An Iranian movement says it now has recruited 40,000 human “time bombs” to carry out suicide attacks against Americans in Iraq and Israel.
The movement — called the World Islamic Organization’s Headquarters for Remembering the Shahids [Martyrs] — says the volunteers want to carry out “martyrdom operations to liberate Islamic lands,” according to a report broadcast by Al-Arabiya TV and translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute, or MEMRI.
Last year, Insight Online magazine reported the movement, which at the time claimed 10,000 recruits, was signing up members on the Internet.
In the July 2 television feature, spokesman Mohammad ‘Ali Samedi said that since the movement’s beginning a year and a half ago, he has been busy signing up recruits, organizing conventions and training members for martyrdom operations.
Supporters of the movement include members of parliament and Revolutionary Guards officers, but Samedi insists it is not a government organization and is not supported by the Iranian regime.
As MEMRI reported last year, however, Iranian political leader Ali Khamenei and Revolutionary Guards Gen. Shabani praised the culture of martyrdom and jihad in speeches to students, urging them to become martyrs themselves in order to resist enemies, particularly the United States.
The July 2 program includes an interview with a female member named Vesaly.
“We are first and foremost Muslims and it is our duty to defend our brothers and sisters throughout the world,” she says. “We don’t need permission from anybody. This has to do with our religious duty and responsibilities. This is our choice, and we have no fear. We adhere to the legacy of our late leader, Imam Khomeini.”
In the broadcast, the reporter says, “These young women have forsaken the temptations of life, and have taken the hard way. Indeed, they have chosen martyrdom as a way of liberating the Islamic lands. This is what they say.”
The group does not distinquish between men and women or between Sunnis and Shiites, the reporter says over chants of “We all sacrifice for the sake of Islam.”
The reason they are sacrificing, the reporter says, is “what America has done in the holy places of Najaf and Karbala” in Iraq.
He says a “young mother from Palestine, who sacrificed her life and blew herself up at an Israeli checkpost, is a role model for the movement’s members, who believe this is the only way to liberate the Palestinian lands, and especially the Al-Aqsa Mosque.”
Firooz Rajai, a movement leader, says members will “not allow the Zionists to build their Solomon Temple in the place where the Al-Aqsa Mosque stands.”
“We are willing to sacrifice our bodies and souls to defend the Al-Aqsa Mosque,” he says. “Our goal is to achieve martyrdom by way of true jihad.”
Rajai says no fatwas, or decrees, are needed for this mission, since “we get our fatwas from the Quran and from all the authorities on Islamic law.”
“We vow to turn into bombs that will explode at anyone who wishes to desecrate our holy places,” he says.
The reporter says that while the government occasionally expresses reservations about the movement, it has allowed the use of government buildings for the movement’s training.
Iranian Member of Parliament Hamid-Reza Haji-Babai says Iran “has so far managed, in a democratic and diplomatic way, to maintain relations with all countries, and preserve its status, despite the American hostility.”
“The American oppressive, inhuman, and undemocratic behavior in recent years has led to the creation of martyrdom-seeking movements everywhere,” he says.
The reporter says that after receiving “theory lessons,” the volunteers undergo secret training.
But the movement emphasizes it is not a military organization that requires special or complex training.
“A few days are enough to train the volunteers,” he says.
Rajai says movement members are “prepared to report for duty anywhere, any time.”
“We believe in combining ideology and action,” he says. “Our movement is not a symbolic one. Our goal is well known. When the time comes, martyrdom will be inevitable.”
Rajai says the movement maintains relations with groups supporting the “Palestinian cause,” such as Hamas and the Islamic Jihad.
“We meet with the representatives of the two movements in Tehran, and we hope this will be successful,” he says.
Ali Samadi, another movement leader, says that Israel only understands “the language of force” and, therefore, “our new weapon of martyrdom operations is bound to change the balance of power.”
Samadi says Iranian youth take “pride in the foundation of this movement after the Islamic revolution in order to create a core of resistance against the occupiers in a way that is not marred by flaws, as was the case with the al-Qaida organization, for example.”
“We are not afraid of the American fleets or the British weapons in Iraq,” he says. “We vow to become time bombs in the event of every aggression on our land.”
The reporter concludes: “Thus, they await death with happiness and joy. In their view, martyrdom for the sake of Allah is the sweetest thing.”