Congressional Testimony of Steven Emerson - 1998

Testimony of Steven Emerson
Before the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on
Near East and South Asian Affairs
Tehran and Terrorism:
Iran under President Muhammad Khatami
May 14, 1998

Ever since the election of Muhammad Khatami as President of Iran in May 1997, the world has been debating the meaning of his victory and the significance of his statements and the actions of the Iranian government. Has Iran's support for terrorism diminished? How has Khatami affected the Iranian terrorist apparatus? Has there been any quantifiable change in the conduct of Iran? And what if anything can we say about Khatami and the effect of American sanctions and the policy of containment?

Nevertheless, even if we extend Khatami the benefit of the doubt and accept as genuine views that Iran must stop its avowed fundamentalist war with the United States, the Iranian terrorist apparatus is on automatic pilot.

•Iran continues to fund and train members of the Hamas and Palestine Islamic Jihad in carrying out mass terrorist operations against Israeli civilians.

•Iran has recently developed a network of militant recruits in Jordan to attack Jordanian and Israeli targets.

•Iran continues to operate training camps for terrorists in Iran for attacks against U.S. targets in the Persian Gulf and against pro-Western Arab regimes such as Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

•Iran has provided weapons and training to the vast network of growing Hizbollah terrorist infrastructure now operating in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain, as well as in Europe and Asia.

•Iran's extensive network of front groups of religious organizations, student groups, and front companies operates throughout Western countries in collecting intelligence, carrying out surveillance, threatening and attacking Iranian dissidents, preparing for future terrorist operations, and acquiring illicit advanced technology for Iran's chemical, biological, and nuclear programs. Iranian agents and surrogates help recruit and operate terrorist cells in the West.

•Tehran continues to serve as a central meeting place and sanctuary for Middle Eastern terrorist leaders.

•Iran continues to affirm the death sentence and bounty against the writer Salman Rushdie.

It is a matter of historical fact that the Islamic Republic in Iran has used terrorism as an element of its foreign policy since its birth in 1979.1 Iran's ties to terrorist groups exist on multiple levels....

Testimony of Steven Emerson


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