1n the Power shift Era ahead. the primary ideological
struggle will no longer be between capitalist democracy and
communist totalitarianism, but between 21st Century
democracy and l1th Century darkness. "
Alvin Toffler, Power Shift
For the past 15 years, the clerical regime in Tehran has
suspended the fundamental rights of the Iranian people, has ruined
the foundation of Persian society and heritage, has brutalized
Islamic culture, and has destroyed the economy of the country.
With their proselytizing political Islam and support of
international terrorism, the clerics have tarnished the image of
Iran. In this paper, we will be dealing with the regime's strategy
in regards to its activities and support of international
terrorism, and their rationale behind it. Our main thesis is that
the activities of the clerics is against the interest of the
Iranian people, and that they neither have the support of the
Iranian people nor that of the majority of the religious leaders.
At war with its own people and the rest of the world. Tehran's
primary weapon of choice in this fateful struggle is domestic and
international terrorism. Having given up, perhaps only in the
subconscious, on their ability to dominate the Moslem World and
reverse the spread of Westernization into the Hub of Islam, the
clerics in Tehran surge in revenge to punish the West. Having
isolated themselves from most of the rest of the world, they have
opted on a bloody course of action that can only result in more
hardship and trouble for the Iranian people.
International terrorism is not the action of disaffected
individuals. It is the outcome of deliberate acts, at the state
level. For the Mullahs' regime and its allies, terrorism is a
primary instrument of state policy - the means to achieve, through
violence, fear and extortion, what they cannot achieve through
normal means of statecraft. As the economic and social conditions
in Iran continue to deteriorate, the clerics direct and indirect
activities in international terrorism will increase. Indeed, an
unprecedented crisis of confidence within the ranks of the Iranian
high command - both the Armed Forces and the Revolutionary Guards
(IRGC) - is pushing Tehran to implement an ambitious and audacious
plan for a global Islamist struggle, this time involving Iran
directly. Recent riots in several cities and the ensuing crisis in
the military, has only increased Tehran's determination and
resolve to implement this grand design.
Formulating The Strategy
T he evolution of the Clerical regime's grand strategy is
characterized by a blend of zeal and pragmatism. Since the
take-over of Iran by the Islamic revolutionaries in 1979, the
government's strategy has been expressed through a dual approach
combining aspirations for a global utopian Islamic empire, and
pragmatic regional objectives. Ayatollah Khomeini reconciled the
two objectives when he determined that he would lead an
international Islamic Revolution, initially at least, in the
Near East, and subsequently develop it into a global Jihad
against the United States and its struggle, Tehran emphasized,
was a component of a global confrontation. "We are at war
against infidels," Khomeini declared in January 1980, "Jihad
Indeed, the Mullahs had no doubt that an all out confrontation
with the West was inevitable. From the very beginning, the Clerics
reiterated their commitment to the global character of the Islamic
Revolution and to its export. Another quote from Ayatollah
Khomeini in 1980 emphasizes this very point: "We must strive to
export our revolution throughout the world, and must abandon all
idea of not doing so, for not only does Islam refuse to recognize
any difference between Moslem countries, it is the champion of all
In a July 1982 sermon, Khomeini defined Iran's still valid
strategic tenet that the success of any Islamic global surge
depends on consolidating regional dominance, and argued that
"Moslems should unite and defeat America; they should know that
they can do this, and they have many possibilities. America and
the West's lifeline depends on this regions oil".
Indeed, Tehran's initial confrontation with the US was waged in
the Middle East - in Lebanon -and the weapon of choice was
terrorism. The Clerics ruling Iran had a central role in the
Beirut operation of 1983-4. Mohsen Rafiq-Doust, a high official of
the IRGC, admitted in 1987 that "both the high explosives and the
ideology which in one blast sent to hell 400 officers, NCOs, and
soldiers at the Marine headquarters in Beirut were provided by
Astounded by the strategic effect of a few acts of spectacular
terrorism, Khomeini ordered the establishment of the "independent
brigade for carrying out unconventional warfare in enemy
territory", that is, international terrorism. The IRGC came up
with an outline for a program which Khomeini approved, stating:
"Whatever is necessary to destroy them [the West] must be done."
By the late 1980s, Iran would have the second largest and most
sophisticated terrorist training infrastructure in the world,
second only to the USSR.
The terrorist training establishment in Iran is unique. Its
objective is to transform the zealots and enthusiasts into
mechanical professional terrorist machines. Iranian terrorist
experts, along with others from such countries as North Korea,
Syria, and East Germany, concluded that only highly professional
experts would be able to carry out lethal strikes against choice
targets, especially in the US, Canada, and Western Europe. The
primary goal of the training camps is, therefore, to select the
most suitable candidates, and transform the aspiring terrorists
into professional operatives.
As the string of Iran-sponsored terrorist strikes worldwide
clearly demonstrates, the experts were able to develop an
exceptionally effective terrorist training and preparation system.
The System Matures
since the mid-1980s, the Third World's radicals, and
especially the Islamists led by the Clerics in Tehran, were
confident that they were on the verge of a global cataclysmic
clash which would be categorized by a surge in terrorism on an
unprecedented scale. Sheikh Mohammed Hossein Fadlallah, the
spiritual leader of the HizbAllah, defined terrorism as a form
of defensive violence erupting as a result of the oppression and
despair of the weak. "The weak will fight to defend their
even if they have to use knives and stones to spread chaos
throughout the earth." Tehran and its allies were determined to
be better prepared for this inevitable global struggle.
Indeed, by now, Iran's terrorist system was institutionalized
as a state within a state. Changes in the supreme leadership in
Tehran thus reflected the evolution of the Iranian terrorist
policy. The rise of Ali Khamene'i, then the President of Iran,
expressed the escalation of Iran's involvement in terrorism.
Ultimately, the control over the HizbA11ah served as a major
springboard for power by members of the Iranian clerical elite,
most notably, Hojatoleslam Ali-Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, who used
terrorism as the prime instrument in his quest for power, despite
his relatively low formal religious education.
It should be remembered that Hashemi-Rafsanjani has played a
central role in the rise of terrorism since 1965, when he was
responsible for providing the weapons for the assassination of
Hassan Ali Mansoor, then Iran's Prime Minister.
By the late 1980s, international terrorism had become the
primary instrument of projection of power in the hands of the
Clerics ruling Iran. The senior leaders in the Supreme Council for
National Security had become empowered to issue directives to the
Islamic terrorist organizations worldwide. Tehran continued to
sponsor terrorist operations against Israel, the subversion of the
Hajj processions in Saudi Arabia, and the destabilization of
numerous Moslem States - primarily Egypt. The sheer magnitude of
these operations clearly reflected the centrality of audacious
international terrorist operations to Tehran's policy, at the
After Ayatollah Khomeini
Tehran of 1989 was a city in the midst of a major milestone
in its history. The country had just emerged from the bitter and
costly war with Iraq, accepting a cease fire that Ayatolah
Khomeini called worse than "drinking hemlock". The Iranian
economy was in shambles, and the standard of living continued to
collapse. The crisis in Tehran was compounded by the death of
Khomeini in June 1989. Khomeini died after a few months of
failing health and concurrent intense power struggle among his
Nevertheless, the shock and uncertainty that Khomeini's death
brought to the fore, reinforced in the minds of the Mullahs in
power in Tehran, the need to demonstrate their loyalty to the
message of their late leader. In the fall of 1989, it was
imperative for the Mullahs to consolidate their hold over power in
Tehran by affirming and proving their legitimate rights as heirs
to Khomeini's unique position as the indisputable leader of the
global Islamic revolution.
Meanwhile, the terrorist infrastructure and support system were
being readied for a new surge. In mid 1989, the clerical
leadership began raising the level of their calls for the use of
terrorism as a primary instrument in their struggle against the
US. In a sermon on May 5, 1989 to the "combatants" in Tehran
University, President Rafsanjani urged them to escalate their
anti-US terrorist campaign - specifically the widespread killing
of Americans, rather than Israelis, because "the Americans are
scattered around the world, they are everywhere".
Hassan Nasrallah declared the HizbAllah's commitment to
"satisfy our Imam's desire" by announcing the beginning of a real
war against the United States. Ayatollah Khamene'i, in his first
major speech after Khomeini's death, also suggested that violence
was the only means to deal with the US. "Our enemies, including
the criminal US, do not understand but the language of power," he
By the end of 1989, as Iran was coping with the inevitable
changes in the aftermath of Khomeini's death, the support for the
Islamist revolutionary movement remained the quintessence of
"The preservation and continuation of the revolution is only
possible through support for the HizbAllah," argued Ayatollah
Jannati. Meanwhile, Rafsanjani pointed out that "the flag-bearers
of the struggle against imperialism, hegemony and capitalism are
the Moslem Revolutionaries," because under current conditions
"Islam is now the only pivot capable of rallying together all
justice-lovers around the world." In the aftermath of the Persian
Gulf War, although apprehensive about growing challenges, the
clerics were determined to capitalize on the upheaval and rage to
further their cause.
Tehran and its allies were convinced that the time was uniquely
ripe for the implementation of their grand strategy. Sheikh
Mohammed Hossein Fadhlallah explained in March 1991 that the Near
East was providing incomparable circumstances and conditions for
the resurrection of the Islamic Revolution on a global scale: "The
Middle East is the base of the Islamic fundamentalist movement,
which has expanded to reach various regional and world locations
at interlinked levels of security, politics, and culture.
The Middle East is a strategic region ... Only the Middle East
could unsettle the world's political centers and affect them
adversely." The clerics in Tehran had no doubt that in adopting
this policy, it was intentionally provoking a major confrontation
with the West. In October 1991, in a major international
conference devoted to formulating long-term strategy to confront
the rise of Pax-Americana, Ahmad Khomeini emphasized the
fatefulness and uncompromising character of the inevitable
struggle with the US: "We should realize that the world is hostile
toward us only for [our commitment to] Islam. After the fall of
Marxism, Islam replaced it, and as long as Islam exists, US
hostility exists, and as long as US hostility exists, the struggle
faith of its HizbAllah forces".
In early 1993, Tehran concluded that "an Iran-US clash" was
likely because "Islam [is) at its most sensitive and that
heightens our responsibilities more than ever". The Mullahs had
convinced themselves that as the true defenders of The Faith,
Washington had no alternative but to confront them in order to
face down the Clerics [sic Islam), and to solve its own regional
Since as far back as 1991, the Iranian Supreme Council for
Security had already been overseeing a major escalation in the
Islamist terrorist struggle - bringing terrorism into the Western
Hemisphere and ultimately the US itself. It has been alleged, and
not without reason, that the clerical regime in Iran was
responsible for the series of bombings in Argentina, in 1992 and
again in 1994, the assassinations at the gate of the CIA in
Virginia, the bombing of the World Trade Center in New York, and
the narrowly averted plot to blow-up New York City on July 4,
There was an escalation in the assassination of the enemies of
the regime overseas, mainly in Western Europe - over 60 Iranian
dissidents are known to have been assassinated to-date. The
Clerical regime also conducted a major confrontation with the US
in Somalia, oversaw escalation in terrorism and subversion in the
Middle East, Kashmir and the Far East.
Moreover, the Clerical regime consolidated its strategic
alliances with Syria, the Sudan and Pakistan, to spread and
escalate Islamist international terrorism worldwide. The Mullahs
steadfastly continue to escalate their terrorist campaign knowing
full well that it is leading them on a collision coarse with the
West. In early 1994, the regime re-iterated its support for the
escalation of terrorist activities. "An explicit and practical
support of the Islamic countries, above all the Islamic Republic
of Iran, for retaliatory measures by revolutionary Muslims, is the
least the oppressed Palestinian nation rationally expect of their
The recent series of bombings in Buenos Aires, Panama, and
London, as well as a series of narrowly averted terrorist strikes
in Bangkok, Bonn and elsewhere, clearly demonstrates that the
clerics in Tehran take their promise of sponsorship of and support
for, international terrorism very seriously.
Confronting The West
The Crisis Ahead
U ith so much at stake, little wonder that the Clerics
continually tighten their control over the Islamist
International terrorist movement, ensuring that it remains an
instrument of Tehran's policy. In the Summer of 1992, Ali
Fallahian Khuzestani, the Minister of Intelligence and Security
Forces, explained that Iran had "a foreign intelligence
department that collates the conspiracies hatched by world
arrogance against the Islamic Revolution", and that toward this
end Iran "even has infiltrated the highest levels of government
in some countries". He acknowledged that Iranian intelligence
conducted violent covert operations, including assassinations,
all over the world, and that "those activities are on the
increase every day".
The spiritual leader, Ayatollah Khamene'i, acknowledgeged that
terrorist organizations were an integral part of the Islamic
regime's long arm. He warned the West against confronting Iran,
pointing out that "they should know that the strength of the
Islamic Republic is in the strength of T he clerical sponsored
surge of international terrorism is on the verge of a marked
escalation. Sensing growing vulnerability at home and opportunity
abroad, the ten supreme leaders are determined to exploit the
prevailing circumstances, strike out audaciously and dramatically.
The "crisis staff„ in Tehran believes that the combination of the
weakness and indecisiveness in Washington, and the Islamists'
triumph in the Moslem world - such as the near collapse of Algeria
and Egypt, as well as the overall escalation of armed struggle in
Israel, Kashmir, Turkey, etc. -create favorable circumstances for
a marked escalation of the terrorist surge.
Such an escalation, the Mullahs are convinced, is vital to
their survival in power. As the situation inside Iran
deteriorates, and social and economic and political tensions rise,
it becomes imperative for the Mullahs to divert the attention of
the patriotic Iranian nation to an external threat so that they
rally behind the Government against the external threat to their
motherland. Tehran is convinced that its threat to use nuclear
weapons and other weapons of mass destruction will ultimately
restrain Washington from directly taking on the Islamic Republic.
Therefore, determined to preserve their power at virtually all
cost and on the backs of the Iranian people, the Mullahs have
embarked on the instigation of a major confrontation with the rest
of the world in order to provide that external threat.
International terrorism is their primary instrument of choice.
The Decagon Of Disaster
Within the ruling clerical nomenclature, only ten leaders form
the "Decagon" of power and terror in Tehran. They determine and
control all aspects of life in Iran, from day-to-day government
operations to the conduct of international and domestic
terrorism, and subversion world-wide:
1. Ayatollah Ali Khamene'i - the Spiritual leader.
2. Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani - President; member, Assembly
of Experts; Chairman of the Supreme Council for National Security;
member, Assembly of Guardians; member of the the Armed Forces
3. Ahmad Khomeini - member of the Supreme Council for National
Security; member of the Council of Expediency; member of the
Assembly of Experts.
4. Ali-Akbar Nateq-Nuri - Speaker of the Majlis; member of the
Council of the Armed Force (Three Branches); member of the Council
of Expediency; member of the Islamic Consultation Council; member
of the Supreme Council for National Security.
S Ali Fallahian-Khuzestani - Minister of Intelligence and
Security; member of the Supreme Council for National Security.
6. Hassan Fereidoun Rouhani - Secretary of the Supreme Council
for National Security; Deputy Speaker of the Majlis; member of the
Supreme Council for National Security; member of the Council of
the Heads of the Armed Forces (Three Branches); member of the
Council of Expediency.
7. Ayatollah Mohammed Yazdi - Head of the Judic iary Branch;
member of the Assembly of experts; member, Supreme Council for
National Security; member of the Council of the Armed Forces
(Three Branches); member, Council of Expediency.
8. Mohsen Raftq-Doost - Brig. General, Pasdaran; Head of the
Mostazafrn Foundation; Head of Iranian Economic Corporation
(controls more than 25% of the countries economy).
9. Mohsen Rezai - Major-General, Commander of the Pasdaran (the
10. Mohammed Ali Besharati - Minister of Interior; Deputy
Commander of law enforcement, with direct links to Khamene'i.
Letters To The Publisher
The Publisher and Editors of Focus on Iran welcome your
correspondence and support. Please send your letters to: The
Publisher, Focus on Iran, Azadegan Foundation, PO Box 40152,
Washington DC 20016, USA. We have reprinted here some extracts
from several of the letters which have been received since our
first edition, last month.
From General Djam ...
"Your decision to publish Focus On Iran is an important step in
changing the apathy towards Iran and what is going on in our
beloved country. Your courage and perseverance is commendable, and
I wish you great success."
- Gen. (Ref.) Fereidoun Djam, former Chief of the Supreme
Commander's Staff of Iran, London.
From General Shojaie ...
"I have read Focus On Iran with great interest. It can serve as
a genuine source of truth in exposing the behavior of the
repressive regime in Tehran. I assure you that the majority of the
Iranians are with you in this fight for freedom and peace in
-Maj.-Gen. (Rel.) Khalil Shojaie, former acting chief of J-
-SCS of Iran. Gailhersberg, Marvland USA
From Dr Ameli ...
"I read the first issue of Focus On Iran. Such a paper in the
English language was badly needed in order to reflect the nature
of the despotic regime in Iran. World public opinion must be made
aware about the happenings in that country."
- Ms. Heshmal Ameli, PhD., Los Angeles. California, USA.