Suicide U.: Iran registers volunteers for martyrdom

Friday, May 28, 2004

LONDON Iran has established what could be the first training center for Islamic suicide attackers.

Iranian sources and media asserted that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps has established a center to train suicide attackers throughout the world. The sources identified the center as the World Islamic Martyrs and Fighters Staff Headquarters.

The facility was said to have been established by the IRGC's intelligence service, responsible for the sponsorship and support of Islamic insurgency groups linked to Teheran. The groups have included Hamas, Hizbullah, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command.

The existence of the center was first reported on May 26 by the state-operated Iranian Student News Agency, Middle East Newsline reported. On Friday, a similar version was published by the London-based daily A-Sharq Al Awsat in an article by Iranian analyst Ali Nouri Zadeh.

"This information is credible and its publication was approved by leading elements of the regime who want to send a message to the United States and its allies in the Middle East that Teheran would be ready to respond to any attack," an Iranian source said.

The head of the center was identified only by his initials "F.R." The sources said the center has already begun registering volunteers for Islamic suicide missions in such locations as Iraq, Israel and Lebanon.

The training center has already produced a promotional video in which an IRGC intelligence officer detailed Iranian strategy to dominate Arab and Islamic countries through the support of insurgency groups. A-Sharq Al Awsat, which said it has received the video, reported that the officer also discussed the importance of Iranian control over Iraq, which he said contains 11 percent of world oil reserves.

A Western intelligence source said Iran has sought to establish a training center for suicide attackers. But the source could not determine whether the center was already operating.

A-Sharq Al Awsat quoted the officer, identified as as H.A., as urging suicide or missile strikes against the West. The officer said the United States and its Western allies have 29 sensitive facilities that have been targeted.

"We are monitoring these locations and know how to strike them," the officer said on the video.

Copyright 2004 East West Services, Inc.

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