Sen. Rick Santorum, R- Pa., has introduced a bill in the U.S. Senate that would tighten the screw on Iran’s Islamic regime and give millions of dollars to groups fighting for freedom from the ruling mullahs.

Introduced Wednesday, the Iran Freedom and Support Act of 2005 codifies existing sanctions, controls and regulations in place against Iran; expands the list of entities that can be sanctioned under the Iran-Libya Sanction Act; and authorizes $10 million in assistance to pro-democracy groups opposed to the current Iranian regime.

Said Santorum in a statement: “We cannot delay taking action to protect Americans at home and abroad. According to the United States Department of State’s ‘Patterns of Global Terrorism 2001’ report, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Ministry of Intelligence and Security continued to be involved in the planning and support of terrorist acts and supported a variety of groups that use terrorism to pursue their goals. This same report has shown that Iran has provided varying amounts of funding, safe haven, training and weapons to Lebanese Hezbollah, Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.”

Santorum points out that Iran has been linked to attacks against American military personnel in Saudi Arabia at Khobar Towers in 1996 and to al-Qaida attacks against civilians in Saudi Arabia in 2004.

If signed into law, the bill would set in place standards that would make it more difficult for the government of Iran to have access to revenue and foreign investment that could be used to support terrorism and develop weapons of mass destruction. The legislation outlines that the sanctions the U.S. currently imposes shall remain in place until the president certifies that Iran “no longer poses a threat to the United States or its allies.”

“It is important for our government to send a message of support and solidarity to the efforts by the Iranian people who wish to exercise self-determination over their own form of government,” said Santorum. “This act will provide much-needed assistance for pro-democracy groups who are committed to advancing democratic ideals and principles despite living at the hands of a government that views freedom as a threat to their power.”

Jerome Corsi is the author of “Atomic Iran” and founder of the Iran Freedom Foundation, a new nonprofit group that educates the American people about the urgency for supporting regime change in Tehran.

Corsi told WND: “What Senator Santorum is trying to do is to stimulate the development of opposition groups within Iran in the hopes that changes can occur in a peaceful way within the country, to have regime change occur so the mullahs are no longer in control.”

The author mentioned a large majority of Iranians do not support the ruling mullahs and that Santorum’s bill calls for a referendum on the current regime by the people there.

“If a referendum were done in a legitimate way, the world anticipates the mullahs would be voted out,” Corsi said.

Corsi, who helped Santorum draft the bill, mentioned that in “Atomic Iran” he writes that if the terror-supporting mullahs remain in power, “Israel could very well have to strike in order to preserve its existence. But that’s not the first or best choice. The first or best choice is exactly what Senator Santorum’s bill proposes, which is a movement within Iran to change the government.”

Though the bill calls for $10 million in assistance to the pro-freedom groups – both within and outside Iran – Corsi says that figure is a “starting point” and that the amount likely will increase as the bill moves through the process.

Yesterday, Iranian President Mohammed Khatami responded to speculation about a possible military strike against Tehran, saying his country would turn into a “scorching hell” for any possible attackers.

His statements drew chants of “Death to America!” from the crowd to which he was speaking, the Associated Press reported.

If you’d like to sound off on this issue, please take part in the WorldNetDaily poll.

Related stories:

Biden: Consider Iran’s ’emotional needs’

Iranian TV sermon threatens U.S.

Iran to build 20 new nuke plants?

Iranians emboldened by Bush speech

Iran to U.S.: Don’t even think about striking us

Iranian agent arrested for al-Qaida ties

Group fights for a free Iran

Special offer: WND Books’ latest blockbuster – “Atomic Iran” – by No. 1 best-selling “Unfit for Command” author Jerome Corsi exposes the threat of nuclear terror.

Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.