Iranians Being Prepared for War With Israel
Gary Dimmock, Ottawa Citizen:
A former CSIS informant who once kept tabs on terrorists says the Iranian regime is "mentally and spiritually" preparing its people for war against Israel. The Ottawa man, now in Tehran, reports that the hate campaign against Israel is in full swing on the streets of the capital.
"It is everywhere. There are posters at intersections of (Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah) saying Israel must be erased from the map," he told the Citizen. "It is not good. It is sad," he said.
Opponents of the Iranian regime in Canada say they too have received similar reports from Iranians on the ground, describing huge posters depicting the country's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country's hardline president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and Hezbollah leader Sheik Nasrallah with the slogan: "This war is our war." READ MORE
"I had some reports where people said that they do not care what the government of Iran wants to do. They are concerned about the possibility of more bloodshed in the Middle East and (concerned) that the government uses all Iran's money to help fight against Israel by its own Hezbollah," said Shahram Golestaneh, president of Committee for Defence of Human Rights in Iran.
Earlier this week, on Wednesday, some 60 Iranian volunteers left the country with the hopes of joining Hezbollah in the fight against Israel. They called it a holy war, were unarmed and hoped to gain entry to Lebanon from Syria.
Iran, widely reported as a chief financier for Hezbollah, has denied Israeli claims it also arms the organization established in the 1980s to combat Israeli forces.
According to Golestaneh, some Iranian dissidents were pleased to see the militants, ranging in age from teens to grandfathers, leave the country.
"In one instance," according to the human rights worker "one person said `In fact I rather they send all their loyalists to the war so we can breathe more easily.'''
The human rights group also had reports from one source on the ground who lamented: "Everytime there is an outside war, the level of repression inside also increases dramatically to kill any type of dissent."
In the past few days, according to the Canadian-based human rights group, the Iranian government has condemned 10 people to death.
By all reports, Iran's hardline president is bent on war with Israel. For starters, the Iranian president publicly denied the Holocaust last year and now says Israel has ordained its own destruction.
Ahmadinejad addressed clerical staff at prayer sermons Friday saying Israel and its supporters "should know that they cannot end the business that they have begun."
"The occupying regime of Palestine has actually pushed the button of its own destruction by launching a new round of invasion and barbaric onslaught on Lebanon," the president said, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency.
Dan Gillerman, Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, responded by asking the world to listen to the Iranian president's words.
"President Ahmadinejad is a very dangerous and very destabilizing force in this world. He is a person who denies the Holocaust while very diligently preparing the next one," Gillerman told reporters according to Associated Press.
The conflict that has claimed hundreds of civilians, including vacationing Canadians, began July 12 when Hezbollah, the Lebanese guerrilla group, crossed into Israel and kidnapped two Israeli soldiers.