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November 13, 1992 - Image 46

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1992-11-13

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.



Iran Looms Large
On Clinton's Horizon

DOUGLAS DAVIS FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT

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he Iranian ayatollahs
have blighted the ca-
reers of the last three
presidents. Jimmy
Carter was humiliated by
the Teheran embassy
hostage crisis, while both
Ronald Reagan and George
Bush were embroiled in the
Irangate arms-for-hostages
deal.
As President-elect Bill
Clinton prepares to move
from Little Rock to Wash-
ington, there are signs that,
sooner rather than later, he
will face the greatest
challenge of all from a res-
urgent Iran, which Western
sources believe is galloping
toward nuclear capability.
The mullahs of Teheran
are now engaged in a cam-
paign to extend their in-
fluence in the Middle East,
to export their message of
radical Islam throughout the
Muslim world and to acquire
the doomsday weapons that
will underpin their claim to
be a regional, if not interna-
tional, power.
Like it or not, these ambi-
tions could set a large part of
the agenda for the incoming
Clinton administration and
could undo the resolve of a
new president who is anx-
ious to focus on seeking
remedies for domestic econ-
omic ills.
Iran also leads the crusade
against the Middle East
peace process and hosted a
noisy anti-peace rally in
Teheran, drawing on Islamic
fundamentalists and Pales-
tinian radicals, at the time
of the Madrid conference just
one year ago.
Its uncompromising mes-
sage was underscored late
last week when President
Hashemi Rafsanjani, the
supposedly moderate Ira-
nian leader, delivered an
impassioned address to par-
ticipants attending Friday
prayers at Teheran Univer-
sity.
"The weak and miserable
Arab governments have
agreed to negotiations with
Israel, thinking their prob-
lems are finished," he said.
"But will the Muslim people
accept their signature in the
future? These signatures
have not the least value.
Will the people accept
Palestine remaining forever
Jewish?"
Should Mr. Clinton allow a
brief slackening in the peace

process as his new ad-
ministration shakes down,
Iran is likely to take advan-
tage. "If the United States
becomes entangled in do-
mestic problems," President
Rafsanjani declared bluntly,
"the people here will finish
Israel."
So far, Iran has used its
Lebanese Hezbollah sur-
rogates to spearhead a bid to
derail the talks through at-
tacks on targets both inside
the security zone and across
Israel's northern border.
Earlier this month, Hez-
bollah claimed responsibili-
ty for detonating a roadside
bomb that killed five Israeli
servicemen on patrol in
south Lebanon and then

Iran exports the
cash and ideology
fueling Arab
opposition to the
Middle East peace
talks.

unleashed a cross-border
rocket attack that killed a
14-year-old boy in the Israeli
border town of Kiryat
Shmona.
Last weekend, another
salvo of Hezbollah rockets
pounded northern Israel,
sending Hezbollah guer-
rillas into their bunkers to
await the anticipated Israeli
retaliatory strikes.
Evidence has also emerged
that Iran is throwing its con-
siderable financial and
military clout behind
Hamas, a radical Islamic
movement that was born in
the Gaza Strip in the mid-
1980s and has grown into a
significant force among Pa-
lestinians throughout the
territories.
After meeting Hamas
representatives in Teheran,
Iranian leaders announced
plans to organize, train and
equip the Hamas extremists,
open a Hamas "embassy" in
Teheran and create a formal
structure to coordinate
Hamas activities with Hiz-
bollah under the command
of Iranian Revolutionary
Guards.
Not least, according to
Western intelligence sources
in London, Iran has poured

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