Vindication on Iran

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WASHINGTON, D.C.: State Department officials are elated after a German court ruling that Iran's highest ranking leaders were behind the 1992 assassination of four Iranian opposition figures in Berlin. The decision confirmed what the U.S. had been saying for years: That Iran engages in state-sponsored terrorism. "Department officials are particularly delighted with how specific it is," says TIME's Doug Waller, "because not only does it identify the Iranian government as responsible for the attack but also implicates as one of its organizers Iran's top religious cleric: Ayatollah Ali Khamenei." The verdict forces the European Union to reexamine its "critical dialogue" policy that has thwarted U.S. efforts to isolate Iran by allowing the country to trade with Europe. Already, the EU has suspended the policy and has called for each member nation to bring its ambassadors home, moves greeted warmly by U.S. officials. After an internal debate on whether to push for more or lay back following the decision, the U.S. has decided to let the verdict speak for itself: "This officially and publicly reiterates the U.S. claim that Germany and Europe have been doing business with a state that sponsors terrorism," notes Waller. "It brings out to the open in an official form what everyone has known in the back room for a long time."