The leading Democrat and the leading Republican of the United States Congress’ House Foreign Affairs Committee are united in agreement that Iran is the leading state sponsor of terrorism worldwide. Across the Atlantic, the United Kingdom’s Parliament is holding a session of both houses to hear testimony about Iran’s role in terror and human rights abuses.
In the American Congress, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) gave a strong statement against the Iranian regime’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), whose Quds Force “has stepped up efforts in support of the murderous Assad regime in Syria.” He noted also the IRGC’s role in terrific human rights abuses and the suppression of democracy. In addition, he remarked on the second recent ballistic missile test in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231. Both recent ballistic missile tests are of nuclear-capable missiles, a fact made more eye-opening by the comment by Iran’s ally in Syria, Russian leader Vladimir Putin, that weapons capable of carrying nuclear warheads might actually be used with such warheads if necessary to resolve the Syrian conflict.
At a time when the Congress is often riven by partisan disputes, it was notable that his counterpart from the opposition party likewise gave lengthy and intense remarks in support of the same position. Representative Eliot Engel (D-NY) argued that Iran is the world’s leading state sponsor of terror, and has been for decades. His remarks deserve to be quoted at some length.
Iran is the leading state sponsor of terrorism, and in the past several years when Iran had no money, it still found money to be the leading state sponsor of terrorism. Under the [nuclear] deal negotiated with Iran, they will be awash in cash, they will have lots of money, and imagine how much destruction they can do in support of terrorist activities and terrorism. That is very deeply troubling for me….
Since seizing power in 1979, the Iranian regime has built an ugly record supporting terrorist proxies. Let’s remember this: the seizure of our embassy in Tehran, 1979; the bombings of our embassy and a Marine barracks in Beirut in the early 80s, killing nearly 300 Americans; the attacks in Buenos Aires that targeted Israel’s embassy and a Jewish community center; the Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia, which also cost American lives; and just a few years ago, a plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador, right here in Washington. And every one of these horrible events is covered in Iran’s fingerprints.
Meanwhile in the United Kingdom, members of both houses of the Parliament gathered on International Human Rights Day to hear testimony about Iran’s support of terrorism and human rights abuses. (If you are reading this on 10 December, it may be possible to watch the testimony live via the previous link.) Speakers were asked to discuss Iran’s role in supporting the Assad regime and its domestic terrorism. Also to be discussed was Iran’s role in Iraq, where its militia forces are engaged in notable human rights abuses and murder. One specific incident under discussion is the attack on Camp Liberty, where 24 Iranian dissidents were killed by a rocket attack launched by an Iranian proxy this November.
This commonality of opinion across party lines in the United States and houses of Parliament in the United Kingdom is shared also by Iranian communities abroad. The National Council of Resistance-Iran, an Iranian government in exile based in Paris, will be providing speakers to the UK event today. Here in America, Kasra Nejat, president of the Iranian-American Cultural Association of Missouri, penned an editorial to alert Americans to the role Iran plays in radical Islamic terrorism generally. “Islamic extremism did not start in the aftermath of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq,” he reminded. “No, it goes back to 1979, when Ayatollah Khomeini and his followers overthrew the government of Iran and established a theocracy that belonged in the 7th century.” Nejat called for a united front of “victims and targets of Islamic terrorism — statesmen, citizens and moderate Muslims” to unite against the threat posed by Iran’s government’s support of terror and human rights abuses.