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December 1, 2003

No one wants to say it, but we are at war with Iran, according to our latest forum contributor, Alireza Jafarzadeh:

According to sources with access to the Iranian government, after major military operations ended in Iraq, thousands of the Iranian regime’s agents, Iraqi expatriates — groomed, trained and funded by the mullahs for two decades — and clerics were dispatched to the country to gain control of key local and government positions. Truckloads of books, CDs and cassette tapes promoting Tehran's fundamentalist version of Islam accompanied them. For months, the notorious Qods (Jerusalem) Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps has been working to spread its influence in the Shiite-dominated southern regions of Iraq, to derail and hijack any political and democratic process in the country with the ultimate goal of erecting a sister Islamic Republic there. They now dominate a major portion of southern Iraq, including Samavah, Meissan, Nasiriyah, Basra, Wasset, Karbala and Najaf provinces. Even in Baghdad, a majority of the government agencies are run by Shiites, many loyal to Tehran.

"It [Iran] is the prime beneficiary of continued chaos throughout Iraq."

The top U.S. administrator in Iraq, Ambassador L. Paul Bremer said in September, "Iranian intelligence agents have been aiding groups that have carried out violent attacks in different parts of Iraq." At least 62 Iranians have been captured in Iraq. In late August, sources said, the commander of the Jerusalem Force, Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi surrogate groups met in Tehran and in the oil-rich Iranian city of Ahwaz to work on a plan of action in Iraq. Part of the plan called for setting up cells in mosques and recruitment from all regions.

It is very important to recognize that Iran is the most dominant force laying the social, religious and political grounds for such attacks in Iraq. It is the prime beneficiary of continued chaos throughout Iraq. This is exactly the situation that Iranian clerics wish to see. Less attention to southern Iraq would give the Iranian regime a free reign to build their network more swiftly and more successfully. No matter where the violence is occurring and who is more responsible for the bloodshed, as long as the fundamentalists control the reins of power in Iran, their sphere of influence would inevitably spill into Iraq. Relying on 60 percent of the Iraqi population being Shiite, the existence of the six holy Shiite sites in Iraq, and nearly 800 miles of porous borders with Iraq, the larger and more populated Iran is in fact the biggest foreign influence dominating that country.

The United States and the international community must be firm against Tehran, and their surrogate groups in Iraq. As proven in the past, giving in to Tehran's demands would not deter the clerics from meddling in Iraq. Accommodating them or giving them any concessions would only be interpreted as a sign of weakness and would invite further intervention, bringing Tehran a step closer to its dream of establishing an Islamic empire. Instead, Tehran must be reminded that there is an over due price for their rogue behavior; support should be stepped up by the U.S. for anti-government demonstrations, pro-democracy students and the Iranian opposition’s call for a referendum for regime change in Iran.

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Alireza Jafarzadeh is a FOX News Channel Foreign Affairs Analyst and the author of "The Iran Threat: President Ahmadinejad and the Coming Nuclear Crisis" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007).

Jafarzadeh has revealed Iran's terrorist network in Iraq and its terror training camps since 2003. He first disclosed the existence of the Natanz uranium enrichment facility and the Arak heavy water facility in August 2002.

Prior to becoming a contributor for FOX, and until August 2003, Jafarzadeh acted for a dozen years as the chief congressional liaison and media spokesman for the U.S. representative office of Iran's parliament in exile, the National Council of Resistance of Iran.

Alireza Jafarzadeh, the deputy director of the Washington office of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, is credited with exposing Iranian nuclear sites in Natanz and Arak in 2002, triggering International Atomic Energy Agency inspections. He is the author of "The Iran Threat" (Palgrave MacMillan: 2008). His email is Jafarzadeh@ncrius.org.