Jordan's king exposes Iranian plot to attack Israel
By Arieh O'Sullivan
JERUSALEM (February 6) - Jordan's King Abdullah II reportedly exposed an Iranian plot to launch mortar and rocket attacks on Israel from Jordanian territory during a visit to Washington last month.
The London-based Saudi newspaper Al-Sharq al-Awsat quoted US officials as saying Abdullah presented the evidence to President George W. Bush during his visit. It said this was one of the deciding factors for Bush to include Iran in the "axis of evil."
According to Abdullah, Iran had been involved in 17 attempts by Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists to attack Israel with mortars and rockets from Jordanian territory.
These terrorists reportedly were trained in Iran or the Hizbullah camps in Lebanon.
The report said Abdullah had tried to raise the topic in two different telephone conversations with Iranian President Muhammad Khatami. But Khatami blamed it on the extremists in Iran.
Abdullah did not accept this and raised the issue with Bush, the newspaper said.
The idea behind the attacks was fear that Israel, and perhaps the US, would attack Syria should Hizbullah escalate attacks on the northern border.
Some of the weapons to be used for the attacks were smuggled in through Akaba, the paper quoted American sources as saying.
Abdullah also said Jordan has foiled over 70 attacks against Israel from its territory.
One attack it failed to prevent, however, was last December 24, when gunmen attacked an IDF patrol along the Jordan River, killing one reservist. IDF Intelligence believes the gunmen were from Lebanon and linked to Hizbullah.
The Jordanian accusations came amid the backdrop of belligerent rhetoric coming out of Teheran and Jerusalem over Iranian intentions to acquire nuclear weapons and destroy Israel.
"Israel never had and does not have any intention of attacking Iran," Transportation Minister Ephraim Sneh told Israel Radio.
His comments came in response to threats by Iranian Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani to launch an "unimaginable" response should Israel attack Iran's nuclear power plant. In an interview published yesterday, Shamkhani insisted Iran has no intention of procuring or making nuclear weapons, but is continuing its efforts to develop the medium-range ballistic Shihab 3 missile.
"The existence of nuclear weapons will turn us into a threat to others that could be exploited in a dangerous way to harm our relations with the countries of the region," he told Al-Sharq al-Awsat.
In December former Iranian president Hashemi Rafsanjani said the Islamic world is too large to be destroyed by a nuclear bomb, whereas Israel would be wiped out with just one.
"We have no intention or desire to enter into conflict with Iran, and we have no desire to be under an Iranian threat, particularly in light of the Islamic fundamentalist control there and their great efforts to develop nuclear and non-conventional weapons and long-range missiles which can threaten us," said Justice Minister Meir Sheetrit.
"We are duty-bound to defend ourselves if there is a need. We have no offensive intentions toward Iran. I think that Iran feels the international pressure being put on it now."
Minister without Portfolio Dan Meridor said the country is not interested in a conflict with Teheran, but is trying to convince Russia and Western countries to cut links with Iran as long as it seeks to develop weapons of mass destruction.
"Iran has openly declared its policy is to destroy Israel, not help the Palestinians, not [to discuss] various kinds of borders or Jerusalem. Simply the annihilation of Zionism and destruction of Israel," Meridor told Israel Radio.
"No reasonable Western country should have any contact with Iran as long as it seeks to destroy another country."
Whine all you want about how your favorite terrorist state isn't and how terrorism is ok as long as it's target is Israel, but I think this plot is the clencher..... Iran is a terrorist state.