Iran: Campaign to Recruit Suicide Bombers Spreading
July 02, 2004
BBC Monitoring Middle East
Iranian domestic media and opposition websites have provided new details about Iran's ongoing campaign to recruit suicide bombers and have suggested the campaign is spreading throughout the country. Media have also reported statements by Iran's leaders encouraging the suicide bomber campaign.
On 9 June, the weekly Ya Lesarat , the organ of the Iranian Ansar-e Hizballah [supporters of Hizballah], published an extensive report on the 2 June meeting organized by the General Staff for Glorification of Martyrs of the Global Islamic Campaign to recruit "martyrdom seekers."
According to the weekly, a Majlis deputy from Tehran, Mehdi Kuchekzadeh, spoke on the martyrdom culture and "declared his readiness to become a martyr seeker."
The paper said General Salami, deputy commander of operations at the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) Joint Chiefs of Staff Headquarters, appeared in full military uniform. He declared that the "Global Arrogance [the US and its allies] would come to its knees in the face of martyrdom operations, despite its technological superiority."
Ya Lesarat also reported that "charismatic" speaker Hasan 'Abbasi, the director of the Centre for Doctrinal Studies of Security Across Frontiers, an IRGC Imam Hussein University institution, gave the "most effective" presentation. According to the weekly, 'Abbasi said: "The West needs to know that we cannot stop our youth, and there will remain no security for the Jewish and Christian worlds . . . We will not and cannot stop the disruption of the present order." Before his departure, Dr. 'Abbasi "filled out the form to become a martyr."
Ya Lesarat also reported that IRGC General Sa'id Qasemi and Hojjat ol-Eslam Hamid Sabzevari addressed the gathering. Sabzevari spoke on the "religious basis and justification for seeking martyrdom." In addition, the weekly interviewed Mohammad 'Ali Samadi, an organizer of the campaign, who characterized the campaign as "global" in nature, embracing "all Islamic movements and both Shia and Sunni Muslims," and identified the "US, Israel, and their lackeys" as the targets of the "martyrs."
The 9 June Ya Lesarat also carried an interview with Mrs. Foruz Raja'eifar, the director of the recruitment campaign. A former US Embassy hostage taker, Raja'eifar stressed that "through this event, we are sending a message both to the Islamic world and its enemies." Raja'eifar is the editor of the hardline publication Sobhe-e Dukoheh , directed by the prominent Iranian Hizballah figure Masoud Dehnamaki. Raja'eifar had also expounded on the campaign in a 2 June interview with Hamshahri, the daily of Tehran Municipality. In that interview, she stressed the need to "adopt martyrdom-seeking as a strategic struggle, educate the Iranian youth until it becomes a fundamental cultural movement, and defend its religious and legal basis." She added that martyrs "don't lose anything but gain God's Paradise and eternal joy."
ILNA also carried a report on the 2 June meeting, pointing out that IRGC deputy commander Salami spoke on "martyrdom and military and security strategies," while Hasan 'Abbasi addressed "martyrdom as the last weapon." It also reported the presence of IRGC General Sa'id Qasemi (4 June).
Media Report Campaign Spreading
Since the 2 June meeting, Iranian media and opposition websites have offered further insights into the campaign to recruit suicide bombers. According to the opposition website R ouydad , located at www.rouydad.info , the General Staff for Glorification of Martyrs of the Global Islamic Campaign issued a statement on 18 June declaring that they are ready to move like "burning arrows targeting the heart of Americans." The statement added that "Iranian Muslim youth have their own special method to respond to the enemy."
The opposition website Peiknet suggested that posters for the campaign, which it said "involves the Basij and Hizballah elements," have been appearing at Shiraz University campus. The posters announce a campaign to recruit bombers by the Basij forces, headed by an individual named Puryazdanparast ( www.peiknet.com, 23 June). The poster reads: "It is a short distance to Karbala" and "registration for martyrdom operations." Pictures of President Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Sharon are featured on the poster.
Opposition websites are carrying the application to register to become a suicide bomber. The application provides options for attacking Coalition forces in Iraq, Israel, and author Salman Rushdi, condemned to death by Imam Khomeyni in 1989 for writing Satanic Verses. The first reference to the General Staff for Glorification of Martyrs of the Global Islamic Campaign was observed in February when, according to the daily Jomhuri-ye Eslami , the group offered a ,000 reward for the "killing of British novelist Salman Rushdi" (16 February).
Leaders Support Suicide Bomber Campaign
Opposition websites have also reported Iranian leadership support for the campaign.
-- The Gooya news website reported that Hashemi-Rafsanjani spoke about "the capacity and preparation of mosques for organizing Kafanpushan [literally shroud wearers, those ready to be martyred]" at the same meeting where a member of the General Staff for Glorification of Martyrs of the Global Islamic Campaign "referred to the Japanese kamikaze during WWII and stressed that they should have targeted the civilians" ( www.gooya.com, 22 June).
-- The opposition website Peiknet reported on 8 June that Mayor of Tehran Ahmadinejad is one of the principal forces behind the campaign. [In recent weeks, a number of conservative dailies, including Resalat , have been widely promoting Ahmadinejad as the next President of Iran.]
-- Reporting on the suicide bomber recruitment campaign, the Rouydad website wrote that "Mohammad Mohammadi Golpaygani, the chief of staff of Leader Khamene'i, declared at a mosque in the western Province of Ilam that the Leader has soldiers in the four corners of the Earth who are ready to sacrifice their lives for him, and some of them live in the United States" ( www.rouydad.info , 14 June).
In an unusual move, the 13 June Keyhan , the hardline semi-official daily directed by Hussein Shariatmadari, representative of Leader Khamene'i, carried an unsigned editorial which called for a decisive stance against the West, similar to "Imam Khomeyni's handling of the Salman Rushdi affair." It added, "It is not right to think of defense and ignore operating deep in their land . . . and waging Islamic resistance." The editorial stressed that "we need to make them understand that we can disrupt their security, not necessarily with military action but with Basij [mobilization but also a reference to the Islamic militia in Iran] and concentrated effort . . . we can challenge them deep in their homeland." Encouraging action on the part of the "lovers of Velayat [Leader Khamene'i]," Keyhan urged them to get their cue from "his hints" [eshareh: love-glance] and not wait for his orders and "assignment of duties to the detriment of the religion, nation, and country." [Editorials in Kehyan are usually signed by Hussein Shariatmadari or his deputies.]
Source: Iran press review from BBC Monitoring in English 30 Jun 04
Photo:Poster appearing at Shiraz University campus by www.peiknet.com