Republic of Iran. South Florida Sun Sentinel
By Nasser Rashidi
The war in Iraq has developed into what can be viewed as a battle between the free world and Islamic fundamentalism. The mullahs in Iran wish to destroy the hopes of the Iraqi people for freedom and democracy by provoking instability in Iraq and eventually to bring an Islamic fundamentalist government to power. Iraq is the arena where international terrorism demonstrates its real face -- Islamic fundamentalism -- and its actual sponsor, the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Let's review some information about Tehran's rulers:
The mullahs' leaders have kept up their overt rhetoric to fuel insurgency in Iraq, while covertly they provide logistical support as well as manpower. Millions of dollars in material support and thousands of intelligence agents, revolutionary guards and mercenaries have found their way into Iraq across the long porous borders between the two countries.
In mid-June a group from Teheran called "the Committee Commemorating the Martyrs of Islam's Global Movement" claimed that they registered about 15,000 Iranians, including members of the mullahs' intelligence agencies, for suicide bombing operations in Iraq, as well as in other lands of the region.
On June 25, Pakistani border police arrested some 18 men trying to sneak into Pakistan on false Bangladeshi passports, three of them being Iranian agents. About the same time, Iraqi authorities rounded up eight Iranian intelligence officers in Najaf, and one other, a high-ranking officer in the Revolutionary Guards, was caught while attempting to sabotage an oil pipeline.
Iran's mullahs have plenty to gain from the unrest, instability, political turmoil, and economic failures of Iraq and Afghanistan among other countries in the region. The exportation of Iran's Islamic revolution serves to cover-up the mullahs' own instability and fragile position in Iran and is the flip side of the coin of their ongoing policy of domestic suppression.
Peace and stability in Iraq and throughout the entire region is only possible through an all out confrontation of Iran's regime. The mullahs' hope is that in this election year the United States will not take the lead in any initiations beyond Iraq and Afghanistan. Banking on this, the Iranian regime is pushing its luck on both fronts: extending suppression inside Iran and exporting fundamentalism and terrorism outside Iran, particularly into Iraq.
Europe and the United States must join forces and take a firm stand against the fundamentalist regime of Iran. They must refuse to be intimidated by the mullahs' terrorist acts, and refuse any type of negotiations as long as Iran continues to sponsor terrorism, acquire weapon of mass destruction and violate the rights of its people.
There is now a pragmatic solution, centered on the Iranian opposition, to uproot Islamic fundamentalism once and for all. The Western countries should support this international movement and the efforts of Iranian people for a regime change.
Nasser Rashidi is a human rights activist with the National Coalition of Pro-Democracy Advocates in Washington, D.C.