'US threats against Iran an act of war'

Professor of Political Science at the Guilan University says the United States continues with threats against Iranian people which is an act of war.

What follows is a rough translation of Habilian’s interview with professor Reza Simbar from Guilan University:

Habilian: What is state terrorism?

Dr. Simbar: The first thing that we should consider as the basis in the area is that basically no actor in the international arena deems himself a terrorist, neither groups nor governments. That is why they say: He whom you consider terrorist is a freedom fighter from my point of view. Accordingly, the Zionist regime claims it is sacrificing for sacred causes and deems the Palestinian resistance fighters to be terrorists.

There is always a border between right and wrong and between truth and falsehood in defining terrorism, that we should define these borders. These borderlines are also available in concepts like freedom, equality and justice. We are Iranian Shiite Muslims living in the same era, while we may have different definitions for freedom. Although, culture and religion help bringing the definitions closer together. There are certainly different perceptions of terrorism, too. That is, different actors have differing definitions of terrorism because of that floating conception. Different groups project the wrong as right and vice versa according to their own set of beliefs. They acknowledge what they have done and say: “we’re seeking forgiveness from the pure spirits of those who were killed, but we are at the end of our ropes. We wanted to establish freedom!” Spain’s ETA, Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), and Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK, a.k.a. MKO) also grant themselves some rights. Another issue is the legal discussions in terms of terrorism. We should look at the issue of terrorism especially state terrorism from the legal point view particularly international law. The first and foremost issue to be raised here is that there is no international consensus on the definition of “terrorism”. Several resolutions and statements have been issued so far, but there is no common definition offered for the term terrorism in the international law. This made different governments provide their own definitions of terrorism and apply it to certain groups. The US government was the first who explicitly performed this after 9/11. The US Department of State compiles a list once or twice a year and says these are terrorists in our views. The EU also did the same job and compiled a roster of terrorist countries and actors. Interestingly, the two lists are to some extent different, although they are the lists of two western allies.

Habilian: What is the reason of the difference between the terrorist lists?

Dr. Simbar: Let me go back to what I said earlier. There are different viewpoints with regards to terrorism and this leads to different results. The Western countries cited the Article 51 of the UN Charter when they found themselves facing charges. When they failed to attract the international consensus to attack Iraq, they said we launch the war against Iraq in accordance with Article 51 of the UN Charter. There, George Bush said his famous quote: “You’re either with us, or against us.” But the US was charged with terrorism, since its attack met the main components of terrorism.

Habilian: What are those components exactly?

Dr. Simbar: There are two components emphasized in most of the definitions of terrorism: Act of violence and political motive or goal. Most experts believe that if the two meet, that act is terrorism. So in addition to the United States acts, the Israel’s attacks against Palestinians are state terrorism.