TITLE:WOOLSEY: IRAN AND STATE-SPONSORED TERRORISM (04/29/93)
WOOLSEY: IRAN AND STATE-SPONSORED TERRORISM
(VOA Editorial) (450)
(Following is an editorial, broadcast by the Voice of America April 29,
reflecting the views of the U.S. government.)
According to James Woolsey, director of the Central Intelligence Agency,
state-sponsored terrorism is "the most important component of the
international terrorism problem." In recent testimony before members of
the U.S. Congress, Woolsey noted that, "Nation states make terrorists more
lethal and more ambitious."
Six countries -- Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Cuba and North Korea -- are
listed by the U.S. State Department as sponsors of international terrorism.
Woolsey warned that "while state-sponsored terrorism has decreased in
recent years, none of the countries on this list has forsworn terrorism as
a foreign policy tool. Each can readily conduct or sponsor international
attacks, and each maintains ties to violent groups."
Woolsey said that Iran is "by far the most active and dangerous state
sponsor" of international terrorism. Indeed, Iranian-backed terrorist
attacks have become more common. While some people depict a "moderate"
post-Khomeini Iran, Tehran and its surrogates have carried out more than 35
terrorist acts since 1989; at least 20 of these occurred in 1992. Iran
continues to call for the murder of British author Salman Rushdie. Iran's
agents also "stalk and murder Iranian oppositionists abroad." Woolsey said
the United States believes that, "Tehran arranged for the murders of a
leading opposition politician, gunned down in Rome in 1993; an anti-regime
poet, struck down in Bonn in 1992; and four members of the Kurdish
Democratic party of Iran, killed in a Berlin restaurant in 1992." An
Iranian national is among those now under arrest for the Berlin murders.
Woolsey pointed out that Iran has also "strengthened ties to radical
Palestinian terrorists who share Iran's long-term goal of destroying
Israel." Terrorist groups supported by Iran include the Popular Front for
the Liberation of Palestine - General Command, the Palestine Islamic Jihad,
and the Palestinian fundamentalist group Hamas. In Lebanon, Iran provides
military and financial support to Hizballah, which "now poses a greater
threat to U.S. and Western interests than any other Middle Eastern
terrorist group." The Iranian leadership has also endorsed violence by
religious extremists in North Africa. In July 1992, Tehran applauded the
assassination of Algerian president Mohamed Boudiaf.
1nternational cooperation and the resolve of democratic nations have proven
effective in reducing and preventing the spread of international terrorism.
But as Woolsey warned, "terrorism -- conducted by both states and groups
-- remains a serious and unpredictable threat to U.S. citizens and
interests." For that reason, said Woolsey, the United States "will
continue vigorously to monitor and combat the terrorist threat."
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