Threats to the Security of California

Al Qaeda and Iran

Jan 18, 2008, 00:00 ET from Iran Policy Committee

    WASHINGTON, Jan. 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On 17 and 18 January,
 2008, Professor Raymond Tanter, President, Iran Policy Committee, spoke at
 the invitation of the Southern California Society for Democracy in Iran
 (SCSDI) in Los Angeles and the Iranian-American Community of Northern
 California in San Francisco.
     Prof. Tanter explained the terrorist threat to California ports from a
 potential al Qaeda attack, "The ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, and
 Oakland represent the #1, #2, and #7 ports in terms of container traffic;
 the 'bomb-in-a-box' scenario poses a threat to the economy of the entire
 state of California, and the United States more broadly."
     Prof. Tanter continued by addressing the Iran threat to Persian Gulf
 oil, which constitutes more than one third of oil imported to the West
 Coast of the United States. The Iranian regime's aggression, including the
 kidnapping of 15 British Sailors and the harassment of U.S. Naval vessels
 with speedboats, makes the Strait of Hormuz a potentially devastating choke
 point for the flow of oil.
     Prof. Tanter also described the threat from al Qaeda--Iran cooperation
 to Californians serving in Iraq: "Californians represent more combat
 fatalities, 420, than military personnel from any other state. Indeed, the
 leading cause of combat fatalities in Iraq is Improvised Explosive Devices,
 most of which are manufactured in Tehran and distributed to Iraqi proxies.
     To deal with a Tehran threat to California's ports and economy, as well
 as Californians serving in Iraq, Prof. Tanter suggested that the United
 States and Arab allies in the Middle East "enforce smart sanctions against
 the Iranian regime, to alert Tehran that aggression in the Gulf and
 subversion of Iraq will not go unanswered." Prof. Tanter also praised U.S.
 Department of State and Treasury designations of the Islamic Revolutionary
 Guards Corps and its affiliates for WMD proliferation and terrorist
 activity as one tool for curtailing these activities.
     However, Prof. Tanter concluded, "The most powerful tool the United
 States can use to put Tehran's rulers on alert that their support to
 terrorist organizations like al Qaeda and pursuit of nuclear weapons must
 end is to empower the Iranian people for democratic change. To this end,
 the United States should remove the terrorist designations of the main,
 democratic Iranian opposition groups. The evidence behind such designations
 is specious, and the hampering of the democratic opposition jeopardizes
 U.S. national security interests."
     A study conducted by the Iran Policy Committee showed that in state-run
 media, Tehran pays attention 350 percent more to the main opposition, the
 Mujahedin-e Khalq and the coalition National Council of Resistance of Iran
 (NCRI), than all other opposition groups combined.

SOURCE Iran Policy Committee