Ileana Ros-Lehtinen under the terrorist spotlight
A U.S. representative who accused Tehran of sponsoring terrorism has a track record of supporting terrorists herself.
By now there is little doubt that hypocrisy has become Washington’s standing policy on foreign affairs. What is astounding is the lack of shame in such overt duplicity as Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s (R-Fla.) accusations in her Dec. 14 Times Op-Ed article that Iran is a state sponsor of terrorists — when she herself has a track record of supporting terrorists.
In February 1988, Orlando Bosch was arrested in Miami and implicated in the 1976 plot to blow up Cubana Flight 455, a terrorist act that killed 73 passengers. Joe D. Whitley, the associate U.S. attorney general at the time, called Bosch "a terrorist, unfettered by laws or human decency, threatening and inflicting violence without regard to the identity of his victims." Bosch, however, had the distinct advantage of having Ros-Lehtinen make advocating for his release one of the cornerstones of her 1989 congressional campaign. Bosch had another advantage: Ros-Lehtinen’s campaign manager was Jeb Bush, President George H.W. Bush’s son. In 1990, after lobbying by Jeb Bush and Ros-Lehtinen, the Bush administration went against the Justice Department’s recommendation to deport Bosch and authorized his release. Since then, Bosch has become a permanent resident of the United States.
Ros-Lehtinen also supports the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), a group by the State Department as a foreign terrorist group. Leading up to the Iraq war, in October 2002, Ros-Lehtinen circulated a letter in Congress expressing support for the MEK. She continues her support.
Common sense dictates that Iran would want security in its two neighboring countries given the spillover effect. By now, it is also common knowledge that the Sunni Taliban and Shiite Iran have been hostile toward each other for years (several Iranian diplomats were killed by the Taliban in 1998), and no doubt this hostility led to Iran’s decision to assist the Northern Alliance and the U.S. in efforts in the overthrow of the Taliban after the 9/11 attacks — efforts that were rewarded with the infamous "axis of evil" brand. Yet Ros-Lehtinen would insult the American public’s intelligence by telling them that Iran, without mentioning any history, has a hand in Afghanistan. Does Ros-Lehtinen ever wonder if other countries simply do not welcome occupation by any foreign force?
One has to question what motivates Ros-Lehtinen in her push to put financial sanctions on foreign and domestic companies that sell refined petroleum products to Iran. Doing so could lead to more job losses in America and more hostilities between U.S. allies and Iran. This is a time when our policy makers should be thinking about America and Americans, period.
Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich is an independent researcher and writer living in Glendale.
By Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich