U.S. Arming Terrorists in Iran: Numerous Mainstream News Sources

Updated July 2010

Organizations such as the MEK (Mujihadin-e-Khalq, Arabic for "holy warriors of the people"), who are on the State Department's official list of terrorist organizations, and Jundallah (Arabic for "soldiers of Allah"), that has taken responsibility for recent sectarian suicide bombings of mosques in Iran among other terrorist attacks, have received financial backing and other support from the U.S. government for years, in order to contain the influence of Iran.

The overwhelming number of mainstream news sources below document the fact that the ongoing U.S. "War on Terror" is actually a War OF Terror. Iran as a potentially rising regional power has a government that may or may not properly represent the will of its people, but that certainly does not serve the desires of the decision-makers in the United States, at least not since the puppet dictator the Shah of Iran, Reza Pahlavi, was overthown by a popular uprising in 1979. The U.S. was glad to help that dictatorship develop nuclear power, which they called at the time "Atoms for Peace".

Iran might aspire to dominate the Middle East, which is a problem because that's considered America's job. Iran might someday have the capacity to develop nuclear weapons to threaten their neighbors with, but that's considered solely America's role also. Hypocrisy pervades every aspect of U.S. relations with Iran, but my biggest concern is that the brinkmanship and stark rhetoric from all sides, including America's fundamentalist ally Israel, could result in a disasterous all-out war. In such a conflict, the U.S. would be fighting to defend rights it does not justly have, while Iran would be fighting in self-defense and to defend its rights as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Below are the facts, with links to their mainstream media source. If any of these links go dead, let me know and I'll post saved copies.

1. ABC News reported in May 2007: "American intelligence sources say Jundullah has received money and weapons through the Afghanistan and Pakistan military and Pakistan's intelligence service..."

ABC News then reported that GOP candidates criticized ABC for running the story: "Congressman Tom Tancredo 'condemned' ABC News for 'running the story which could jeopardize American lives.'"
Apparently they don't think arming terrorists jeopardizes American lives. The ABC News article also said:
"In the six days since we first contacted the CIA and the White House, at no time did they indicate that broadcasting this report would jeopardize lives or operations on the ground. ABC News management gave them the repeated opportunity to make whatever objection they wanted to regarding our report. They chose not to."
This implies ABC News would have held the story if the CIA or White House had only asked.

Note that in 2009, ABC News printed a story that simply dismisses this U.S. backing of terrorists as "Iranian accusations," returning to the usual narrative. But clearly, ABC News knows Jundallah has blood on its hands. One need only search ABCnews.com's website for Jundallah to hear about all sorts of shootings, bombings and arson attacks by this group. If Iran were financing shooting, bombing, and burning rampages in the U.S., how would we react?

2. The Christian Science Monitor, citing ABC News and a global intelligence consultant: "U.S. support for Jundallah fits into the larger picture of U.S.-Iranian negotiations over Iraq."
Yet in July 2010, the Christian Science Monitor returned to the usual narrative, speaking of "speculation" and "accusations" of U.S. backing for another sectarian bombing in Iran.

3. The Raw Story reported in April 2006: "One of the operational assets being used by the Defense Department is a right-wing terrorist organization known as Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK)..."
(Note that the State Department list of "U.S. Government Designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations" includes the MEK. However, pressure has increased recently to remove the MEK from the list of terrorist organizations. A federal appeals court ordered the State Department to reconsider its designation, because "the U.S. government must give the Iraq-based group a chance to respond to claims that it continues to engage in terrorist activity". One can only wonder why this group's intentions should now suddenly be reconsidered, yet the 41 other organizations on the State Department's list have no urgency for review.

4. The British Telegraph reported in February 2007: "America is secretly funding militant ethnic separatist groups in Iran in an attempt to pile pressure on the Islamic regime to give up its nuclear programme." Note that nuclear states including the U.S. and U.K. are obligated under Article 4 of the NPT to HELP Iran develop their civilian nuclear program, while incrementally destroying our own entire nuclear weapons stockpile. Neither has happened in recent decades.

5. CBS News wrote in May 2007: "Iran is continuing to make progress on its expanded efforts to enrich uranium - in spite of covert efforts by U.S. and other allied intelligence agencies to actively sabotage the country's nuclear program."

6. The Sunday Herald (of Scotland) reported in July 2004: "military action would not be overt in changing Iran, but rather that the U.S. would work to stir revolts in the country..." While western coverage of Iran's treatment of dissidents attempting to disrupt Iran's elections portrayed Iran as paranoid and repressive, it is not unreasonable for Iran's leaders to fear another U.S.-backed coup attempt, like the coup that overthrew Iran's Democractic government in 1953.

7. The British Telegraph reported in February 2009: "Israel has launched a covert war against Iran as an alternative to direct military strikes against Tehran's nuclear programme, U.S. intelligence sources have revealed. It is using hitmen, sabotage, front companies and double agents..."

8. In May 2010, the Sunday Times of Britian reported that U.S. special forces are in Iran, to recon targets for airstrikes and contact Iranian dissidents.
Iranian terrorists have also been honored guests on the U.S.-funded Persian-language propaganda channel Voice Of America in April 2007. Wikipedia documents numerous sources showing that the leader of Jundallah (Abdolmalek Rigi) appeared on VOA, which identified Rigi as "the leader of a popular Iranian resistance movement" and used the title of "Doctor" with his name. This indicates a cooperative relationship between Jundallah and the U.S. government.

9. France's Agence France-Presse reported in May 2008: "Iran's chief prosecutor said bombers who caused a deadly blast at a mosque in Shiraz had confessed of links to Israel and the United States, the ISNA student news agency reported on Friday."
In August of 2009, AFP then quoted the brother of Jundallah's leader that the U.S. actively supported and armed Jundallah, including ordering specific attacks within Iran.

Terror Funding Continuing Under Obama?

The question remains open as to what degree this covert war is continuing under President Obama. Counterpunch reported the $300 million initial outlay received bipartisan support. Obama has insisted repeatedly that "All options remain on the table... ranging from diplomacy to military action, to pressure Iran over its nuclear program." And as the Huffington Post observed, Obama, like Bush, plans to "significantly increase funding for the National Endowment for Democracy."

In fact, Obama has recently increased US-AID funding to Iranian dissidents by $20 million, according to USA Today. Wikipedia explains how the NED and US-AID are essentially the same, including funding more than 10 groups inside Iran for many years. As Foreign Policy Journal explained in a recent article, NED / US-AID programs are often coordinated with covert warfare programs.

Iran has repeatedly claimed to have evidence that the U.S. is supporting terrorists. Now, so do you.

U.S. / Israel War with Iran Imminant?

The fact that the U.S. has recently been arming, financing, and advising terrorist groups operating inside Iran is indefensible. But perhaps more shocking is how poorly the secret of this covert war has been kept, where at least 8 mainstream news outlets could find sources that this is happening, solid enough to run stories starkly outside of the usual narrative within which they write.

Maybe the program is too big to hide, or they are attempting to hide it incompetently. Or perhaps they are not even trying for much more than plausible deniability. The U.S. government is spending 300 or more million dollars to pay for this allegedly covert program. But if the covert aspect of this fighting loses all relevance, outright war with Iran might well be the eventual result.

The Israeli government in particular has been pushing for the isolation of Iran on every level, perhaps partially to deflect international outrage over Israel's treatment of the Palestinians. As U.S. ground and air forces continue to surround Iran, a U.S. naval armada has been added to the forces already stationed off the Iranian coast. The additional warships, including one from Israel, were rushed to the area through the Suez Canal, with the cooperation of Egypt.
That article also points out that Iran has promised to respond in kind if any of its ships are stopped and searched on the basis of language in recently passed UN sanctions resolutions, raising the chances of all-out war being sparked. The simple proximity and number of forces indefinitely deployed in the area also risks a misunderstanding or fog-of-war incident resulting in war.

This U.S. military buildup implies an intention to push forward with inspecting Iranian ships, and definitely demonstrates a commitment to attempt to keep Persian Gulf shipping open and crude oil flowing to Western markets, even if an all-out war with Iran is triggered.

The U.S. government seems to be planning for that as more of a likelihood than a possibility, since Iran is now surrounded by U.S. and allied military forces.

As the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace wrote in April 2005, The U.S. has sought to minimize Iran's development of oil and gas resources and its trade with its neighbors. Instead, U.S. policy has favored a much more expensive gas pipeline out of the region through Afghanistan, which was only made possible by the U.S. invasion. Iran's planned pipeline through Pakistan and perhaps into China is seen as a threat to U.S. strategic objectives to contain the development of Iran and China while exerting political and military control over energy routes. U.S. funding for Jundallah may be designed to destabilize the area in which Iran plans to put its pipeline, thus disrupting international investment in it. Reducing Iran's control over their oil-rich provinces of Khuzestan and Baluchestan would be a strategic victory for the U.S.

U.S. troops are expected to occupy Afghanistan indefinitely. This June 2010 Huffington Post story throws Obama's campaign promise setting the July 2011 withdrawal date very much into question. Yet polls by CBS and others continue to show that a clear majority of Americans want a fixed timetable for withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Obama made numerous campaign promises to withdraw from Iraq in 2009, including particularly that the withdrawal would begin as soon as he took office as President. Yet so far the same diplomatic, economic, and strategic goals that motivated President Bush to start these wars continue to sway Obama's priorities, and have drowned out popular demands to end these wars as scheduled. Hopefully your voice can help change that balance and the inertia of this policy.

How likely, really?

Former CIA director Michael Hayden, speaking recently on CNN, said that war now seems innevitable. And a new article by TIME magazine wonders if Obama's Iran war rhetoric is a self-fulfilling prophecy. TIME quotes key Obama adviser on Iran Dennis Ross, suggesting that the threat of war on Iran must be credible, even if it's never used. Since Obama has publicly declared Iran's nuclear program so threatening as to warrant initiating a potentially catastrophic war, when sanctions fail to achieve their defined goal, he may have a hard time walking back from that threat. TIME also observes that there is now "a growing rumble of war talk" in Washington, motivated by "a steady parade of pundits calling for military action," and the belief of U.S. officials that America's Arab allies support a military strike.

Further Reading:

CIA activities in Iran.

PBS's FRONTLINE: Western support for terrorists.

The history of Iran-U.S. relations.

Wikipedia: CIA foreign regime change campaigns.