As the U.S. Senate offered condolences to the innocent victims and of a recent ISIS terrorist attack in Tehran and elsewhere, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-48th/CA) embarrassed himself by claiming the attack could be a “good thing” during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Hezbollah.
“We have recently seen an attack on Iran, and the Iranian government, the Mullahs believe it’s Sunni forces that have attacked them,” said Rohrabacher. “This may signal a ratcheting up of certain commitments by the United States of America. And as far as I’m concerned, I just want to make this point and see what you think. Isn’t it a good thing for us to have uh, the United States finally backing up Sunnis who will attack Hezbollah and the Shiite threat to us? Isn’t that a good thing?”
Rohrabacher’s statement completely ignores the fact that the ISIS terror attack in Tehran claimed the lives of 17 innocent civilians and wounded 43 others. Reports indicate that two female civil rights activists were among the victims. Rohrabacher’s comments were quickly repudiated by expert witnesses at the hearing.
“It’s never in our interest to support a terrorist group like the Islamic State. We should condemn the attacks in Tehran, as we would condemn any act of terrorism, even as we hold Iran accountable for its sponsorship of terrorism,” explained Matthew Levitt, director of The Washington Institute’s Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence.
Rohrabacher is known for making controversial statements and proposals. He believes that Trump’s border wall with Mexico can be funded by rich immigrants. Moreover, it is common knowledge that he is a proponent of regime change in Iran and a supporter of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), a group known for human rights abuses which wants to overthrow the Iranian government and which was classified as a terrorist organization by the U.S. government until 2012. In 2012, Rohrabacher wrote a letter to the State Department recommending that the U.S. support an Azeri separatist movement in Iran.
Regardless of political leanings, PAAIA believes it is important for Members of Congress to continue to relay their sympathy, compassion, and support to the Iranian people and to distinguish them from the regime in Tehran.
Click here to view video of Congressman Rohrabacher’s statement.