Just as news was breaking that Iran had sheltered more than half of the hijackers in the 9/11 plot, a group of liberal foreign policy hacks were calling for the “liberalization” of relations between Iran and the United States. Iran has stayed in the spotlight because of the revelations that Iran sponsors terror within Iraq. How could American “scholars” have misread the situation so badly?
According to a news item released by Time and Newsweek, the anticipated report of the 9/11 Commission contains strong new evidence on the ties between al-Qaeda and the Islamic Republic of Iran. The findings of this Commission indicate that the regime in Tehran had more to do with helping Osama bin Laden than Saddam Hussein did. In its July 16 issue, Time reports:
These findings follow a commission staff report, released in June, which suggested that al-Qaeda may have collaborated with Hezbollah and its Iranian sponsors in the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers, a key American military barracks in Saudi Arabia. Previously, the attack had been attributed only to Hezbollah, with Iranian support. A U.S. indictment of Bin Laden filed in 1998 for the bombing of U.S. embassies in Africa said Al-Qaeda “forged alliances...with the government of Iran and its associated terrorist group Hezbollah for the purpose of working together against their perceived common enemies in the West, particularly the United States.”
The Commission also concluded that 8-10 of the 14 hijackers involved in attacking the Twin Towers in New York passed through Iran in a period from October 2000 to February 2001. Anti-terrorism experts assert that dating back to October 2000, the Islamic Republic has "had a history of allowing al-Qaeda members to enter and exit across the Afghan border with Iranian authorities issuing specific instructions to their border guards to facilitate their travel and offer them cooperation.” This comes as no surprise: For the past quarter of a century, Iranian territory has been a welcome destination for political assassins and a colloquium for international masterminds of violence and terror. (Naturally, he officials of the Islamic Republic of course deny any connection with al-Qaeda, as they also deny helping the insurgency in Iraq and any plan to acquire nuclear weapons.)
All this activity rests against a long history of anti-American terrorist advocacy. From the massacre of the U.S. Marines in their barracks in Beirut in 1983, to the attack against the USS Cole in 2000, the Islamic Republic of Iran stands unrivaled in its claim to the world’s premier sponsor of terrorism. The embassies of the Islamic Republic around the globe are cells for financing and training Islamic fanatics. Those pupils who display promising talents for brutality and blind obedience are awarded with “educational” opportunities, in camps operated by the Revolutionary Guards.
Members of the so-called reformist cabinet of the lame-duck President Khatami hold news conferences pontificating on what policies the government of the Islamic Republic should pursue underlining the fact that they have nothing to do with the running of the country. Vice president Mohammad Abtahi told Gareth Smyth of The Financial Times (on July 19, 2004) that Iran should ”continue a policy of detente and keep away from things that can become a big political crisis.” Mr. Abtahi's favorite expression is, “I cannot explain” the action of the Iranian government. He uses this line most recently when asked about last month's detention of British sailors by the Revolutionary Guards.
Despite this well-known history, the Council on Foreign Relations’ Taskforce, chaired by President Carter's failed National Security Advisor – Zbigniew Brzezinski – submitted its report on July 19, exploring the possibility of warmed relations between Iran and the United States. The report released by this Taskforce on July 19 advocates establishing commercial ties and engaging in a dialogue with the regime in Tehran. Disinterring the disastrous policies of appeasement practiced by Jimmy Carter's administration toward the Islamic Republic, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and his Council on Foreign Relations Taskforce are reinforcing the powerful mullahs within the United States itself.
History appears to have thrown cold water on their appeasenik plans. However, if it comes to pass that the recommendation of this Taskforce is put into practice, Americans should prepare themselves for a variation on the same theme of horror and humiliation that kept them breathless during the final 444 days of the Carter presidency. Since that crisis, the terrorists have developed far ghastlier methods than they once employed in Tehran. Unfortunately, officials of the Carter administration (including President Carter himself) still seem to have learned nothing from the course of national shame and defeat they steered for the United States of America.
To succumb to the fear of terrorist reprisal or temptation of striking lucrative financial deals with the dictators in Tehran is to rob our world of a free and secure future. Should there be a dialogue with Iranians-at-large? Definitely. But not with the authorities of the Islamic Republic. The mullahs are incapable of understanding the basic values of democracy and civilization. Sitting with them at a negotiating table can only provide them with the recognition they covet – a recognition they certainly do not deserve.