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By Juliegrace Brufke
GOP Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California walked back his recent remarks that the Islamic State’s attack on Iran could be viewed as a “good thing,” saying he isn’t excusing acts or terror.
Rohrabacher’s comments during Friday’s House Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing followed ISIS storming the parliament building in Tehran and a shrine to the country’s first Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini Wednesday, which resulted in 17 deaths and dozens of injuries.
“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 the United States finally backing up Sunnis who will attack Hezbollah and the Shiite threat to us?” he said last week. “Isn’t that a good thing? And if so, maybe this is a Trump — maybe it’s a Trump strategy of actually supporting one group against another, considering that you have two terrorist organizations.”
Rohrabacher said he wanted to clarify his comments following the strong response seen on his website Monday. People on the site noted his voting record reflects he is against the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia and has been vocal in his stance against radical Islamic schools and terrorist organizations.
“I oppose the use of force against unarmed civilians no matter who is the victim or who is doing the killing. My heart goes to hapless victims visiting Iran’s parliament building or Khomeini’s mausoleum the day of the Isis attack,” he wrote on his page Monday. “I am saddened by such loss and they deserve the sympathy of all the decent people of the world. That these innocents were killed or maimed during the Isis attack is testimony to the evil now loose in our world.”
According to Rohrabacher, accusations he ignores the wrongdoing and effects of Saudi interventions is unwarranted, adding he made it clear in his testimony he believes the Mullah regime in Iran has been oppressive and responsible for deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. He argued he prefers seeing extremists target each other versus seeing the loss of members of the U.S. military and innocent civilians.
“This is something I mismanaged to clearly articulate at last week’s hearing. I consider myself an enemy of both of these evil terrorist manifestations,” he said.
Rohrabacher said the support of Iranians “who see blowing up Khomeini’s mausoleum as an expression of freedom from the yoke of Islamic terror” is necessary if the people hope to overthrow the Ayatollah’s regime.
“Government structures like Tehran’s Reichstag, controlled by gangsters, tyrants, or terrorists (in or out of uniform), should not be considered off-limits,” he said. “I say this not to excuse the Isis attack, but to make it clear that Iran’s vicious Mullah monarchy will not voluntarily give up power democratically to their own people.”