran may have been behind the murders of dissidents in Copenhagen and in Bucharest. Tehran assassinated seven overseas dissidents in 1995, eight in 1996, and at least 13 in 1997. The killings of dissident exiles tapered off by 1998, with the regime focusing on its domestic opponents instead. Nevertheless, Iranians were killed in Pakistan and Tajikistan that year. Since that time, MKO members in Iraq have been killed.
4. Zalmay Khalilzad?s 2 August 2002 speech at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy; . Khalilzad said in a March 13, 2002 speech to the American-Iranian Council?s Noruz gala that Tehran supports terrorism, and he called on Iran “to take the decisive action necessary in the fight against terrorism.” Two of the steps that Khalilzad urged Tehran to take were not serving as a safe haven for terrorists and severing its connections with terrorist organizations;
5. Office of the Coordinator for Counter-terrorism, United States Department of State, Patterns of Global Terrorism ? 2000, released April 2001.
6. Ayatollah Muhammad ?Ali Taskhiri, who is Director of the International Relations Department of the I.P.O., at the International Conference on Terrorism called by the Organization of the Islamic Conference, Geneva, June 22-26, 1987.
7. Kamal Kharrazi, cited by Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), October 10, 2001.
8. Kamal Kharrazi speaking at the Organization of Islamic Conference meeting in Kuala Lumpur; Reuters, April 2, 2002.
9. The Supreme Leader?s representative in the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, Hojatoleslam ?Ali Movahedi-Kermani, cited by the Iranian Students’ News Agency, April 5, 2002.
10. Speaker of Parliament Hojatoleslam Mehdi Karrubi, cited by IRNA, September 27, 2001.
11. Ayatollah ?Ali-Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, the Tehran Friday prayers sermon, Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran, September 28, 2001.
13. ?Security Council Unanimously Adopts Wide-ranging Anti-terrorism Resolution;? Press Release SC/7158;
14. Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran, October 1, 2001.
15. Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi, IRNA, October 11, 2001.
16. CommuniquĂ?Â©Ă?Â Ă?ÂŻf the Ninth Extraordinary Session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers; Doha, Qatar; (10 October 2001);
17. Independent, April 4, 2002.
20. International Herald Tribune, April 5, 2002.
21. These are Taskhiri?s comments when he headed the Iranian delegation to a symposium in Amman on the ?Future of Islam in the 21st Century,? as reported by IRNA and cited by The Jerusalem Post, August 8, 2002.
23. IRNA, June12, 2002.
24. Ayatollah ?Ali-Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran, May 17, 2002.
25. Ayatollah ?Ali Khamene?i, Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran, May 1, 2002.
26. Patterns of Global Terrorism ? 1989, released April 1990.
27. Patterns of Global Terrorism ? 2001, released May 21, 2002.
28. The Times, September 28, 2001.
29. Vision of the Islamic Republic of Iran Network 1, January 31, 2002. Khamene?i was reacting to President Bush?s January 29 State of the Union address. Khamene?i also said that Bush had demonstrated a ?thirst for humanblood? and America was the ?world?s most cursed Satan.?
30. Mohtashami-Pur, cited by The Independent, October 23, 1991. On the creation of the organization, see Magnus Ranstorp, Hizb?allah in Lebanon: The Politics of the Western Hostage Crisis, (New York: St. Martin?s Press, 1997).
31. Ambassador Michael A. Sheehan, Coordinator for Counterterrorism, Testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, Washington, DC, November 2, 1999.
32. Interview with Hizballah’s Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim al-Qasim, Beirut’s Al-Nahar, July 19, 2001.
33. Hizballah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah during a May 25, 2001 call-in program on Qatar’s Al-Jazirah satellite television.
34. Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mar 20, 2001.
35. IRNA, May 2, 2001.
36. Paris’ Al-Watan al-Arabi, May 11, 2001
37. PIJ Secretary-General Ramadan Abdallah Shallah, cited by Beirut?s Manar Television, June 5, 2001.
38. Iranian Vice President for Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Muhammad ?AliAbtahi met with Nasrallah, according to reports from Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran, November 9, 2001, and Beirut?s Manar Television, November 9, 2001.
39. Muhammad Sadr speaking during a meeting with Hassan Nasrallah, Beirut?s Manar Television, December 28, 2001.
40. Syrian Arab TV, February 14, 2002, and IRNA, February 15, 2002.
41. Beirut?s Manar Television, April 12, 2002.
42. Beirut?s Manar Television, June 2, 2002.
43. Beirut?s Manar Television, January 9, 2002.
44. Al-Safir, January 11, 2002.
45. Hojatoleslam Muhammadi Golpayegani, cited by Vision of the Islamic
Republic of Iran, April 27, 2002.
46. On Khamene?i?s meeting with Nasrallah; London?s Al-Sharq al-Awsat, April 26, 2001. Khamene?i delivered the conference?s opening speech; Tehran Times, April 25, 2002. President Khatami?s meetings with the heads of the PIJ, PFLP-GC, and Hizballah are described in several IRNA dispatches, April 24, 2001.
47. Al-Jazirah satellite television, April 25, 2001.
48. IRNA, June 2, 2002.
49. Vision of the Islamic Republic of Iran, June 2, 2002.
50. PIJ Secretary-General Ramadan Abdallah Shallah, cited by Vision of the Islamic Republic of Iran, June 2, 2002.
51. ?In January 2002, Israeli forces boarded the vessel Karine-A in the Red Sea and uncovered nearly 50 tons of Iranian arms, including Katyusha missiles, apparently bound for militants in the West Bank and Gaza Strip;? Patterns of Global Terrorism ? 2001, released May 21, 2002.
52. Minister of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics ?Ali Shamkhani, cited by IRNA, January 13, 2002.
53. Jerusalem?s Channel 2 TV, January 16, 2002.
54. U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell testified to the House Appropriations Committee that ?He [Arafat] wrote me a letter three days ago on the Karine-A, accepting responsibility – not personal responsibility, but as chairman of the Palestinian Authority.” BBC, February 14, 2002, and NYT, February 14, 2002. This acceptance of responsibility appeared to be little
more than a sop to the U.S., because Arafat continued to deny any responsibility for the incident in interviews with Arabic media. In a February 16, 2002 interview with London?s MBC television, Arafat said: ?It [Israel] has exploited the [arms] ship affair. Does anybody believe that the Iranians give us weapons? The Iranians have denied that. Do I need weapons?
As is known, I left Beirut with my weapon. I also left Tripoli with my weapon. I have weapons everywhere. Why should I go and purchase [weapons] while I have no money??
55. The arms shipment on the Karine A was the result of a secret alliance created by Tehran and Palestinian Authority leader Yassir Arafat, according to anonymous sources cited in The New York Times, March 24, 2002. Un-named ?American and Israeli officials? added that since the Palestinian uprising began Tehran has provided cash bonuses to Palestinian Islamic Jihad for each suicide bombing.
56. Palestinian Authority Cabinet Secretary Ahmad Abd al-Rahman, cited by Al-Ayyam, March 25, 2002.
57. Doha?s Al-Watan March 19, 2002.
58. London?s Al-Majallah, March 24-30, 2002.
59. Anthony H. Cordesman and Ahmed S. Hashim, Iran: Dilemmas of Dual Containment, (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1997), p. 149. PIK leader Mala Krekar visited Iran in May 2002, Hawlati reported on May 27, 2002, and the Kurdish daily emphasized that Iran clandestinely supports the PIK. Amidst speculation about al-Qa?ida support for the Kurdish Islamists, PUK commander Ramadan Dekoni said that Tehran supports the PIK, the weekly Ray Gishti reported on July 7, 2002. The PUK is generally reluctant to discuss Tehran?s
relationship with the Islamists, because of its dependence on and vulnerability to Iran.
60. Regarding Iranian involvement in Egyptian terrorism, see Barry Rubin, Islamic Fundamentalism in Egyptian Politics, 2nd revised edition (Palgrave Press, 2002).
61. See the statement by Attorney General John Ashcroft, , and for the actual indictment, see
62. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Assefi said that the “charges against Iran?have no legal and judicial basis,” IRNA reported on June 22, 2001. He went on to say that the charges are part of “the ceaseless efforts of the United States to pressure the Islamic Republic,” and they are indicative of submission to “the Zionist lobby and its influence.”
63. The four connected with the 1996 bombing are Ahmad Ibrahim al-Mughassil, ?Ali Said bin ?Ali el-Hoorie, Ibrahim Salih Muhammad al-Yacub, and Abdelkarim Hussein Muhammad al-Nasser. Another three men on the list are members of Lebanese Hizballah: Imad Fayez Mughniyah, ?Ali Atwa, and Hassan Izz-al-din. An “informed Iranian official” said that claims that Iran is sheltering these people are “baseless and unfounded,” IRNA reported on October 11, 2001.
64. Patterns of Global Terrorism — 1999. Patterns of Global Terrorism — 2000. Patterns of Global Terrorism ? 2001.
65. More than half of the Iranian parliament reacted to reports about the Karine A incident and about the presence in Iran of al-Qa?ida personnel by demanding an investigation on February 21, 2002; see RFE/RL Iran Report, Vol. 5, No. 9 (March 11, 2002). It would appear that this reaction reflected a fear of U.S. or Israeli retaliation, rather than a lack of sympathy towards the Palestinian cause, and was based on domestic political concerns. Parliamentarian Mohsen Armin, for example, accused Iranian hardliners of trying to use the perceived military threat and the creation of tensions as an excuse for declaring a state of emergency; Aftab-i Yazd, February 25, 2002. During this state of emergency the hardliners could stifle political debate.
66. Vision of the Islamic Republic of Iran, January 15, 2001.
67. Khatami?s meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad, Damascus radio, January 25, 2001.
68. IRNA, January 7, 2001
69. Muhammad Reza Khatami during a meeting with Hizballah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, cited by IRNA, April 26, 2001.
70. Sheikh Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah, cited by Al-Safir, July 13, 2001. Fadlallah said that there were efforts in Iran to have a fatwa issued that would sanction the shedding of his blood. These efforts did not succeed, Fadlallah said in the June 11, 2001 issue of the London-based Al-Zaman newspaper, and he has good formal relations with the Iranian leadership,
although it does not recognize his authority.
71. Zalmay Khalilzad?s August 2, 2002 speech at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy; .
72. James Risen, ?Bin Laden Sought Iran as an Ally, U.S. Intelligence Documents Say,? New York Times, December 31, 2001. The reports are ?classified,? according to this article, but it does not identify the classification nor does it say how they were acquired.
73. Zalmay Khalilzad said that ?quite a few? al-Qa?ida members were in Iran; Reuters, January 18, 2002. U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, speaking on ABC television?s ?This Week,? February 3, 2002.
74. Vision of the Islamic Republic of Iran, January 13, 2002.
75. Hamid Reza Assefi, cited by IRNA, February 4, 2002.
76. Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi, cited by IRNA, February 6, 2002. MOIS chief ?Ali Yunesi, cited by Vision of the Islamic Republic of Iran and IRNA, February 7, 2002.
77. ?Diplomatic sources in Dubai? confirmed that Iran is holding 12 al-Qa? ida leaders; al-Quds al-Arabi, January 28, 2002. An anonymous ?senior Iranian politician? said that Tehran is holding one or two high-level al-Qa?ida or Taliban figures; Financial Times, February 12, 2002. Iranian Parliamentarian Mohsen Tarkashvan said, ?some al-Qa?ida members who have illegally entered Iran have been arrested, and security forces are searching for the rest;?
Khorasan, February 13, 2002. An anonymous ?informed source? described the arrest of 150 people with links to al-Qa?ida and the Taliban; IRNA, February 14, 2002. Parliamentarian Elaheh Kulyai said that the legislature?s National Security Committee met with state security officials about the presence in Iran of al-Qa?ida members; Aftab-i Yazd, February 17, 2002.
Hayat-i No daily on February 17, reported that the Egyptian-born Ayman Al-Zawahiri, believed to be the second-highest official in al-Qa?ida, is being held in Iran?s Evin Prison. A ?Jordanian diplomatic source? and ?informed sources? said that Tehran arrested ?many Jordanians,? Al-Arab al-Yawm reported on February 28, 2002, and Jordanian ambassador to Tehran Bassam Omoush urged Tehran to hand over Jordanian prisoners, deutsche presse agentur news agency
reported on March 3, 2002.
78. Parliamentarian ?Ali Tajernia describing Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi ?s comments; IRNA, March 5, 2002. Hadi Nejad-Husseinian, cited by IRNA, March 27, 2002.
79. Zalmay Khalilzad?s August 2, 2002 speech at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy; .
80. ?Ali A. Muhammad gave this testimony. He also said that he was involved with Egyptian Islamic Jihad in the 1980s. Benjamin Weiser, ?Bin Laden Linked to Embassy Blast by an Ex-Soldier,? New York Times, October 21, 2000
81. Dana Priest and Douglas Farah, ?Terror Alliance Has U.S. Worried,? Washington Post, June 30, 2002.
82. “I just don’t see it,” according to Congressional Research Service Middle East specialist Kenneth Katzman, “There’s not a lot of commonality there;” cited in Dana Priest and Douglas Farah, ?Terror Alliance Has U.S. Worried,? Washington Post, June 30, 2002.
83. London?s Al-Majallah, March 24-30, 2002.
84. Doha?s Al-Watan March 19, 2002.
87. Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Assefi, cited by IRNA, May 22, 2002.
88. Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran, May 22, 2002. A resolution passed after July 19, 2002 anti-U.S. rallies in Tehran also asserted that the U.S., because of its support for Israel, is the main supporter of terrorism; Vision of the Islamic Republic of Iran, July 19, 2002.
89. Ken Katzman, U.S.-Iranian Relations: An Analytic Compendium of U.S. Policies, Laws and Regulations, The Atlantic Council of the United States Occasional Paper (Washington, DC: December 1999), pp. 120-138.
90. Ibid., pp. 41-42.
91. Ibid., pp. 46-58.