Rep. Peter King – House Homeland Security Chairman – described the alleged Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington, D.C. as an “act of war.” The Hill reported:
“‘This would have been an act of war…this goes beyond anything that I’m aware of that’s happened before,‘ Rep. King continued, ‘it’s certainly raised relationship between the U.S. and Iran to a very precipitous level.’
King suggested that the U.S. take some type of military action on Iran in response to the planned attack to the Saudi of Arabian Embassy in Washington, D.C. Two men are in custody with planning the attack and the Iranian government demonstrated some level of involvement in bomb plot.”
Perhaps King isn’t aware because – instead of trying to figure out what the world is actually like – he promotes fear mongering over Muslims or denounces the Left for organizing against economic terrorism. King’s heartfelt anguish over a plot to murder a Saudi official is ironic, given that he once described the Kingdom “almost an enemy.”
Among those he called to testify at his first hearing on Muslim radicalization was Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) who once wrote a letter to Georgetown University that its foreign service program had come under Saudi influence. Saudi Arabia has promoted its ultra-conservative Wahhabi strain of Islam with its oil money, according to King’s fellow Islamophobes. And there’s evidence that members of the Saudi ruling family was involved with Al-Qaeda and 9/11.
Since King has made headlines over his crusade against Muslim radicalization – of which Saudi Arabia has been involved in promoting – he would at least welcome any blow against the Kingdom, even if it came from another Islamist enemy, right? At the very least, he could have kept a low profile, secure in the knowledge that the nation suspected in “creeping Shari’a” – as the Right calls it – has other Muslim enemies.
Of course that’s not going to happen; I’m not so dumb to think that an elected official of the U.S. government would cheer on an enemy’s attempt to assassinate an official of an ally on American soil; I’m just dumb enough to imagine that scenario on this blog lol. But the label King attached to what Iran is accused of – an act of war – can easily be applied to American actions against Iran as well.
Take the U.S. support for Iraq’s illegal invasion of Iran in 1980 and supplying it with chemical weapons that Baghdad used against Iranians and Kurds, for example. There was the downing of the Iran Air Flight 655 in 1988, a passenger plane carrying 290 civilians that all perished. More recently, there was the attack and kidnapping of Iranian diplomatic officials from a consulate in Iraq in 2007. Any attack on consular officials would be considered an act of war; the United States should know since the the longstanding cold war with Iran began with the 1979 hostage crisis – when students took American embassy staff hostage with the blessing of Ayatollah Khomeini.
Of course, nothing says “act of war” quite like hosting terrorist groups that strike in Iran with American knowledge – and complicity. This is what prompted the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan that has continued under Obama – that it was a safe haven for Al-Qaeda to launch attacks on American soil. The Taliban’s harboring of Al-Qaeda was the rationale behind invading the country and overthrowing the Islamist regime in 2001, so by our standards, Iran would have the right to attack us then?
That’s probably what propelled the Islamic Republic to dispatch an assassin to Los Angeles last year. His target? The leaders of a little known opposition group called Tondar. The group is associated with another group called Anjoman-e Padeshahi-e Iran, or Kingdom Assembly of Iran, both of which are founded by the flamboyant Dr. Frood Fouladvand. API made the news in 2005 when 56 members occupied a Lufthansa plane in Europe to demand the EU to help overthrow the Islamic Regime.
On the surface, Tondar appears to be harmless; they operate an internet-based radio talk show featuring one of the leaders, Jamshid Sharmahd. Sharmahd is the proprietor of Sharmahd Computing Inc., while the other half of Tondar – Iman Afar – apparently runs an energy company that has no website or is listed on the California business directory where I tried looking. (Sharmahd seems to be the more public face of Tondar.)
Tondar – which means “thunder” in Farsi – appears to be a storm coming over the Iranian horizon in the form of terrorism in pursuit of its goal of reconstituting the monarchy that was overthrown by the people in 1979 for being a tyrannical dictatorship. The Islamic Republic accuses the organization of organizing terrorist attacks, which the organization denies; it should be noted that the Islamic Republic routinely plays the terror card for its own purposes of de-legitimizing opposition – they use absurd accusations like “warring with god” to execute dissidents. And, of course, the regime shows no compunction in murdering unarmed protesters in the streets as it demonstrated two years ago.
These actions say a lot about the Islamic regime. But what if the allegations of Tondar’s terrorism are also true? What does that say about what life in Iran would be like if they were to be in charge – and what does that say about American intentions if it remains complicit?
Tondar came up when a physicist – Massoud Ali Mohammadi – was assassinated in Jan. 2010 via a remote controlled bomb-rigged motorcycle. Accusations went back and forth – on the one hand, there were allegations that Mohammadi was killed by the regime for his support for opposition presidential candidate Mir Hussein Mousavi; the regime alleged it was a U.S./Israel hit to halt Iran’s nuclear progress. Neither allegation made total sense, as the Huffington Post pointed out at the time:
“The blast apparently was set off by a remote trigger, but it was unclear why the professor was targeted. The victim was a 50-year-old researcher with no prominent political voice, no published work with military relevance and no declared links to Iran’s nuclear program.
Hard-line backers of the Islamic system have urged stronger measures to try to crush and intimidate anti-government forces. But the Tehran University professor, Masoud Ali Mohammadi, was far from a front-row political player.
He joined a list of 240 faculty members in a declaration supporting opposition candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi before June’s disputed presidential election, but did not take any known high-profile role in the protests after the vote.”
If it was a setback for the nuclear program, it didn’t work; as Borzou Daragahi and Ramin Mostaghim pointed out in a Los Angeles Times op-ed:
“Ali-Mohammadi, colleagues said, was not even employed by Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, which oversees the country’s nuclear program.
He did serve, though, as one of two members of the Iranian delegation to the Jordan-based Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East, or SESAME, a United Nations-backed scientific research center building a particle accelerator with applications in molecular and medical science, according to the organization’s website. SESAME comprises nine member governments, including Israel.”
Most bizarre is the role opposition group Tondar may have played in this assassination of an opposition scholar. The op-ed continues:
“Shortly after the slaying was disclosed, the Fars news agency said that a small monarchist group, the Iranian Royalist Society, had claimed responsibility on an obscure website, Takavaran-Tondar.tk. But the U.S.-based group quickly disavowed responsibility for the attack on its official website, Tondar.org.”
It’s entirely possible that the regime used Tondar as a scapegoat and a cover for its own action, especially when considering the speed of coverage in the state-controlled media; a departure from their usual MO, as reported by the BBC. But there’s a nagging question – why Tondar? The usual scapegoat – the Mujahideen e-Khalq – would be invoked if that were the case. And why would Iran seek extradition of Tondar’s leaders, a group few people have heard of and largely regarded as irrelevant by other Iranians? There’s also the question of why Tondar would bother assassinating Mohammadi – perhaps Tondar was utilizing its services on behalf of the Israelis and were operating based on bad intel.
It’s all speculation, but what isn’t speculative are the facts surrounding the April 2008 bombing of a mosque in Shiraz that killed 14 people and injured more than 200 worshipers, for which Tondar claimed responsibility on its own website. Tondar claimed it was a military installation they attacked, yet evidence presented in both Western and Iranian sources prove that the attack was, in fact, at a civilian institution. (PressTV is a government-run propaganda outlet and their reporting on terrorism in the links above is a bit ridiculous. The basic facts of the mosque bombing are accurate, but the overall tone in the reportage should be taken with a grain of salt.)
With all this known, we come back to the assassin dispatched to L.A. to kill Sharmahd. It was reported that the assassin, Reza Sadeghnia, got cold feet and called the police. What wasn’t reported – until Wikileaks revealed it – that Sadeghnia was allowed to return to Iran to visit his ailing father. It doesn’t take a Sherlock Holmes to figure out that he wasn’t going to return. In other words, the Obama administration in exchanged him for L.A.-based businessman Reza Taghavi, who was accused by Tehran of funneling cash from Tondar to operatives in Iran.
The fact that this swap was revealed not by the White House, but by Wikileaks shows the Obama administration wanted to keep this secret. Who knows why they wanted to keep it on the down low, but I think it’s because they wanted to keep hidden terrorist activities emanating from American soil.
Whether it’s because they wanted to avoid embarrassment, or – more ominous yet – the Obama administration is utilizing Tondar to destabilize Iran for the purposes of regime change – motivated in part over the regime’s nuclear program which the current administration has maintained a threatening posture similar to the Bush administration. With the news of Gaddafi’s death announced today, the Obama administration – elected on the basis it would reverse the Bush administration’s evils – has proved its equally dedicated to regime change as its predecessor.
At the end of the day, Tondar’s unrestricted activities on American soil is an act of war. If Rep. King and Obama are concerned with acts of war, they should begin with the acts of war the United States has conducted for years.