(VOA Editorial)  (430)

(Following is an editorial, broadcast by the Voice of America June 8,

reflecting the views of the U.S. government.)

German authorities have charged an agent of Iran's intelligence service

with complicity in the 1992 murder of the leader of the Kurdish Democratic

Party of Iran and three of his associates.  The Iranian intelligence

service has earned a sinister reputation in recent years for direct and

indirect involvement in terrorist bombings and assassinations in the Middle

East, Europe and Latin America.

Agents of the Tehran regime continue to stalk members of the Iranian

opposition, especially in Europe and the Middle East.  In its annual report

on international terrorism, the U.S. State Department notes that "although

Iran did not carry out direct attacks on U.S. targets in 1992, Iranian

agents regularly conducted surveillance of U.S. missions and personnel."

In March of last year, a French court sentenced two Iranians in absentia to

five years imprisonment on illegal weapons charges stemming from an

incident in 1986.  The two had been waiting outside the home of Abdal

Rahman Barumand, an ally of former Iranian Prime Minister Shapur Bakhtiar.

Both Barumand and Bakhtiar were assassinated in 1991 in Paris.  In November

1992, two Iranians were arrested in Paris and held for extradition to

Switzerland for the 1990 murder of Kazem Rajavi, leader of the Mujahedin-e

Khalq, an Iranian opposition group.

In addition to committing acts of terrorism against Iranians in opposition,

the Tehran regime continues to call for the murder of Salmon Rushdie, a

British author.  Iran has offered a reward for Rushdie's murder, and

Iranian agents have been sent abroad to carry out the death threat.  Last

year, three of these agents were expelled by British authorities.

More than 20 acts of international terrorism during 1992 were attributed to

the Tehran regime or surrogate terrorist groups.  One such Iranian

surrogate is Islamic Jihad, also known as Hizballah, which publicly claimed

responsibility for the car-bombing of Israel's Embassy in Buenos Aires,

Argentina.  That terrorist attack killed 29 people and wounded more than

200 others.

Although there has been progress in combatting international terrorism,

state-sponsored terrorism remains a serious threat.  U.S. Secretary of

State Warren Christopher recently said that Iran, because of its conduct,

deserves to be treated as "a pariah on the international scene."  State

sponsors such as Iran must know that the United States will continue to

hold them responsible for acts of international terrorism committed by

their agents or by terrorist groups they support.