Iran’s American Networks
The Islamic Republic turns to the U.S. to wage war on the U.S.
The Iranian regime has extended its tentacles into the American homeland, covertly acquiring weapons technology, sources of funding and building terrorism-supporting networks. This gives Iran the ability to bring any war home to the U.S. if the regime decides its time to attack the “Great Satan” on its own shores.
Last month, three were arrested in Texas for using their Portland-based charity to transfer $1.8 million to the Iranian government with the help of Hezbollah. Donors had been led to believe that their money would help enroll children in schools in Afghanistan, Indonesia and Iran. In June, a couple was arrested in Ohio after they were recorded telling an FBI informant of their plan to finance Hezbollah with up to half a million dollars. One of the suspects even traveled to Lebanon to advance the plot.
Iran and Hezbollah also have a significant number of supporters in the U.S. In September, dozens of demonstrators celebrated “Al-Quds Day” in Washington D.C, some while hoisting Hezbollah flags. One of the speakers was Imam Abolfazl Bahram Nahidian from Manassas, V.A. who has long been tied to the Iranian regime. He proclaimed that 9⁄11 was “not done by Muslims” and was a “plot of the Zionists” to “occupy the land of the Muslims.” From 2004 to 2005, Imam Nahidian’s mosque received $200,000 from the Alavi Foundation that has had its assets frozen by the Treasury Department for acting as a front for Iran. Another speaker, Kaukab Siddiqi, said Muslims must work to “dismantle Israel if possible by peaceful means.”
Last year’s “Al-Quds Day” also saluted Hezbollah and was managed by Faheem Darab, a member of Fairfax County’s Department of Planning and Zoning. Speakers openly called for the “destruction, the annihilation, and the utter dismemberment of the State of Israel” and spoke of “another intifada.” A representative of Viva Palestina openly supported the wing of Hamas responsible for terrorist attacks, Izz ad-Din al-Qassam.
The extent of Hezbollah’s presence in the U.S. is very worrisome. When Steve Emerson, the executive-director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism, was asked in 2006 whether Hezbollah or Al-Qaeda posed a greater threat, he said that “Hezbollah has got a greater network, much, much, more elaborate…I would think potentially Hezbollah can wreak a lot more damage if they chose to attack the United States within the continental borders.” His organization says there have been over a dozen cases of individuals in the U.S. materially supporting Hezbollah since 1994.
Hezbollah has even greater capabilities in Europe. German intelligence believes there are about 900 of the group’s members in its country alone. The group has also shown that it is not altogether opposed to carrying out attacks in the West. Hezbollah tried to mark the one-year anniversary of the assassination of Imad Mughniyeh by attacking an Israeli site in Europe. The plot was foiled but few details have been publicized except that Hezbollah sought to leave minimal fingerprints behind.
Iran and Hezbollah have a significant number of sympathizers in the U.S. that can provide different levels of support. This month, Imam Abdul Alim Musa of Washington D.C.’s Al-Islam Mosque said that Supreme Leader Khamenei is the best leader in the world. He called Iran a “role model” for the Islamic world and said its fight “against the arrogant and bullying powers of the world brings hope for the Muslims around the world.” Disturbingly, Imam Musa also leads an organization named As-Sabiqun that desires to create Muslim enclaves based on Sharia law in the U.S.
The Muslims of the Americas group that has at least 22 private “villages” around the country is also a friend of the Iranian regime. Its Islamic Post newspaper hailed President Ahmadinejad’s speech at the U.N. where he accused elements of the U.S. government of orchestrating the 9⁄11 attacks. The article even suggested that Ahmadinejad is helping to prepare the way for the Mahdi. This is particularly unsettling because some of this group’s members are given guerilla warfare instruction and like As-Sabiqun, is creating isolated Muslim-only communes.
Iran also has ties to the various Muslim Brotherhood fronts in America. In 2008, the Council on American-Islamic Relations thanked the “Interests Section of Iran” at one of its fundraisers. An FBI document from the 1980s also reported how the Muslim Students Association had assembled a Persian Speaking Group that promoted Ayatollah Khomeini’s Islamic Revolution.
Iran’s penetration of the U.S. and the West as a whole has enabled it to acquire sensitive data and technology. The Washington Post reported in January 2009 that the “technology pipeline to Tehran is flowing at an even faster pace” despite international sanctions. Iran is still obtaining computer software and GPS systems used in explosives that kill U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. The U.S. Navy has confirmed that someone in Iran was able to download documents about the aviation technology, computers and upgrades of Marine One, the presidential helicopter. The Iranian used a file-sharing program to find the information in the computer of a defense contractor. Though the military says the breach does not pose a threat, it raises the question of what else Iran has been able to peak at.
The regime has used its fronts to promote its apologists in the education system. The Alavi Foundation that has been labeled an Iranian front by the government donated $100,000 to Columbia University after it agreed to have President Ahmadinejad as a speaker in 2007 and funded Hamid Dabashi, a professor of Iranian Studies at the school. Dabashi has compared the heroes of the movie, 300, to “those resisting this [U.S.] empire: They are the Iraqi resistance, the Palestinians, Hezbollah.”
The Alavi Foundation has also donated to other schools, especially Rutgers University. It gave $351,600 to its Persian Language Program and has also given money to Hooshang Amirahamadi, the former director of the university’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies. The New York Post reports that he “unabashedly has touted Hezbollah and Hamas as legitimate organizations and not terrorists.”
The Iranian regime and its terrorist proxies have a wide array of friends in the U.S. Iran’s networks are being used to today as agents of influence and supply lines but tomorrow they could be activated for more aggressive purposes. Ayatollah Khomeini’s Islamic Revolution was never meant to be limited to Iran or even the Middle East. The U.S. is and always will be a target.