January 17, 2018

Iran: The Rise of the Revolutionary Guard and State-Sponsorship of Terror

Nasser Rashidi

A few years ago, the world was awakened to the dangers of the mullahs’ nuclear program by an opposition group. Since then,
faced with more recent regional events, international consciousness has come to better appreciate the extent of Iran’s
involvement in terrorist activities abroad, its nuclear ambitions, and its interference in Iraq, Lebanon and Israel-Palestine. It
was this same group (The National Council of Resistance of Iran, NCRI) which first unmasked the so-called “moderation”
agenda of the mullahs, that had culminated in the election of the current “moderate” president, Mr. Khatami. In the ensuing
eight years, the mullahs bought precious time to further oppress the Iranian people, develop their network of terror, and
advance their nuclear ambitions. What makes the West’s response to such warnings odd is that for so long we have refused
to appreciate the common treads based in these critical but long unheeded warnings. Two points should be clarified.

First of all, we must understand state-sponsored terrorism, its roots and chief sponsor worldwide: the Islamic Republic of
Iran. We should ask why a government of a sovereign nation would, since its inception, embark on a widely documented
ongoing worldwide exportation of fundamentalist terrorism. The answer lies in the inherent illegitimacy of the regime and its
bankrupt ideology. In order to divert the attention of the long-suffering people of Iran, the regime has engaged in exporting the
revolution and used warfare and terrorism to achieve its aims. Accordingly, and inherent in its illegitimacy, the fundamentalists
in Iran cannot exist in the presence of true democracy and freedom; thus the regime will never tolerate a democratic paradigm.
The obvious lack of respect for the will of its population by the religious dictatorship is exemplified in the institution of the
“guardian council”. This institution basically serves as a rubber stamp for the wishes of the country’s self appointed supreme
leader, the Faqih (Farsi equivalent of the German Fürhrer) Mr. Ali Khamenei. This fundamentalist theocratic fascist institution
holds absolute power over all aspects of Iranian society, governance and law.

George Melloan of the Wall Street Journal, in his essay, “Iran’s Message: No More Nice Guys” (June 21st), wrote: “Judging
from his rambling discourses, he has visions of restoring the Persian Empire.” Melloan repeated Ahmadinejad’s statement of
last month: “We did not have a revolution in order to have democracy.” Barbara Slavin of USA Today opens her essay, “Iran’s
new president walks a hard line” (June 27th) with: “The election of Teheran’s mayor as Iran’s president consolidates power
under supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.” If previous history is any indication of future behavior, the newly appointed
president is sure to perpetuate, even more expeditiously, the exportation of terrorism, oppression of the people, and the
development of nuclear weaponry. While Ayatollah Ali Hashemi Rafsanjani, Ahmadinejad’s opponent in the runoff election,
ordered assassination of dissidents abroad, Ahmadinejad carried out those orders. When Rafsanjani ordered the serial
murder of intellectuals and writers, it was Ahmadinejad and his accomplices, including the notorious Deputy Intelligence
Minister Saeed Emami, who carried out the killings. All the while Rafsanjani and his family plundered billions of dollars of the
country’s wealth and the now president-elect Ahmadinejad pocketed hundreds of millions of dollars while mayor of Tehran.

With the aforementioned in mind, Europe’s policy of appeasement should be re-evaluated. The international community will
be served best by dismissing policies favoring short-term economic gains, and appeasement of a government which
terrorizes, tortures, and arbitrarily imprisons or executes its own citizens while exporting terrorism. Vigilant proponents of
peace and security, especially in the Middle East, have long warned that this barbaric and ideologically bankrupt government
continues to exploit legitimate international treaties and conventions to advance its illegitimate objectives. As such, the civilized
world should heed the lessons of the past, recognizing the mullah’s conduct of the current elections as an inseparable
component of the Iranian regime’s malevolent intentions as they relate to international peace, mutual co-existence, and
stability across the globe.

Additionally, for far too long we have ignored the high price Iranians have paid for over 25 years, in blood and tears, to resist
the fascist theocratic regime that stole their revolution against the dictatorship of the shah. One of the pillars of democracy is
the right of the people to create progressive organizations while resisting oppression. Fighting an especially brutal and
inhuman regime requires organizations such as the NCRI who for over a quarter of a century have not only become intimately
familiar with the evils of fundamentalism, but also are battle hardened, in touch with the Iranian psyche, and are themselves
democratic and egalitarian. It would be another monumental error were we again to naively assume that the mullahs are
capable of reform, that they tolerate the intellectual process, or even desire regional/international peace.

We would indeed be myopic if we heed the aforementioned warnings provided by this opposition group, while concurrently
ignoring the Iranian people’s legitimate right to resist oppression in whichever way they choose. We must appreciate the
Iranian people’s hopes, aspirations, and presently, their boycott of the sham presidential elections as clear indications of their
dismay with the regime and those who support in any way the fundamentalist regime ruling them. Let us not use empty or
naïve rhetoric, but rather with more honest engagement, learn from, and work with, the truly legitimate, democratic resistance
movement, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, and its Moslem, democrat leader, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi.

Nasser Rashidi is an expert on Iran and a human rights activist. He is currently with the National Coalition of Pro-Democracy
Advocates (www.ncpda.com). He has been interviewed by the Voice of America (VOA-Farsi), and has written for the San Diego
Union (“Earthquake will not change Iran’s clerics”), National Review Online (“The End of So-Called ‘Reform'”), The Sun
Sentinel (“Legitimate resistance can prevail”).