WASHINGTON, Oct. 25 (UPI) -- Iranian Intelligence agents have entered the United States to spread disinformation, according to the Iran Policy Committee, a group composed mostly of former U.S. government officials who are lobbying the Bush administration for regime change in Teheran.
The agents, who reportedly flew into the United States from Toronto, Canada, using Dutch and British passports, held a news conference at the National Press Club in Washington Monday -- except no press showed up. When opponents of the Tehran regime who were present took photos and videos, the agents tried to have security officers confiscate the films and tape.
The Iran Policy Committee believes the agents are in the country as "a disinformation ploy mounted by the new president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is mobilizing Iranian intelligence services in a world-wide series of probes against the United States."
The IPC is also lobbying the Bush administration to take the Mujahedeen-e-Khlaq, or MeK, off the terrorist list.
Raymond Tanter, co-chair of the Iran Policy Committee stated that, "Ahmadinejad is following Lenin's principle: 'You probe with a bayonet. If you encounter mush, proceed. If you strike steel, withdraw.'" Tanter added that, "Steel rather than mush should meet Iranian intelligence agents sent to this country to probe for opportunities and exploit our vulnerabilities."
Since Ahmadinejad's election as president, Iran is becoming more aggressive in its nuclear weapons program and in its negotiations with the European Union. He resumed activities at the Uranium Conversion Facility in Isfahan and appointed Iranian Revolutionary Guards commanders in charge of overseeing the country's nuclear program.
Clare Lopez, former CIA official who served behind the Iron curtain, and Executive Director of the IPC, stated that, "Just as Ahmadinejad's intelligence activities came before insurgent attacks in Iraq, so Iranian intelligence actions in the United States may signal terrorist attacks on the American homeland."
"Traditionally, intelligence operations by Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security preceded assassination attempts by its agents," said Bruce McColm, former executive director of Freedom House and co-chair of the Iran Policy Committee.
"Because Americans of Iranian heritage are the dissidents of today and are bound to become leaders of Iran tomorrow," said McColm, "the Iranian regime's agents are casing the dissidents for possible assassination. If Tehran succeeds in establishing a beachhead for assassination in America, Iranian Americans would be first; and any of us could be next."
The IPC has identified the Iranian agents as:
-- Karim Haqi: exposed as a veteran Iranian intelligence agent by the Iranian Policy Committee in its June 30, 2005 White Paper. "U.S. Policy Options for Iran: Sham Elections, Disinformation Campaign, Human Rights Abuses, and Regime Change." The White Paper demonstrates that in Spring 2005, Haqi ran an intelligence operation that succeeded in duping Human Rights Watch, the New York City-based American nongovernmental organization, into fronting as a mouthpiece for Iranian intelligence.
-- Mahrukh (Parvin) Haji: An agent of Iran's intelligence service, Haji maintains active links with a network of agents in Canada and Europe. The Pars-Iran association, which was the organizer of the October 24, press conference in Washington, is a front for Iranian intelligence in Canada, according to Tanter.
-- Amir-Hossein Kord Rostami: An agent of Iran's intelligence service in Ottawa, Rostami was officially a member of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps along the Caspian Sea since 1979.
According to Sara, an Iranian student who gave only her first name and who attended the conference, the three intelligence agents intended to "alert" the American public of the connection and cooperation between Iraq's former dictator Saddam Hussein and the MeK.
However, supporters of the MeK, as well as Iranians opposed to the regime kept shouting questions at the Iranian agents, who in turn shouted back. "One of them, Rostami, got aggressive," Sara told United Press International. Eventually, the affair was called off.
The unanswered question is how did known Iranian intelligence agents enter the United States, a fact that has Iranian dissidents worried.
The U.S. government knew of their presence on U.S. soil because federal agents were keeping a discreet eye on the press conference, according to several eyewitnesses.
Questions put to the U.S. State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs were not answered by press time.
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