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Reprinted from
Evidence of Iran Arms Support Was Well Known

Kenneth R. Timmerman

Monday, Feb. 12, 2007

 WASHINGTON -– Evidence that Iran was providing weapons, explosives, cash, and orders to Iraqi insurgents was well known to the U.S. and Iraqi governments for many months, but fear of a political backlash in Washington delayed official comment until Sunday, when the U.S. military released its report in Baghdad.

More significant than the U.S. "dossier" released in Baghdad was the reaction in Tehran, where Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has "panicked" as the U.S. steps up military pressure on Iranian networks in Iraq, and is now seeking to scale back the harsh rhetoric of president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iranian sources tell NewsMax.

 Iranian-backed militiamen were arrested in September carrying Iranian-made mortars and other equipment during sectarian fighting near Khan Beni Saad, a predominantly Sunni area 20 miles northeast of Baghdad.

 Photographs obtained by NewsMax at the time showed that the militiamen had been equipped with an electronic mapping and targeting device bearing the stamp of the Iranian Defense Industries Organization —Electronics and Communications Industries Group.

 An instruction manual for the device bore the same markings.

 Multinational Forces in Iraq have been compiling evidence on Iran's involvement in the sectarian fighting in Iraq for many months.

 They have presented evidence to visiting U.S. congressional delegations visiting Baghdad that insurgents have begun using a new type of improvised explosive device equipped with specially-designed "shaped charges" manufactured in Iran, congressional sources said.

 By mid-January, after U.S. and Iraqi forces captured five Iranians in Irbil, they compiled a 200-page dossier on Iran's efforts to undermine the Iraqi government. But National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley reportedly told the intelligence community to scale back the document's conclusions, for fear they would be used to accuse the Bush administration of planning war with Iran.

 "Don't expect that this report will set the president's hair on fire about Iran," a White House adviser cautioned shortly before the report was released.

 Nevertheless, Democrats jumped on the watered-down report during appearances on the Sunday talk circuit yesterday, questioning the intelligence and suggesting that the administration had "doctored" the evidence in a new "rush to war."

 "I'm worried about that," Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, D-Conn., said on CBS News' "Face the Nation." Said Dodd, "That's how we got into the mess in Iraq."

 Dodd, who is exploring a run for the Democratic nomination for president in 2008, argued that the Bush administration was responsible for tensions with Iran, and that "until we engage them some way on a multiple of issues, including this one, it's only going to get worse."

 Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., sounded a similar theme on CNN, accusing the administration of engaging "in a drumbeat with Iran that is much like the drumbeat that they did with Iraq. We're going to insist on accountability," he said.

 Iran's Supreme Leader and top Revolutionary Guards officials "panicked" after the Jan. 10, 2007, raid by U.S. and Iraqi forces on an Iranian intelligence headquarters in Irbil, in northern Iraq, according to Iranian exiles and other sources who have ties to the Tehran regime.

 "In Tehran, they began referring to the United States as mar-rouye domesh vastadeh — the Cobra standing on his tail," says Shahriar Ahy, an Iranian-born political analyst who helped build the post-war broadcasting network in Iraq.

Shortly afterwards, Khamenei set up two Top Secret blue-ribbon commissions, fearful that the policies of President Ahmadinejad were leading the nation inadvertently to war.

 One of the commissions is examining the damage done by Ahmadinejad to Iran's economy, where inflation is soaring and unemployment officially now tops 20 percent and tops 30 percent by unofficial estimates.

 A national security and intelligence review board led by Khamenei's son Mojtaba and his chief of staff, Akbar Hejazi, is looking at Iran's nuclear face-off with the international community and its aggressive posture in Iraq.

 The 15-member commission includes top Revolutionary Guards "professionals" who have broken with Ahmadinejad because of his "amateurism," Iranian sources told NewsMax.

 "It's not that these professionals want to make peace with America and sing 'Kumbaya' with the opposition," said Shahriar Ahy. "Rather, they feel that Ahmadinejad has brought in undisciplined amateurs who are riding roughshod" over their agencies and "destroying all the work" the professionals have accomplished over the past 20 years.

 The commission has counseled the supreme leader to clip the president's wings and prevent him from making the type of firebrand speeches that have become his stock in trade.

 Ahmadinejad has announced repeatedly over the past six weeks that he intended to reveal a "major breakthrough" in Iran's nuclear program at a speech commemorating the 28th anniversary of the 1979 revolution. But when he gave that speech on Sunday, the only announcement he made was to offer to resume negotiations with the Europeans, albeit while still refusing to accede to European demands that Iran first suspend its nuclear programs before any talks begin.

 The committee also urged Khamenei to dispatch National Security Adviser Ali Larijani to this weekend's meeting of international security officials in Munich, to present a similar offer to renew negotiations with the Europeans over Iran's nuclear programs.

 Ahmadinejad's troubles are just beginning.

Earlier this month, the regime's two major factions, led by former presidents Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani and Mohammad Khatami, joined forces to call for Ahmadinejad to be removed from office.

 Both former presidents are clerics who head rival groups of clerics, respectively the Militant Clergy Association and the Militant Clerics League, which control the levers of power within Iran's Islamic regime.

© NewsMax 2007. All rights reserved.

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