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Iran's War on the West

Have the mullahs really stopped aiding anti-American terrorism?

12:00 AM, Apr 21, 2006 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
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A few additional examples of Iranian support for al Qaeda make it clear that Iran was not scared out of the anti-American terrorism game. The 9/11 Commission reports that al Qaeda operatives received explosives training from Iran in the early 1990s. Bin Laden "showed particular interest in learning how to use truck bombs such as the one that had killed 241 U.S. Marines in Lebanon in 1983." This early history of collaboration did not come to an end. Even after 1996, Iran continued to open its doors to al Qaeda. The Clinton administration's original unsealed indictment of al Qaeda in November 1998 states that bin Laden's group had allied itself with Iran and its terrorist puppet, Hezbollah. The 9/11 Commission even left open the possibility that Hezbollah had assisted al Qaeda's execution of the September 11 plot.

This is just a small sample of the evidence tying Iran to al Qaeda. None of this means that military action against Iran is necessarily the most prudent next step. In this regard, Clarke and Simon may very well be right. A strike against Iran may not be in America's best interests, or the most effective way to deal with the Iranian threat. A careful weighing of the costs and benefits of military action should guide America's path. But by dismissing Iran's role in the past decade of anti-American terrorism, Clarke and Simon muddy the public debate and fail to accurately assess the Iranian threat.

Thomas Joscelyn is an economist and writer living in New York.