During a recent trip to Beirut, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif took the time to visit and lay a wreath upon the grave of a notorious terrorist, Imad Mughniyeh. A top commander of Hezbollah for more than three decades Mughniyeh has been linked to attacks that have killed hundreds of people.
Those attacks include the simultaneous truck bombings in Beirut in 1983 that killed two hundred forty-one U.S. Marines and fifty-eight French paratroopers. He was also involved in a series of kidnappings in the 1980s of dozens of Westerners – French, Swiss, British and Americans -- including the kidnapping, torture and gruesome death of CIA Beirut station chief William Buckley.
In the 1990s Mughniyeh orchestrated two car bomb attacks in Buenos Aires, Argentina: one at the Israeli Embassy that killed twenty-nine people, and one at a Jewish community center that resulted in the death of eighty-five. He himself was assassinated in Damascus in 2008.
In a statement from the White House, National Security Council Spokesperson Caitlin Hayden said, “The United States condemns the decision taken by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif Khonsari to place a wreath at the grave of Imad Mughniyeh, a former leader of Lebanese Hezbollah responsible for heinous acts of terrorism that killed hundreds of innocent people, including Americans.
“The inhumane violence that Mughniyeh perpetrated – and that Lebanese Hezbollah continues to perpetrate in the region with Iran’s financial and material support,” she said, “has had profoundly destabilizing and deadly effects for Lebanon and the region. The decision to commemorate an individual who participated in such vicious acts, and whose organization continues to actively support terrorism worldwide, sends the wrong message and will only exacerbate tensions in the region.”