Although not new to the past two decade, terrorism has acquired qualitatively different dimensions since Khomeini and his Islamic fundamentalist government came to power in 1979. Indeed, today, Khomeini and his heirs can be considered the godfathers of terrorism.
Hallmarks of Terrorism
- State-sponsored terrorism. Because terrorism has been one of the main instruments to advance the mullahs' foreign policy, decisions about terrorist operations have always been made at the highest levels of the regime. Before he died, all decisions were made by Khomeini, who enjoyed the active advice of Khamenei, Rafsanjani and other leaders. After Khomeini's death, Rafsanjani, and after him Khatami, as the country's president and the chairman of the Supreme National Security Council, has continued to make the final decisions on terrorist plans, which are then forwarded to Khamenei, regime's current spiritual leader, to be approved for being executed.
- Religious fanaticism. The Tehran mullahs also exploit religion to legitimize acts of terror by calling them divine duties. The mullahs promise the perpetrators of such actions "a place in heaven". This religious factor generates intense hatred and catastrophic results.
- Hand-picked targets. The Iranian-sponsored terrorism has targeted a wide spectrum of victims during the past two decades.
- Hostage taking. The 444- day occupation of the United States Embassy in Tehran, beginning on November 4, 1979, marked the start of the newly established clerical regime's experimentation with terrorism and provided a glimpse of what was yet to come. The tragic saga of the Western hostages held captive by Tehran's proxies in Lebanon was the very essence of Iranian-sponsored terrorism.
- Hijacking. Another method often employed by the mullahs' regime in recent years has been the hijacking of passenger airliners.
- Bombing in public places. In September 1986 a wave of bombings shook Paris. Fuad Ali Saleh, a student of theology in Qom, Saleh confessed that he had been commissioned by Tehran.
- Suicide missions, car and truck bombs. In April 1983, a bomb-laden truck exploded in front of the American Embassy in Beirut, killing 61 and wounding 120 persons. The Emir of Kuwait was wounded in a suicide attack on his motorcade in May 1985 that was linked to Tehran. Regime's highest officials as well as its spiritual leader, have been indicted by Argentine justice on grounds of having ordered the huge explosion of July 1994 that left scores of killed and wounded. Iran under the mullahs still harbors terrorists who perpetrated the Al Khobar towers bombing of 1997 in Saudi Arabia.
- Assassinations of foreign nationals and Iranian oppositionists. The most publicized example of the mullahs' terrorism against foreign nationals was Khomeini's decree in 1989 ordering the execution of the Indian-born British author, Salman Rushdie.
In March 1990, a famous Turkish journalist and his driver were shot and killed is Istanbul. The police concluded that the murderers had received their orders from Iran. On January 15, 1992, Mustapha Geha, a Shi'ite Lebanese author who had written anti-Khomeini commentaries in Beirut's newspapers, was murdered in the Sabtiyeh district of Beirut.
The clearest evidence of the terrorist nature of the mullahs' regime, however, is its extensive and vigorous campaign to assassinate its Iranian opponents abroad. Most of the victims of more than 450 listed terrorist operations by the regime on foreign soil during the past two decades comprise of Iranian political opponents. Figures such as professor Kazem Rajavi, the elder brother of Iranian Resistance's leader, Massoud Rajavi, Mohammad-Hossein Naghdi, former diplomat and representative of the Iranian Resistance in Italy, Zahra Rajabi, ranking member of the PMOI and NCRI, Abdul-Rahman Qassemlou, secretary general of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan are part of the list.