Alireza Jafarzadeh: Iran dodging nuclear scrutiny, Fox News Channel


Fox News Live

Sunday, September 12, 2004


Atomic Anxiety over Iran



Bob Sellers: US is lobbying to have Iran taken before the UN Security Council and possibly have sanctions as a result of that, and the head of UN’s nuclear watchdog group has met with Iranian leaders in the past. What makes the US think that this time it is going to be any different from that? Joining us in studio, Alireza Jafarzadeh. He is a Fox News foreign affairs analyst, welcome Alireza.




Alireza Jafarzadeh: Thank you Bob.


Bob Sellers: First of all, who is in charge of the nuclear program there?  You know we always hear like there is always something going on there.  You have the Islamic right, which has power, then you have a government that is not Islamic, but it is kind of run by the Islamists, who’s in charge?


Alireza Jafarzadeh: Bob, who is in charge? It is the supreme leader of the Iranian regime Ali Khamene’i, but that does not mean the other sectors of the regime meaning the government, Khatami, the president, and the Revolutionary Guards are not involved.  In fact they are both part of this program.  It’s Khamene’i who calls the shots, but he’s using the Revolutionary Guards and the president to pursue his nuclear objectives.


Bob Sellers: OK, apparently they don’t feel very threatened by this action. Correct?


Alireza Jafarzadeh: Absolutely right.  The way Iran is responding to the offer that the EU-Three is making clearly shows that Iran feels they still have room to maneuver; and  they want to push the envelope as far as they can to see how much they can get out of it.  The reason for it, I think, is that first of all this offer by the Europeans is too vague, too broad, has no teeth, so they don’t feel threatened.  They want to keep this whole cycle of negotiations and talks going on. 


Bob Sellers: What are they trying to get?



Alireza Jafarzadeh: What they want to get, is they want to buy time, Bob, because all they need, you heard the report earlier; we’re talking about months, at most about a year. If they continue dragging their feet in dealing with the international community, if they buy enough time to complete their nuclear weapons program, then you have a whole new ballgame, a whole new strategic situation...


Bob Sellers: OK, what do they think they would have if they have nuclear power?  We all know they have oil, so the argument that they need it for fuel doesn’t really carry anything.


Alireza Jafarzadeh: Absolutely not, Bob.


Bob Sellers: So, if they have nuclear power, what does that do for them? It may sound like a simplistic question.


Alireza Jafarzadeh: No, this is the key question, Bob.  Because the reason Iran wants nuclear technology, and by extension nuclear weapons, because they want to exert their hegemony in the region.  This is a regime that wants to establish a global Islamic rule. They are threatening their neighbors.


Bob Sellers: And they’re after Iraq as well.


Alireza Jafarzadeh: They’re heavily involved in Iraq; they are all over Iraq actually, they are supporting all kinds of groups.


Bob Sellers: So they see a large region in which they could have more power politically and have a nuclear weapon, have that power, as well.  How do we deal with that?



Alireza Jafarzadeh: That is the key question, Bob. Let me put it this way.  Iran is like a five-head dragon:  They have nuclear weapons program; Support of terrorism; their meddling in Iraq, their opposition to peace in the Middle East, and their suppression of their own population. So you can’t just target their nuclear head…


Bob Sellers: It has to be all of them.


Alireza Jafarzadeh: You have to target all of them.


Bob Sellers: What does the US need to do?


Alireza Jafarzadeh: The US needs to pursue a policy of regime change. You had General Tom McInerney and General Paul Vallely who suggested earlier, that US should pursue a policy of regime change, short of sending troops, short of military strikes, but by heavily relying on the Iranian opposition, those forces on the ground who want to bring about change. That is the only way you can address the threat of this big dragon there.


Bob Sellers: All right, Alireza Jafarzadeh. Thank you very much sir.


Alireza Jafarzadeh: Thank you Bob; Always a pleasure.

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