US embassy cable - 85STATE196513

IRANIAN SUPPORT FOR TERRORISM

Identifier: 85STATE196513
Wikileaks: View 85STATE196513 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Secretary of State
Created: 1985-06-27 02:06:00
Classification: SECRET
Tags: PTER
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
O 270206Z JUN 85
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO AMEMBASSY BONN IMMEDIATE
AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE IMMEDIATE
AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS IMMEDIATE
AMEMBASSY LONDONIMMEDIATE
AMEMBASSY ROME IMMEDIATE
AMEMBASSY OTTAWA IMMEDIATE
AMEMBASSY PARIS IMMEDIATE
USMISSION GENEVA IMMEDIATE
AMEMBASSY TOKYO IMMEDIATE
S E C R E T  STATE 196513 
 
TERREP EXCLUSIVE 
 
E.O. 12356:   DECL: OADR 
TAGS:         PTER 
SUBJECT:     IRANIAN SUPPORT FOR TERRORISM 
 
1.  SECRET    ENTIRE TEXT. 
 
2.  THE FOLLOWING SIRO ANALYSIS OF IRANIAN SUPPORT FOR 
TERRORISM IS BEING SENT AS A PART OF A PACKAGE OF 
INTELLIGENCE TO REINFORCE THE VICE PRESIDENT'S 
PRESENTATION ON TERRORISM DURING HIS TALKS WITH HOST 
COUNTRIES.  OTHER ANALYSES DEAL WITH LIBYA AND BEIRUT AND 
WILL BE TRANSMITTED SEPTEL.  ADDRESSEE MISSIONS AND SIRO 
SHOULD COORDINATE BEST MEANS TO COMMUNICATE CONTENTS OF 
THESE STUDIES TO RESPONSIBLE, INTERESTED AGENCIES OF HOST 
GOVERNMENTS AT APPROPRIATELY HIGH LEVEL.  REACTIONS 
SHOULD BE REPORTED IN TERREP EXCLUSIVE CHANNELS AS WELL 
AS OTHERS. 
 
3.  QUOTE: UPDATE ON IRANIAN-SPONSORED TERRORISM: 23 JUNE 
1985.  IRANIAN-BACKED TERRORIST GROUPS HAVE BEEN 
RESPONSIBLE FOR ALMOST 30 ATTACKS SINCE SEPTEMBER 1984. 
IRAQ, FRANCE, AND THE UNITED STATES CONTINUE TO BE THE 
PRIMARY TARGETS.  WHILE MOST OF THE RECENT INCIDENTS 
ATTRIBUTABLE TO IRANIAN-BACKED GROUPS HAVE OCCURRED IN 
THE MIDDLE EAST, THERE IS AMPLE EVIDENCE TO INDICATE THAT 
IRANIAN OPERATIONAL ACTIVITY IS CONTINUING IN OTHER PARTS 
OF THE WORLD. 
 
.  IRAQ HAS SUFFERED SEVEN OR EIGHT TERRORIST ATTACKS AT 
THE HANDS OF IRANIAN-SPONSORED GROUPS, INCLUDING THE 
ATTEMPTED BOMBING OF FOUR IRAQI DIPLOMATS' CARS IN ATHENS 
LAST DECEMBER.  A GREEK BOMB DISPOSAL EXPERT WAS KILLED 
IN ONE OF THESE INCIDENTS. 
 
.  THERE WERE ALSO THREE OR FOUR ATTACKS INSIDE IRAQ, 
INCLUDING TWO BOMBINGS IN PRESIDENT SADDAM HUSAYN'S 
HOMETOWN OF TIKRIT. 
 
.  IRAN TRAINS AND FINANCES SEVERAL IRAQI DISSIDENT 
GROUPS, SUCH AS THE ISLAMIC ACTION ORGANIZATION THAT 
CLAIMED CREDIT FOR THE BOMBINGS IN ATHENS, THAT ARE 
DEDICATED TO OVERTHROWING IRAQI PRESIDENT SADDAM HUSAYN. 
IF IRAN SUFFERS FURTHER SETBACKS IN ITS WAR WITH IRAQ, 
TEHRAN MAY ACCELERATE ITS EFFORT TO HIT IRAQI TARGETS 
WHEREVER THEY ARE VULNERABLE. 
 
4.  THE UNITED STATES AND FRANCE HAVE BEEN THE MAIN FOCUS 
OF IRANIAN-SPONSORED TERRORIST ACTIVITY IN LEBANON.  OVER 
THE PAST 10 MONTHS, THE AVAILABLE EVIDENCE INDICATES THAT 
PRO-IRANIAN SHI'AS IN LEBANON HAVE BEEN RESPONSIBLE FOR 
AT LEAST 19 INCIDENTS, INCLUDING EIGHT ATTACKS AGAINST US 
AND SIX AGAINST FRENCH TARGETS: 
 
.  THERE IS SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE TO REMOVE ANY REASONABLE 
DOUBTS OF IRANIAN COLLUSION WITH LEBANESE SHI'A 
TERRORISTS WHO CARRIED OUT THE BOMB ATTACKS ON THE US 
MARINE BARRACKS, THE AMERICAN EMBASSY AND THE FRENCH 
MILITARY HEADQUARTERS IN BEIRUT IN L983.  THE PRINCIPAL 
POINTS OF CONTACT BETWEEN THE TERRORISTS AND IRAN ARE THE 
SHAYKH ABDALLAH BARRACKS IN THE BAQA' VALLEY, CONTROLLED 
BY THE IRANIAN REVOLUTIONARY GUARD, AND THE IRANIAN 
EMBASSY IN DAMASCUS, PARTICULARLY AMBASSADOR MUTASHAMIPUR. 
 
.  ISLAMIC JIHAD CLAIMED RESPONSIBILITY FOR KIDNAPPING 
FOUR PRIVATE US CITIZENS, AND PRO-IRANIAN SHIAS ALMOST 
CERTAINLY WERE RESPONSIBLE FOR ABDUCTING ANOTHER AMERICAN 
ON 9 JUNE.  HIZBALLAH ELEMENTS NOW HOLD SEVEN AMERICANS 
SOMEWHERE IN LEBANON. 
 
.  RADICAL SHIA TERRORISTS PROBABLY WERE RESPONSIBLE FOR 
THE MURDER OF THREE MEMBERS OF THE FRENCH OBSERVER FORCE 
IN JANUARY AND FEBRUARY, THE KIDNAPPING OF THREE FRENCH 
DIPLOMATS IN MARCH--TWO OF WHOM ARE STILL BEING HELD BY 
THE SO-CALLED ISLAMIC JIHAD (HIZBALLAH), TOGETHER WITH 
THE SEVEN AMERICANS--AND THE ATTEMPTED KIDNAPPING OF A 
FRENCH JOURNALIST IN APRIL.  ISLAMIC JIHAD PUBLICLY 
CLAIMED CREDIT FOR THREE OF THESE INCIDENTS. 
 
.  RADICAL SHIAS MAY HAVE KIDNAPPED TWO BRITISH CITIZENS 
IN WEST BEIRUT ON 14 AND 15 MARCH.  THE TWO WERE 
SUBSEQUENTLY RELEASED, PERHAPS BECAUSE THEIR CAPTORS 
REALIZED THEY WERE NOT AMERICAN.  A BRITISH PROFESSOR AT 
THE AMERICAN UNIVERSITY IN BEIRUT WAS KIDNAPPED IN MAY, 
PROBABLY BECAUSE HE WAS MISTAKEN FOR AN AMERICAN.  HE WAS 
SUBSEQUENTLY FOUND DEAD. 
 
.  THE RADICAL SHIA GROUPS IN LEBANON--FUNDED, SUPPLIED, 
AND TRAINED BY IRAN--ARE DEDICATED TO BRINGING ABOUT AN 
ISLAMIC REVOLUTION IN LEBANON.  THEY CONSIDER THE 
ELIMINATION OF ANY WESTERN, PARTICULARLY AMERICAN, 
PRESENCE IN LEBANON (SUCH AS THE AMERICAN UNIVERSITY OF 
BEIRUT AND CHRISTIAN RELIGIOUS INSTITUTIONS SUCH AS 
PRESBYTERIAN MISSIONARIES--AND THE CATHOLIC RELIEF 
SERVICE) TO BE BE THE FIRST STEP TOWARD ACHIEVING THEIR 
GOAL.  IN ADDITION, IRAN HAS ENCOURAGED ATTACKS AGAINST 
FRENCH TARGETS BECAUSE OF FRANCE'S SUPPORT FOR IRAQ. 
 
PRO-IRANIAN TERRORISTS CONTINUE TO OPERATE IN WESTERN 
EUROPE, ALTHOUGH THERE HAVE BEEN NO ATTACKS OTHER THAN 
THE FOUR BOMBINGS IN ATHENS SINCE SEPTEMBER.  EVIDENCE 
INDICATES IRAN USES ITS NETWORK OF DIPLOMATIC AND 
CULTURAL MISSIONS TO SUPPORT THESE TERRORIST OPERATIONS. 
 
.  LAST NOVEMBER, SEVEN PRO-IRANIAN LEBANESE SHIA WERE 
ARRESTED IN LADISPOLI, ITALY FOR PLANNING A CAR BOMB 
ATTACK AGAINST THE US EMBASSY IN ROME. 
 
.  IN FEBRUARY, TWO IRANIANS WERE CONVICTED IN SPAIN FOR 
THEIR INVOLVEMENT IN A PLOT TO HIJACK A SAUDI AIRLINER. 
 
.  IN MARCH, SEVERAL IRANIANS WERE EXPELLED FROM FRANCE 
FOR SUBVERSIVE ACTIVITIES. 
 
.  FRAGMENTARY EVIDENCE SUGGESTS IRAN CONTINUES TO TRACK 
ANTI-KHOMEINI EXILES IN EUROPE.  ASSASSINATION ATTEMPTS 
COULD OCCUR AT ANY TIME. 
 
.  THE TWO HIJACKERS OF TWA FLIGHT 847 THAT LEFT ATHENS 
ON 14 JUNE MAY NOT HAVE BEEN MEMBERS OF HIZBALLAH, BUT 
THEIR COMMUNIQUES CLEARLY INDICATED THE INFLUENCE OF 
IRANIAN PROPAGANDA.  HIZBALLAH ELEMENTS IN LEBANON 
SUBSEQUENTLY TOOK CONTROL OF THE HIJACKING, HOWEVER, AND 
NOW HOLD INDEPENDENTLY OF AMAL SOME OF THE REMAINING 
AMERICAN PASSENGERS.  THE HIZBALLAH MAY ALSO BE ABLE TO 
BLOCK ANY DECISION BY AMAL TO RELEASE THE AMERICAN 
PASSENGERS UNDER THE LATTER'S CONTROL. 
 
THE HIJACKING OF TWA 847 AND THE FATE OF ITS PASSENGERS 
HAS BECOME ENMESHED IN AN INTERNAL STRUGGLE BETWEEN 
HIZBALLAH AND AMAL FOR DOMINANT INFLUENCE AMONG THE SHIA 
COMMUNITY.  HIZBALLAH IS IN DIRECT CONTACT WITH TEHRAN ON 
THIS QUESTION.  THE LONG-TERM IMPLICATIONS OF THIS 
STRUGGLE FOR TEHRAN, SYRIA, ISRAEL AND THE ENTIRE MIDDLE 
EAST ARE OBVIOUS, AND COULD BE EXTREMELY DANGEROUS. 
 
IRAN CONTINUES TO TRAIN AND PROVIDE OTHER SUPPORT TO 
DISSIDENTS IN THE PERSIAN GULF, ASIA AND AFRICA. 
TERRORIST ATTACKS COULD BE ENCOURAGED BY IRAN AT ANY TIME. 
 
.  SHIA DISSIDENTS FROM SAUDI ARABIA, KUWAIT, AND BAHRAIN 
ARE RECEIVING MILITARY TRAINING IN IRAN AND SOME HAVE 
RETURNED HOME TO UNDERTAKE SUBVERSIVE ACTIVITY.  RECENT 
SUBVERSIVE ACTIVITIES IN BAHRAIN, TWO BOMBINGS CLAIMED BY 
ISLAMIC JIHAD IN SAUDI ARABIA IN MAY, AND THE SUICIDE CAR 
BOMB ATTACK ON THE AMIR OF KUWAIT INDICATE AN INCREASING 
THREAT FROM IRANIAN-TRAINED TERRORISTS AGAINST MODERATE 
ARAB REGIMES.  THIS THREAT COULD IMPACT DIRECTLY UPON THE 
VITAL INTERESTS OF WESTERN EUROPE, SUCH AS ACCESS TO OIL 
AND PEACE PROCESS. 
 
.  IRAN IS INVOLVED IN AGITATION AND PROPAGANDA ACTIVITY 
AMONG MUSLIM POPULATIONS IN COUNTRIES AS DIVERSE AS 
NIGERIA, PAKISTAN, INDONESIA, AND THE PHILIPPINES. 
 
MANY ELEMENTS OF THE IRANIAN GOVERNMENT, INCLUDING 
SEVERAL SENIOR OFFICIALS, ARE DIRECTLY INVOLVED IN 
TERRORIST ACTIVITY.  FOR EXAMPLE, DIRECT LINKS BETWEEN 
TEHRAN AND TERRORIST ACTIVITIES ABROAD ARE MAINTAINED 
THROUGH THE FOREIGN MINISTRY AND THE PASDARAN 
(REVOLUTIONARY GUARD).  SO LONG AS THE CHARACTER OF THE 
CURRENT REGIME REMAINS THE SAME, WE DO NOT BELIEVE THAT 
IRAN'S POLICY OF SPONSORING TERRORISM WILL CHANGE.  WE 
ARE THEREFORE FACING A LONGTERM PROBLEM OF HOW TO 
MINIMIZE THE EFFECTS OF IRANIAN TERRORIST POLICIES, 
PERSUADE IRAN TO ABANDON THEM, PROTECT MODERATE ARAB 
REGIMES AND PREVENT TERRORISM FROM SPILLING OVER INTO 
WESTERN EUROPE.  THERE ARE THREE AREAS OF OPPORTUNITY FOR 
WESTERN ACTION: 
 
.  FIND WAYS TO MAKE TEHRAN PAY A PRICE FOR ITS CONTINUED 
SUPPORT OF TERRORISM; 
 
.  STRENGTHEN THE ABILITY AND WILL OF OTHER STATES TO 
RESIST IRANIAN TERRORISM; 
 
.  TRY TO ENCOURAGE SYRIA, AFTER THE ISRAELI WITHDRAWAL 
FROM LEBANON, TO EXERT ITSELF MORE FORCEFULLY IN 
CURTAILING IRANIAN-SPONSORED TERRORISM BASED IN LEBANON. 
 
UNLESS RAPID DECISIVE COLLECTIVE ACTION CAN BE TAKEN SO 
AS TO STEM THE GROWING RADICAL SHIA CANCER, STRONGLY 
INFLUENCED AND DIRECTED FROM TEHRAN, IT IS LIKELY THAT 
THERE WILL BE A STILL MORE RAPID SPREAD OF RADICALISM 
INTO OTHER ARAB COUNTRIES, TOGETHER WITH AN INCREASED 
SPILLOVER INTO WESTERN EUROPE AND OTHER COUNTRIES. 
 
 
ARMACOST 

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