Reprinted from
Evidenceof 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 tothe U.S. and Iraqi governments for many months, but fear of apolitical backlash in Washington delayed official comment untilSunday, when the U.S. military released its report in Baghdad.

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

 Iranian-backed militiamen were arrested in September carryingIranian-made mortars and other equipment during sectarian fightingnear Khan Beni Saad, a predominantly Sunni area 20 miles northeast ofBaghdad.

 Photographs obtained by NewsMax at the time showed that themilitiamen had been equipped with an electronic mapping and targetingdevice bearing the stamp of the Iranian Defense IndustriesOrganization —Electronics and Communications IndustriesGroup.

 An instruction manual for the device bore the samemarkings.

 Multinational Forces in Iraq have been compiling evidence onIran's involvement in the sectarian fighting in Iraq for manymonths.

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

 By mid-January, after U.S. and Iraqi forces captured fiveIranians in Irbil, they compiled a 200-page dossier on Iran's effortsto undermine the Iraqi government. But National Security AdviserStephen Hadley reportedly told the intelligence community to scaleback the document's conclusions, for fear they would be used toaccuse the Bush administration of planning war with Iran.

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

 Nevertheless, Democrats jumped on the watered-down reportduring appearances on the Sunday talk circuit yesterday, questioningthe 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 gotinto the mess in Iraq."

 Dodd, who is exploring a run for the Democratic nomination forpresident in 2008, argued that the Bush administration wasresponsible for tensions with Iran, and that "until we engage themsome way on a multiple of issues, including this one, it's only goingto get worse."

 Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., sounded a similar theme on CNN,accusing the administration of engaging "in a drumbeat with Iran thatis much like the drumbeat that they did with Iraq. We're going toinsist 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 onan Iranian intelligence headquarters in Irbil, in northern Iraq,according to Iranian exiles and other sources who have ties to theTehran regime.

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

Shortly afterwards, Khamenei set up two Top Secret blue-ribboncommissions, fearful that the policies of President Ahmadinejad wereleading the nation inadvertently to war.

 One of the commissions is examining the damage done byAhmadinejad to Iran's economy, where inflation is soaring andunemployment officially now tops 20 percent and tops 30 percent byunofficial estimates.

 A national security and intelligence review board led byKhamenei's son Mojtaba and his chief of staff, Akbar Hejazi, islooking at Iran's nuclear face-off with the international communityand 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 withAmerica and sing 'Kumbaya' with the opposition," said Shahriar Ahy."Rather, they feel that Ahmadinejad has brought in undisciplinedamateurs who are riding roughshod" over their agencies and"destroying all the work" the professionals have accomplished overthe past 20 years.

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

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

 The committee also urged Khamenei to dispatch National SecurityAdviser Ali Larijani to this weekend's meeting of internationalsecurity officials in Munich, to present a similar offer to renewnegotiations 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 formerpresidents Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani and Mohammad Khatami, joinedforces to call for Ahmadinejad to be removed from office.

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

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