U.S. President Donald Trump and the American military and intelligence services should be praised for protecting American and Israeli lives by killing the head of the U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force and the international leader of Hezbollah, arch-terrorist Qassem Soleimani; along with the commander of the Iranian-backed Iraqi FTO Kataib Hezbollah, terrorist Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis; a member of FTO Hezbollah; and several other Iranian-backed terrorists.

The president demonstrated utmost restraint when dealing with Iran, even calling off a planned strike after Iran downed a multimillion-dollar American drone in June. Drones can be rebuilt, but lives cannot be replaced. The president needed to act to prevent the American people from becoming sitting ducks, while the IRGC, Hezbollah Ktaib, Hezbollah and other Iranian-backed terrorists killed an American, attacked our embassy in Baghdad and plotted to murder more people.

It is appalling that certain groups and left-wing politicians and media outlets are condemning Trump for this important strike to protect the American people and others around the world from a terrorist who has the blood of hundreds of Americans and 1,500 Iranian protesters on his hands. He also directed rallies calling for “death to Israel and America.”

Accusing the president of causing “escalation” is an absurd Iranian talking point that gives aid and comfort to the enemy. In fact, the real cause of escalation is appeasement. Incongruously, these same people praised former President Barack Obama for killing terrorist Osama bin Laden.

When Iranian Islamic “revolutionaries” invaded the U.S. embassy in Teheran in 1979 and held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days, Iran’s ayatollahs quaked in fear, expecting the United States to forcefully respond. (When the United States attacked Iraq in 2003, Iran sent a message to America that they were stopping its nuclear-weapons program out of fear that it was next; it was restarted when there was no longer a danger to Iran.) But when then-President Jimmy Carter responded with weakness and failed to take decisive action, this encouraged the Islamic Republic of Iran to attack, kill, threaten and plot against U.S. citizens for the next 40 years with impunity.

Hamas terrorists use the same tactics. When Israel takes decisive defensive action to prevent rocket and other terror attacks, the terrorists falsely accuse Israel of “escalation.”

Iran’s attacks have occurred on U.S. soil and international waters, as well as in the foreign nations where it seeks to extend its tentacles.

The isolationist critics of last week’s operation seem to have forgotten that U.S. embassies are U.S. sovereign territory. The United States must be able to safely operate embassies throughout the world, to protect American travelers, engage in civil diplomacy, vet foreign persons seeking entry into the United States and manage its other interests.

The isolationist critics also seem to have forgotten the IRGC plot, overseen by Soleimani, to murder a Saudi diplomat by setting off a bomb at a Georgetown restaurant in Washington, D.C., which would have caused the death of innocent Americans.

Pence was also correct to mention the Soleimani-led IRGC’s role in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The involvement of Iran, the IRGC, the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS), Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameni and Iranian proxy Hezbollah in perpetrating the murder of almost 3,000 American citizens on Sept. 11, 2001, is well-documented.

After an extensive seven-year investigation that built on information revealed in the U.S. 9-11 Commission report (See, e.g., “Assistance from Hezbollah and Iran to Al-Qaeda” p. 240-241), a U.S. federal district court in Manhattan found that Iran, the IRGC, and other Iranian entities and proxies initiated the plot and planning  back in the 1980s; entered into a terror alliance with Al-Qaeda; trained Al-Qaeda operatives in explosives handling and other terror methods; trained pilots on Boeing 757-767-777 flight simulators installed at Teheran airport specifically to facilitate the attacks on Sept. 11 (Iran had no such Boeing planes and no other purpose for the simulators); facilitated visas and travel into the United States of the terrorists; and provided safe haven afterwards to Al-Qaeda operatives. An Iranian terrorist task force comprised of the IRGC and MOIS devised various Shaitan dar Atash—“Satan (America) in flames or hell”—plots to crash Boeing civilian airliners into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the White House; attack the U.S. electric grid; and attack America with dirty bombs. Havlish v. Bin Laden, a.k.a. In re Terrorist Attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, Civ. Action No. 03 MDL 1570, 03 Civ. 9848 (GBD), Dkt. #294 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 22, 2011).

ZOA and others have previously discussed and summarized the important Havlish case findings. (See herehere and here.)

Moreover, the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran established the IRGC to, among other things, perpetrate terror against “enemies of Allah” (e.g., the United States and Israel) and expand Iranian Islamic sovereignty throughout the world. The Islamic Republic of Iran’s Constitution states:

The Army of the Islamic Republic and the Islamic Pasdaran Revolutionary Corps … will undertake the responsibility of … the ideological mission, i.e. striving (jehād) on the path of God and struggle on the path of expanding the sovereignty of the law of God in the world in accordance with the Qur’anic verse: ‘Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into (the hearts of) the enemies, of Allah and your enemies’ ” (8: 60).

It is bizarre for Trump critics to blame him for “escalation” when the IRGC’s raison d’être is to terrorize and murder American and Israeli “enemies of Allah,” and spread Iranian hegemony. It’s time for the critics to face reality, and appreciate the president’s and U.S. military’s courageous operation to protect innocent people.

Morton A. Klein is the national president of the Zionist Organization of America. Elizabeth A. Berney is ZOA’s director of special projects.

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