Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) are usually associated with humanitarian relief and peaceful advocacy work. As such, it is not everyday that an NGO is in charge of recruiting “suicide volunteers” to dispatch overseas to strike at “world arrogance.”
Yet that was precisely the case at a three-day conference in June sponsored by the Iranian government and its state-financed “Committee for Commemoration of Martyrs of the Global Islamic Movement,” which the mullahs bill as an NGO.
According to the Tehran-based daily Sharq, the conference – which was held in Tehran – provided a forum for volunteers to register their names for suicide attacks. Over 10,000 candidates from around the world reportedly signed on.
The calls to join the “Army of Martyrs” began at mosques across Iran following Friday prayers, after which registration forms were distributed by the tens of thousands at local Islamic universities to prospective male and female suicide attackers.
At the conference – which was held in a government-owned hall – Brigadier General Sardar Salami, Director of Operations for the Revolutionary Guards, delivered a keynote speech titled “Suicide Operations: A Security and Military Strategy Perspective.”
“Sometimes, creating a tactical incident brings about strategic results,” said Salami. “As you see, the explosion of two World Trade Center towers divided history to before and after [Sept. 11]. And with this minor incident, policy of the United States and other world and regional powers changed…”
In an indirect reference to Iran’s nuclear weapons program, Salami added: “The Americans now know that the Muslims with tendencies for suicide missions have acquired new technology and have technological capabilities which have caused more fear for them.”
Another high ranking Revolutionary Guards commander present at the meeting stated: “Since the Committee for Commemoration of Martyrs is an NGO, it does not need to ask for permission of the country’s military institutions if it decides to carry out an operation. Their operations would be similar to those by Palestinians and have nothing to do with the regime in Iran.”
In a speech entitled, “Suicide Operations: The Last Resort,” the conference’s closing speaker, Hassan Abbassi-one of the top officials of the Revolutionary Guards-actually tried to rationalize Iran’s support of terrorism.
Calling terrorism “asymmetric defense,” Abbassi added: “If Muslims create fear in the heathen world, this fear is sacred; it is not terrorism or violence.”
These comments followed ones made by Abbassi in May at the Technical College of Tehran, where he stated: “We have identified some 29 weak points for attacks in the U.S. and in the West. We intend to explode some 6,000 American atomic warheads. We have shared our intelligence with other guerilla groups and we shall utilize them as well…We have contacted the Mexicans and the Argentineans and will work with anyone who has an axe to grind with America.”
This is an unequivocal admission to carrying out state-sponsored terrorist activities inside Iran and abroad. The Iranian regime provides the organization, logistics, funding and recruitment under a front group, in this case an NGO, to ensure plausible deniability while reaping the political windfalls of such operations. In 1979, students calling themselves the “Followers of the Imam [Khomeini] Line,” served the same purpose.
The behavior of high-ranking Iranian officials at the recent “suicide bombers conference” kept with a growing pattern of incendiary behavior by Iran’s ruling regime.
Tehran’s growing meddling in Iraq has come under increasing scrutiny, and the London-based daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat reports that the recent apprehension of eight British servicemen in the Shatt-al-Arab waterway was due to the fact that Iran wanted to swap them for 40 suicide bomber volunteers that had been arrested at the Iraq/Iran border and handed over to British forces.
Moreover, the most recent report by the International Atomic Energy Agency on Iran’s nuclear program chronicles a long list of deceit, defiance, contradictory accounts and denial of access to some key sites. And new satellite photos reveal that Iran is hastily demolishing some facilities north of Tehran suspected of being a nuclear site before the IAEA has a chance to inspect them.
The mullahs, who are encountering roadblocks in advancing their plans in Iraq and in the area of nuclear weapons, are now resorting to blatant threats and even the use of state-sanctioned terrorism to intimidate their critics and force them into appeasement.
A strong message of support must be delivered by the United States to the courageous Iranians who are bent on unseating the ruling theocratic regime and who serve as our best hope for an Iran free of torture, terror, and WMDs. Only then we will be certain that Iran’s 10,000 candidates of terror will not have a chance to complete their training program.