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