NO WAY OUT Wake-up Call: Iran is at war with us by Michael A. Ledeen National Review Online May 26, 2004 Meet Hassan Abbasi, a well-known Iranian political scientist, longtime top official of the Revolutionary Guards, and currently "theoretician" in the office of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei (how does one get a job description like that, I wonder) and the head of the National Security and Strategic Research Center. Abbasi holds special responsibility for North American affairs. Apparently morale is very low in the ranks of the Basij, the group of fanatical thugs that do the regime's dirty work in the streets, things like beating up women whose scarves show too much hair, rounding up student protesters, and so forth. Friends of mine in Iran tell me that Basiji are becoming convinced that the regime's days are numbered, and they are understandably discouraged. There is plenty of evidence that Iranians are utterly contemptuous of the regime, and are not afraid to demonstrate it. When the New York Times's Nicholas Kristof went to Iran a few weeks ago, he was astonished to meet Iranians in all walks of life who attacked the regime and told him he could use their names. And on May 18, the well-known university professor, Hashem Agajari, told an Iranian judge that he would not appeal his death sentence (for blasphemy, having said that the people should not be "apes to follow blindly whatever the mullahs say"). "Free me unconditionally or carry out the sentence," he said. As iran-press-service.com dryly remarked, Agajari had been banned for ten years from professional activities, "but (the court) did not say if the bans would take effect before or after the application of the death sentence." Meanwhile, an outspoken journalist, Ensafali Hedayat, went on a hunger strike to protest his 18-month prison sentence for "insulting regime leaders and writing propaganda against the Islamic Republic." Such demonstrations of contempt have strained the nerves of the regime's leaders, especially the judges. On May 25th, for example, Judge Mohseni-Ezhei attacked yet another journalist, Isa Saharkhiz, by "throwing two glass bowls at his head and then biting him on the lower abdomen." So, last Sunday, Abbasi set out to restore the Basiji's enthusiasm for the Islamic Revolution. Speaking at the Technical College of Tehran, he made some amazing statements. "The infidels Western countries and America are the sworn enemies of God and Muslems and any action taken to terrorize them or frighten them is considered holy and a source of pride." Abbasi went on, "Lebanese Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and Hamas have all been trained by these hands," that is, Iranian hands. Thus far, the usual jihadist rhetoric, although the specific confirmation of Iran's intimate links to three of the world's most lethal terrorist organizations was a bit unusual. But then he went on with a megalomanical vision that bears some attention. "We intend to withdraw $53 billion of Iranian and Arab investments from the U.S.A. and thus cause instability [in] its economy, we take pride that our actions have brought 1/9 of the budget deficit in America's economy this year and we shall keep up with our economic actions." The claim to have caused nearly ten percent of the American deficit probably refers to the rise in oil prices. But this was only the beginning of his promise to bring America to its knees. "We have identified some 29 weak points for attacks in the U.S. and in the West, we intend to explode some 6,000 American atomic warheads, we have shared our intelligence with other guerilla groups and we shall utilize them as well. We have set up a department to cover England and we have had discussions regarding them[;] we have contacted the Mexicans and the Argentineans and will work with anyone who has an axe to grind with America." Let's not quibble over the details, since I doubt Abbasi would be inclined to reveal chapter and verse about specific Iranian operations. His list of potential South American allies omits Venezuela, which actively cooperates with the terror masters, and the figure of 6,000 warheads targeted by Iranian-backed saboteurs is beyond the pale, even for a mullah. But when an official as authoritative as Abbasi tells the regime's loyalists in a closed meeting that Iran is sabotaging our economy and organizing terrorist attacks on our territory, you can take that to the bank. Iranian operations inside the United States are of course an old story enemies of the revolution were killed here in the early 1980s and Iranians may even have been involved in the September 11 attacks. According to CNSNews.com, documents from the U.S. District Court in south Florida cite a government informer (and former Colombian drug smuggler) that his erstwhile partner in the drug business, an Iranian named Mehrzad Arbane, told the informer he had also smuggled people into the United States. This sort of link between jihadis and conventional drug smuggling has long existed and available public evidence suggests it is getting even stronger. Little attention has been given to Spanish investigators' discovery that the terrorists who bombed Madrid on 3/11 had financed their operations by smuggling drugs into Spain. And a leading Italian judge recently announced that the "camorra," the infamous Neapolitan criminal organization, had worked hand-in-glove with Middle Eastern terrorists. We can't wage war against terrorism without fighting the narcotraffickers as well. It's often impossible to say where the one ends and the other begins. And here again, the mullahs play an important role. Iran is a major conduit for Afghan poppy seeds and opium, and can easily place its terror agents within the drug caravans heading south and west. That long pipeline eventually arrives at America's borders, where, as Abbasi announced last Sunday, Iran is passionately courting our southern neighbors. Perhaps Secretary of State Powell, who remains aloof from the life-and-death struggle for freedom in Iran, and his loyal deputy, Richard Armitage (who proclaims the Islamic Republic "a democracy") might study the remarks from Abbasi, and ask themselves if it is in our interest to have this hateful regime continue to attack us, even as they speed toward acquisition of atomic bombs. You'd have thought this president, who has spoken so often and so well about his support for freedom in Iran, would have long since insisted that his administration develop a coherent policy to support the Iranian people's desire to rid themselves of these murderous mullahs. It hasn't happened. Moreover, President Bush eloquently and spontaneously condemns the mullahs in private conversations as well as in public speeches, yet he seems oddly detached from his State Department's slow mating dance with the black widows in Tehran. Sooner or later we will be forced to fight back against the mullahs, because their war against us is driven by fanatical hatred of everything we stand for and the knowledge that their regime is doomed if we succeed in Iraq and Afghanistan. There is no escape from this war, whatever the appeasers in Foggy Bottom may think. We can win or lose, but we can't get out of it. Faster, please.