News

Title:  U.S. URGED TO MAINTAIN PRESSURE ON IRAN (Change in Iranian actions must occur first, panel says)

Author:  Caroline de Oliveira USIA Staff Writer
Date:  19970611

Text:
*NEA

Washington -- The United States should not change its policies toward Iran simply because a relative moderate like Mohammed Khatemi has been elected president of Iran, nor is it likely that his election will lead to a cessation of Iranian terrorism, a panel of specialists said at a congressional human rights meeting June 10th.

There must be a definitive change in Iranian behavior before the United States should reconsider its stance, the panelists warned.

The United States considers Iran to be a state sponsor of terrorism along with Cuba, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria.

According to Kenneth Timmerman of the Iran Foundation, "terrorism as a tool of foreign policy ... nuclear weapons as a tool of domination and opposition to the peace process" are core beliefs that characterize the Iranian regime. Timmerman also said that Iranian mullahs believe that it is their duty to purge the system of people who do not support their ideology.

The panelists noted that the international community has often failed to respond sufficiently to Iranian terrorist acts. For example, the European Union has continued to engage Teheran in dialogue, essentially for trade purposes.

Peter Pils, author of a book on Iranian terrorism and a former member of Austria's Parliament, cited the triple murder of Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan officials in Vienna in 1989. Despite the fact that two Iranians were linked to the crimes, the Austrians opted to hand them over to Teheran instead of bringing them to justice themselves. This decision was made, he said, in the hope that by pursuing friendly relations with Iran, future acts of terrorism could be avoided and the protection of Austrian citizens ensured.

Timmerman urged the United States to maintain pressure on Iran. While sanctions -- such as the United States has levied -- are valuable, the U.S. needs to make an effort to monitor human rights closely and to promote democracy inside Iran, he said. NNNN


Product Name:  WASHINGTON FILE
Document Type:  ARTICLE
Keywords:  iran; terrorism 6A #co/rm kf
Thematic Codes:  6a
Languages:  ENGLISH
Originating Team:  97061106.GNE