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Jewish World Review Feb. 20, 2004 / 28 Shevat, 5764

Michael Ledeen

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Stalinist Mullahs: The Iranian regime is in open battle with its own people | Iran is now racing, literally hell-bent toward two dramatic confrontations: one within the country, between forces of tyranny and forces of democracy and/or reform. The other rages outside the country, a desperate war against the United States, its Coalition allies, and the Iraqis who support us. Both derive from the fundamental weakness of the fundamentalist regime, which has lost the support of the overwhelming majority of the Iranian people, and is increasingly defining itself a pariah state because of its support for terror and its brazen pursuit of atomic weapons.

Unreported in the American press and apparently unnoted by the leaders of the Bush administration, the regime is in open battle with its own people. In late January the regime's thugs murdered four workers, injured more than 40 others, and arrested nearly 100 more in Shahr-e Babak and the small village of Khatoonabad, prompting an official protest from the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions. (Would that the American trade-union movement had leaders worthy of the name, capable of expressing such outrage). Demonstrations five days ago in the western city of Marivan were so potent that the regime sent helicopter gunships to shoot down protestors, and there are reports that members of the regular armed forces joined the demonstrators. And in Hamadan, demonstrators clashed with security forces after the closure of the unfortunately named "Islamic Equity Ban." The demonstrators accused the bank managers of stealing the bank's money and smuggling it out of the country to their personal benefit, and that of the regime's top figures. The charge is credible because, as Western governments know well, large quantities of cash — just as in the case of Saddam Hussein — have been moved out of Iran in recent months by friends and relatives of the leading officials.

Much more attention has been given to the "hard-liners vs. reformers" kabuki dance leading up to Friday's parliamentary elections. The ritual dance itself-the hard-liners first removed thousands of reformers from the electoral lists, then, following protests, restored a few hundred — is not as important as most reporters and columnists would have us believe, since the makeup of the parliament has nothing to do with the real exercise of power in Iran. But the lessons from the dance are enormously important. Above all, the dance has shown both the political impotence and the moral fecklessness of President Khatami, because he first failed to get his people on the ballot, and then, once the Supreme Leader and the various theocratic institutions had slapped him down, he supinely obeyed and then had the cheek to call upon the people to turn out and vote, in support of "Iranian democracy." Maybe he'd been listening too much to Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, the other great philosopher of "Iranian democracy."

The other great lesson is that many Iranians, when pushed to the wall by the tyrants, do indeed have the courage to fight back. In an unprecedented step, more than 100 reformers issued a letter to Supreme Leader Khamenei, in which they used language more traditionally reserved for greater and lesser satans in Washington and Jerusalem. They surely know that punishment will be severe, but they did it anyway. One fine day such shows of courage will inspire the Iranian people to defend them en masse, fill the public spaces of the major cities with demonstrators, and demand an end to the regime. And one fine day such actions will compel the Bush administration to support the Iranian people. And on that day the regime will fall, and with it the keystone to the international terror network with which we are at war.

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Meanwhile, the regime is placing terrorists in parliament. Loyal members of the security forces are now candidates in the upcoming elections from Teheran and other metropolitan center. For example, 30 candidates running under the banner of Abadegarane Irane Eslami (The Builders of an Islamic Iran) are members of the security forces and are being managed by the father-in-law of Khamenei's daughter Mr. Hadad Adel. For example:

1. Parviz Sorouri, a top Basij organizer in western Teheran. He is the editor-in-chief of Revolutionary Guard (Pasdaran) publications in Lebanon and Syria. A terrorist activist.

2. Said AbuTaleb, a member of the security apparatus and intelligence of Pasdaran. He was active in Iraq, posing as a television worker. He was arrested in Iraq and later released.

3. Hosseyn Fadai, one of the organizers of the army's branch known as the Badr forces. The Badr forces have undertaken terrorist activities in Iraq. A known terrorist, he is also a member of the group that oversees supplies for the armed forces.

4. Mehis Kouchakzad, responsible for organizing the safehouses for the terrorists in Karbala, a known terrorist.

5. Elias Naderan, the manager of legal matters regarding the Pasdaran in parliament.

6. Alireza Zaakni, responsible for the Basij at Teheran University and its presence in the student body, he oversees all Basij/student activities nationwide.

7. Emad Afrough, a member of the Governing Council of the Army and in charge of security and intelligence matters in the Guardian Council.

8. Seyyed Fezollah Moussavi, director of the Committee for the Defense of the Palestinian Nation and the head of the council overlooking the benefits of the Martyrs of the Intifada, a known terrorist group.

The chief of staff of the armed forces has cancelled all leaves for all military personnel starting Tuesday for one week. All soldiers have been commanded to cast their ballots in the elections on Friday, as have all members of the revolutionary guards and all air force personnel.

In other words, the regime is now removing the "reformist" mask from all Iranian institutions. Henceforth we will see Stalinist Shiites alone.

And we may see them with atomic bombs. Oddly, just as the foreign minister was announcing Iran's intention to sell enriched uranium to interested parties — thereby spitting in the eye of the French, German, and English diplomats who sang love songs to themselves just a few short months ago, proclaiming they had negotiated an end to the Iranian nuclear program — two smugglers were arrested in Iraq, near Mosul, with what an Iraqi general described as a barrel of uranium. Here is what General Hikmat Mahmoud Mohammed had to say about the event: "This material is in the category of weapons of mass destruction, which is why the investigation is secret. The two suspects were transferred to American forces, who are in charge of the inquiry."

Compulsive readers of these little essays may remember that, late last summer, I told CIA that I had been informed of a supply of enriched uranium in Iraq, some of which had been carried to Iran a few years ago. I had offered to put CIA in touch with the original couriers, who said they would take American inspectors to the site, but CIA could not be bothered to go look.

I am told that the uranium in the barrel near Mosul came from the same secret laboratory. Perhaps now the CIA will think better of my sources, and work harder to find these materials.

Faster, please.

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JWR contributor Michael Ledeen is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and author of, most recently, ""The War Against the Terror Masters," Comment by clicking here.


02/11/04: The Jihadis' Primal Scream: Zarkawi's "Yaarrrhhh!"
02/04/04: Inelegant Lies: Making sense out of mullahs
02/03/04: Potemkin WMDs? Really?
01/27/04: The Jihad on Iraq: Bad analysis and bad policy
01/20/04: Our Moment of Vainglory: A p.c. mess
01/06/04: Aftershocks: The West must read the meter in Bam and Tehran
12/02/03: Managing Iraq: We can't continue this way
11/26/03: Back to the Angleton Files
11/25/03: The Turks, Italians & us — never again
11/06/03: Regional Struggle: Fighting narrow vision in Iraq
11/04/03: Unpunished Failure: What are we waiting for?
10/21/03: Curses: Diamonds and Naples
10/15/03: Into the Quagmire: Important days ahead for Iran
09/18/03: The Ayatollahs’ bomb: An invulnerability strategy
09/12/03: You can't make peace until the war is won
09/11/03: Ron Paul, dishonorable congressman
09/03/03: The Latest Horrors: Still organized
08/29/03: The Peace Trap: Back to the war, please
08/27/03: Angrier and Angrier: Self-deception, big-time
08/25/03: Iraq's terrorists have friends in high places
07/10/03: The Future of Iran: Armitage might want to rethink that "democracy" line
07/02/03: Looking Toward July 9: Independence Day in Iran?
06/24/03: Iran: Back the freedom fighters
06/17/03: The Iranian Revolution, 2003: Regime change in the air
06/05/03: Academic Standards: A Middle East scholar has his way with the truth.
05/28/03: The Moment of Truth? U.S. policy could determine Iran's destiny
05/15/03: Iran's Path: Stopping the mullahs in their tracks
05/13/03: The Nuclear Axis of Evil: The people solution
05/08/03: Inside the Dark: Applebaum's ‘Gulag’
05/06/03: Tough Guy: Powell's curious priority list
05/01/03: Desert Shame Redux: Want a free Iran and a free Syria? We have to fight for it
04/25/03: Timing Is Everything: We have a narrow window in Iraq to win Shiite support
04/15/03: Political war can remove terror masters in Syria and Iran
04/07/03: The Others: We have miles to go in eliminating the Axis
04/02/03: French Lies: Take the foreign minister at his word
03/31/03: Why muzzle Saddam's foes?
03/28/03: The post-war terror threat
03/26/03: All Fronts: Military war, political war, psychological war
03/24/03: More Bad News for Daschle: Taking out terror of all nationalities
03/21/03: The Killer Pneu: Virus terror from China
03/13/03: Iran: Nuclear suicide bombers?
03/11/03: A Theory: What if there's method to the Franco-German madness?
03/05/03: The Iranian-Election Revolt: The people speak. The West won't listen
02/19/03: The willful blindness of those who will not see
02/12/03: The Europeans Know More Than They Now Pretend? They choose to dawdle and obstruct
02/03/03: Monumental failure: Nelson Mandela had promise
01/30/03: Elevation: The president knows what it's all about
01/29/03: No Leader: France's Chirac is all about personal interest
01/28/03: The Axis of Evil Redux: Same place, a year later
01/27/03: The Return of the Ayatollah: Washington could afford a little more attention on Iran
01/13/03: How we could lose
01/09/03: Fish are Better than Women: Gauging U.S. priorities
01/07/03: The Shape of Things to Come: The terror masters are now waiting for us
12/20/02: A Prophecy for the New Year --- Faster, please!
12/16/02: Scud Surrender: The "W" factor
12/13/02: The Heart of Darkness: The mullahs make terror possible
12/12/02: The Real War
12/09/02: Tom Friedman's Reformation: His Iran
11/26/02: How Tyrannies Fall: Opportunity time in Iran
11/22/02: The Blind Leading the Blind: The New York Times and the Iranian crisis
11/13/02: The Temperature Rises: We should liberate Iran first --- now
11/05/02: End of the Road: Iran's Mohammed Khatami, on his way out
10/29/02: The Angleton Dialogues, Contnued: What George Tenet doesn’t know
10/24/02: The Iranian Comedy Hour: In the U.S., the silence continues
10/16/02: Sniper, Saboteur, or Sleeper? Channeling James Jesus Angleton
10/01/02: The real foe
09/27/02: The Iranian String Quartet: The mullahs get increasingly nervous
09/25/02: The Dubya Doctrine
09/23/02: Intelligence? What intelligence?
09/12/02: America's revenge: To turn tyrannies into democracies
09/10/02: Iran & Afghanistan & Us: We'll have to deal with the mullahcracy, sooner or later
09/04/02: Iran, according to the Times: All the nonsense that's fit to print
08/21/02: Life and death of Abu Nidal tells us a great deal about our enemies
08/08/02: Can You Keep a Secret?: The media silence on Iran
08/06/02: Fantasy Reporting: The latest disinformation from the Washington Post
08/02/02: Propping Up the Terror Masters: Europe's Solana on tour
07/16/02: Bush vs. the Mullahs: Getting on the side of the Iranian freedom fighters
07/12/02: The State Department Goes Mute: It's official: State has no message
07/09/02: History being made, but the West appears clueless
06/05/02: Is George Tenet endangering peace in Israel?
06/03/02: Ridiculous, even for a journalist
05/20/02: So how come nobody's been fired yet?
05/14/02: Open doors for thugs
04/20/02: Iran on the Brink … and the U.S. does nothing
04/16/02: It’s the war, stupid … someone remind Colin Powell
04/08/02: Gulled: In the Middle East, Arafat doesn't matter
04/02/02: Faster, Please: The war falters
03/26/02: The Revolution Continues: What's brewing in Iran
03/18/02: Iran simmers still: Where's the press?
03/05/02: We can't lose any more ground in Iran
02/14/02: The Great Iranian Hoax
02/12/02: Unnoticed Bombshell: Key information in a new book
01/31/02: The truth behind the Powell play
01/29/02: My past with "Johnny Jihad's" lawyer
01/21/02: It's Munich, all over again
01/08/02: What's the Holdup?: It's time for the next battles in the war against terrorism
12/11/01: We must be imperious, ruthless, and relentless
12/06/01: Remembering my family friend, Walt Disney
11/28/01: The Barbara Olson Bomb: Understanding the war
11/13/01: How We're Doing: The Angleton Files, IV
11/06/01: A great revolutionary war is coming
10/25/01: How to talk to a terrorist
10/23/01: Creative Reporting: Learning to appreciate press briefings
10/19/01: Not the Emmys: A Beltway award presentation
10/15/01: Rediscovering American character
10/11/01: Somehow, I've missed Arafat's praise of the first stage of our war on terrorism
10/04/01: What do we not know?
09/28/01: Machiavelli On Our War: Some advice for our leaders
09/25/01: No Room for the U.N.: Keeping Annan & co. out of the picture
09/21/01: Creative destruction
09/14/01: Who Killed Barbara Olson?
08/22/01: How Israel will win this war
08/15/01: Bracing for war
08/09/01: More Dithering Democrats
08/02/01: Delirious Dems
07/31/01: Consulting a legendary counterspy about Chandra and Condit, cont'd
07/19/01: Be careful what you wish for
07/17/01: Consulting a legendary counterspy about Chandra and Condit
07/05/01: Let Slobo Go
05/30/01: Anybody out there afraid of the Republicans?
05/09/01: The bad guys to the rescue
05/07/01: Bye-bye, Blumenthal
04/20/01: Handling China
04/11/01: EXAM TIME!
04/05/01: Chinese over-water torture
03/27/01: Fighting AIDS in Africa is a losing proposition
03/14/01: Big Bird, Oscar, and other threats
03/09/01: Time for a good, old-fashioned purge
03/06/01: Powell’s great (mis)adventure
02/26/01: The Clinton Sopranos
02/20/01: Unity Schmoonity: Sharon is defying the will of the people
01/30/01: The Rest of the Rich Story
01/22/01: Ashcroft the Jew
01/11/01: A fitting close to the Clinton years
12/26/00: Continuing Clinton's shameful legacy
12/21/00: Clinton’s gift for Bush

© 2001, Michael Ledeen