Iran and the Middle East
C-SPAN, February 3, 2007
Host: Alireza Jafarzadeh, what role, if any, does Iran have in the Middle East?
Alireza Jafarzadeh: Well, the Iranian regime is the biggest threat to the outside world as far as the Middle East is concerned. They have an agenda which is establishing a global Islamic rule starting with the countries in the region. They have a very advanced, sophisticated nuclear weapons program and they are supporting terrorist groups there as well as suppressing their own population. So we are talking about a multi-faceted threat.
Host: Particularly, is Iraq an example of that?
Alireza Jafarzadeh: Iraq is certainly the best example of the kind of agenda that Tehran has for its neighboring countries. Obviously Iraq has the most fertile ground for what they call exporting a revolution to Islamic countries because 60% of the population in Iraq are Shiite, 6 of the most holy sites of Shiites are in Iraq, there are some 800 miles of common border between Iran and Iraq and the mullahs who are now ruling in Iran stayed in Najaf in theological schools for many years so they know the whole country.
Thatís why the information Iíve been getting from my sources inside Iran for the past few weeks suggest that Iran has stepped its activities in terms of sending arms explosives weapons, agents, trying to stir up the situation, escalate the violence, to force Americans so that they can fill the vacuum and establish a sister Islamic republic in Iraq.
Host: The National Intelligence Estimates came out recently and talked about Iran and its quoted in portion in this mornings paper, it says that ďIran,Ē it says ďalong with al Qaeda and other extremist groups were called an accelerant whose activities actually intensify conflict but Iran and Iraqís other neighbors,Ē it said ďare not likely to be a major driver of violence, but the prospects for stability because of the self-sustaining characteristics of Iraqís internal secular dynamics,Ē How would you respond to that?
Alireza Jafarzadeh: Well obviously when it comes the Iraqi, I agree that the vast majority of the Iraqi population are very secular, especially the Shiite population, they donít like the dominance of the Iranian regime, thatís one part of the reality. The other part of the reality is that the Iranian regime has had a free hand in the past three, four years since the fall of Baghdad and they have has these groups that they helped create or fund or train in Iran for about twenty years. The Badr Organization, the Badr Corp was part of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, which is now in Iraq dominating the security apparatus having its own parallel organizations, running death squads in Iraq. You have this Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq that was formed in Iran and then they took over positions after the fall of Baghdad, thatís the problem that weíre facing in Iraq. The more moderate voices in Iraq do not have the organization, the structure to operate. They are often intimidated, threatened, their members are being killed by these death squads, many Shiites are being targeted by these pro Tehran Shiite groups and militias, and thatís why if we want to really understand and allow the true secular sentiment of the Iraqi people to flourish we need to curb the influence of the Iranian regime, the violent intervention of the Iranian regime to allow democracy to flourish in Iraq.
Host: How is that done?
Very simple I think because you have the Iranian
agents running around being arrested, they need to
be held responsible for that you need to close the
borders between Iran and Iraq. Itís wide open.
Thereíre are 70 different passages that are shown in
this diagram that Iran is using to send agents and
sneak in explosive arms and weaponry into the
country especially in the southern part of Iraq.
This could easily be stopped if you have the
willingness to do that, then you send a very strong
signal to Tehran, that weíre not going to tolerate
your activities, your operations there, the other
way to do it is to support and allow freedom for the
main Iranian opposition that has bases in northern
parts of Iraq in Ashraf, which has built a very good
relationship with the Iraqi population. With the
more moderate secular voices in Iraq, both the
Shiite and Sunnis, you need to form a coalition of
anti extremist, anti-fundamentalists Iraqis and
strengthen their position so that they can stand up
against the more extremist militias, supported by
Host: Is Malakiís government capable of doing that?
َAlireza Jafarzadeh: To tell you, Honestly I donít think so because he would be if his administration is purged of pro Tehran elements, of elements whose main mission is not an Iraqi-mission, rather itís pursuing the objective so of the Iranian regime. You have people who have been living in Iran for twenty trained by them funded by them. We now have people in the Iraqi government, who are still on the payroll of the Iranian regime and the Jerusalem force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. You cannot have an independent Iraqi government when Tehran is funding some of the elements within that government. When Tehran has very close ties and supports elements within the military, within the police, within the interior ministry, within the intelligence ministry
Host: Specifically what elements?
Alireza Jafarzadeh: These are elements; there was a list Thirty two thousand agents of Tehran. These are Iraqis who have been on the payroll of Tehran for the past decade or so and they continue to be on the payroll of Tehran and they are now holding key positions within Iraqi government. There are people in the Iraqi Government, the Iraqi parliament who are getting their orders from Iran. Every serious meeting that is held within the Iraqi government within 24 hours, a report of that meeting is on the desk of top officials in Tehran. This is not the way to run an independent country.
Host: Our guest has written this book, The Iran Threat, heís also one of his past careers, was the media spokesperson on congressional liaison for the National Council of Resistance of Iran, you want to talk to him about Iranís role in the Middle East the numbers will be on your screen. Lexington, Kentucky, good morning, youíre first for our guests
Caller Lexington Kentucky: I just have two main questions. Number one it seems as if the countries have been replaced now, with from Iraq to Iran, saying that they support terrorism, they support Iran and five or six years ago it was Iraq in terms of some of the things youíre speaking of. Thatís number one number two in terms of the agents and things being on the payroll of Iran, I was wondering does this also occur with the United States with some people being on the payroll of the United States, and being in key cabinet positions, key military positions, and federal reports being posted on the United States desk or whatever other countries that are out there, in terms of whatís going on inside the country? Hasnít many countries that exploited in Iraq been on Americaís payroll?
Alireza Jafarzadeh: Very good questions. I think we should not mistake Iraq for Iran. It is true that in the past there were fake intelligence reports about weapons of mass destruction some people might have an agenda to focus on Iraq on perhaps false foundations, but when it comes to Iran weíre not talking about that. Itís really an underestimate of what Iranian regime is doing. When we talk about the nuclear sites in Iran, weíre not just talking about imaginary things in fact I was the one in August 2002 that revealed the major nuclear sites in Natanz and Arak and when the IAEA managed to go to Iran for the first time they inspected the site in Natanz and the found centrifuge machines there, they found the facility when they went to Arak where the heavy water facility is in Iran they found the operation going, they found the heavy water plant when I revealed the nuclear site in Nashagartaab thanks to the sources within Iran the main opposition the National Council of Resistance they found equipment that does laser enrichment and they have found a number of other site that the information was provided and that was proven accurate so we cannot really compare these twos. Second in terms of sponsorship Iím not just talking about providing arms and money.
The point is that Iranís agenda for Iraq is an ominous agenda. They want to establish a global Islamic rule, they want to export a revolution- this was the whole idea before he continuation of the Iran - Iraq war for eight years. The Ayatollahs wanted what they called liberating Jerusalem via Karbala they wanted to takeover Iraq and then expand to the other countries in the region. And weíre not talking about a benign agenda weíre talking about a very repressive regime that is killing its own population, its very restrictive on women, its very intolerant against other religions. Even the Shiite in Iran who are opposed to the Iranian regime are being killed and murdered. The vast majority of those being killed are the Shiites themselves, so you doní want that to spill to the other countries in the region
Host: Michigan go ahead
Caller Michigan: Hello my name is Thomas I believe they should think out of the box. Why donít they just draw a line and make a deal with both countries to give us enough free oil until our national debt is back to zero, weíll give you those countries? Why are they worried it? Theyíre obviously not worried about themselves. So why donít they do a tradeoff and think out of the box. Draw an imaginary line right through the country and give the north to Iran and the other one to Syria. Or a hundred mile no manís land zone.
Well I wish it would work that easily. The Iranian
Ayatollahs they have an agenda, theyíre not going to
stop. If you provide them with anything it would
further make them more eager and more belligerent.
Their agenda is not going to stop in Iraq or within
their own borders and they have made that clear.
Amadinejad has made it very clear that what his
agenda is for the region and the rest of the world.
Host: Defense Secretary Robert Gates said when it comes to Iran they said, he was quoted as ďthe diplomatic process is working I think thatís where weíre relyingĒ he said this yesterday along with the conference with General Peter Pace
Alireza Jafarzadeh: Well I think this came in the background in a lot of a reports in the past few weeks. I should say that there were speculations that there will be attacks, military strikes, and a military option is in play regarding Iran and I think Mr. Gates wanted to make it very clear that as far as the United States is concerned they are doing everything possible within the boundaries of the United Nations and the United Nations Security Council. There is a resolution right now on the table that is expiring on the 21st of February. By then, Iran has to comply with the demands of the Security Council. I think thatís where weíre focusing right now. And then if Iran violates that which I suppose is going to happen, and then other measures should be followed up internationally by the Security Council and by the other nations.
Host: What happens after the 21st?
Alireza Jafarzadeh: Well I suspect that Iran is not going to comply, then other measures could be taken, the Security Council members are going to meet again to come up with the next step within the resolution, it could be binding sanctions on Iran a range of sanctions from diplomatic to oil, arms and technological sanctions - way beyond what is already is in place.
Host: Does it hurt the country if all those sanctions were in place?
Alireza Jafarzadeh: It does hurt the regime because the Iranian regimes economy is in shambles; they need the interaction with the international community. Also it sends, a very strong signal politically, to the Iranian regime, that weíre not going to put up with your defiance. It sends a strong signal to the Iranian people who are very defiant, especially the younger generation of Iran who are very defiant against the Iranian regime, when Amadinejad spoke at the University of Tehran just last month, the students called him a dictator and basically pushed him out of the student hall. They were risking their lives in doing that, there were some 4000 anti government demonstrations in Iran in the past year, from the oil rich province of Khosistan down south to the Kurdish region, northwest province of Azerbaijan to Tehran the capital. So you need to send that signal to the Iranian people, you need to show support for the Iranian people, to further encourage them.
Denver Colorado, youíre next.
Caller Denver Colorado: Good morning and thank you for taking my call. I wanted to congratulate Mr. Jafarzadeh on his amazing work. I started just reading his book and I enjoyed that and recommended it many of my friends. My question is that often times, as now the destructive role of Iran has become very clear and now reported. Often times we hear from both sides of the aisle that there has to be a regional conference and Iran needs to be invited and attend this conference to discuss the stability situation in Iraq. As if Tehran benefits from a stable Iraq. My question to Mr. Jafarzadeh is that really the case? Does Iran really benefit form Iraq being stable? And if not why do some people promote that or at least bring that idea up? What is it that they lack in their information that they think that Tehran would benefit from a stable Iraq. Thank you for taking my call.
Alireza Jafarzadeh: thank you caller from Denver, a great question. I think based on all the information that I have, based on the past three and a half years of Tehranís activities, the Iranian regimeís interests is not a stable Iraq. The Iranian regime has every interest in the world to further destabilize Iraq because that would pave the way for forcing Americans and the coalition forces out of Iraq, creating the opportunity for total dominance of the country by the Iranian regime because they are the ones who have all the strings to pull as far is Iraq is concerned. Thatís why they are sending explosives and arms, thatís why they are sending the most sophisticated explosively formed projectiles and IEDs to Iraq to kill Americans to kill the British forces. Thatís why they are funding a huge network of their supporters in Iraq that are involved in rabble rousing, creating chaos there, escalating violence. So this is absolutely a false notion to suggest that Iran has an interest in a stable Iraq. Now why do they raise this? I donít know? Perhaps some of the people who raise these issues have an interest to pave the way for rapprochement with Tehran. Maybe itís because of ignorance, or a combination of the two.
Host: Good morning youíre on with our guest Alireza Jafarzadeh
Caller: Good morning, a fellow named Plato a while back said only the dead have seen the end of war and I think weíre moving towards a confrontation with Iran because of their supplying the Iraqis and I think the only time thereís going to be peace on this earth is if we find another planet to fight with. Thank you very much.
Caller: Yes sir Iím calling to ask, do you believe that it is inevitable that eventually the United States will go into Iran and deal with this situation?
Alireza Jafarzadeh: Well thatís a very good question. Thereís a lot of speculation about this in Washington and other capitals. I think thereís no need to do that. Weíre not really limited to negotiations and diplomatic options on one side and very infeasible and unviable military option on the other side. I think there is a third option that is something that is the most viable and hasnít been tried. The third option is to reach out to the Iranian people, Reach out to the Iranian opposition. Provide them with the opportunity that they have been asking for, that they have been fighting for. There is a huge desire inside the country for change as I mentioned there is an organized opposition with a very democratic platform they have been calling for regime change, they have been doing everything for the past twenty seven years. One hundred twenty thousand members of those supporters of that movement have been killed by the Iranian regime showing how much they are dedicated to this cause so what the United States needs to do is to remove any and all obstacles imposed on the main Iranian opposition, allow them to operate full fledged in their full capacity combined with the desire of the Iranian population, especially the younger generation. That will take place, thatís enough for bringing down the Ayatollahs.
Host: When you talk about change specifically, in what realms, is it economic change, is it change participating more in their political system?
Alireza Jafarzadeh: I think we need to see change in terms of policy in Washington; Iíll tell you honestly, Washingtonís policy has not been a decisive policy because when you have the State Department that under 8 years under the presidency of Khattami calling him a moderate, trying to offer road maps to negotiate with Khatami thinking that heís going to bring about changed and then we realize after eight years of his presidency that during his time the nuclear weapons program was developed so fast all the nuclear sites that weíre now talking about were built under the presidency of Khatamiís. Now we have Amadinejad, the more radical element at the helm, yet the State Department has not given up, they keep trying to make rapprochement with Tehran. What they did during Khatamiís time was, they put the main Iranian opposition, who was responsible for a lot of the information on revelations on the terrorist list, thinking that this will help improve relations with Tehran. That has totally backfired; this has angered members of Congress who are saying, ďThis is not the right policy. The right policy is to be tough on the regime and be supportive of the opposition.Ē this is not what weíre seeing now in terms of the state department. We need to see a change in policy of the State Department
Host: Georgia, go ahead.
Caller: Hi, how you doing? The bible says that there will be wars and rumors of wars. This thing right here that yíall talking about Iran, is a rumor. The United States is not going to attack Iran and if you are so concerned with Iran why donít you get your duffle bag and a rifle and why donít you go there. Seventy percent of our troops are tired of being there. This administration when the democrats came into office, what did they do? The talked about thirty thousand more troops. The real issue was bringing our troops home so now to change the subject we need to more troops so we can continue to talk about troops. Here in this country we have medical facilities making that are recreating the small pox and the flu epidemic that killed over a millions of people three hundred years ago. Some of that stuff was shipped into our laboratories that were stocked. That is more of a threat to our country than worrying about a country that wants to develop nuclear power for 125 million people that they cannot control
Alireza Jafarzadeh: Well thereís a point in the callersí talk that thereís no need for the American military to get involved, thereís no need to send troops to Iran and I agree. The Iranian people are not asking for the United States to liberate their country for them. Theyíre not even asking for money, they are not asking for arms. All they are saying is that we are already dedicated in overthrowing the Iranian regime, there are demonstrations, there are protests all over the country. What the United States needs to do is to stay neutral and stop hindering the efforts of the Iranian opposition whoís trying to replace the Iranian regime with a democratic system.
Host: Does Iran have a power plant? A nuclear power plant?
Alireza Jafarzadeh: They donít but they are using that as a cover. There is a power plant being built down south in Busher, supposedly for peaceful purposes and this nuclear power plant has been going on for about twenty years. The Russians are helping Iran to build it. Has acted as a rationale, as a cover for the Iranian regimeís nuclear program because they have this uranium enrichment facility in Natanz. They say we want this nuclear facility because we want to create fuel for the power plant the problem is that once the Iranian regime has the ability to create enriched uranium to peaceful levels which is 3 and a half percent, four percent then they are only a screwdrivers turn away from further enriching to over 80 or 90 percent that is good for building a bomb.
Host: Two more calls
Dallas, Texas go ahead.
Caller: Yes my name is Reza, Iím calling from Dallas. I would like to ask Mr. Jafarzadeh why do you think the regime of Iran is trying to get the nuclear bomb? We know for sure that the regime wants to get the nuclear bomb and II just want to know why. Thank you.
Alireza Jafarzadeh: Very good question, the Iranian regime is extremely vulnerable domestically, itís a very weak regime and very much afraid of its own population. The way to make up for it is to export their crisis beyond the Iranian borders and follow the global agenda of establishing an Islamic rule, a global Islamic rule. One way to do it is to turn Iraq into an Islamic Republic and the other way is to have the bomb, the nuclear bomb. These two would give Iran tremendous capability for furthering their global agenda. So itís a necessary part of their global agenda but itís something that would help them survive domestically.
Host: Last call is Trenton, New Jersey
Caller: Yes I have a few questions Iíd like to ask your guest to answer them categorically if he could. The first one is you seem to have a pro Israel view. Have you or your publishers taken any financial funds from Israel or its agents? Secondly, Iran is a major opposition to Israeli Zionist land grabbing in the Middle East, Iíd like for you to comment on that. Israelís blackmailing Arab countries with its contraband nuclear weapons, true or false? And if Iran is not permitted to have nuclear weapons then why is Israel permitted to have its contraband nuclear weapons system?
Alireza Jafarzadeh: Well first of all Iím not pro Israel nor is the publisher. This has nothing to do with that. If you read the book, you will find out that the book is focused on the threat coming from the Iranian regime based on facts, specific facts when it comes to their nuclear weapons program, when it comes to their terrorism, and when it comes to what the Iranian regime is doing intervening in Iraq. Iím not favoring proliferation anywhere in the world, including the Middle East. Anyone who opposes the Iranian regime cannot be branded as pro Israel simply because Israel is opposed to the Iranian regimeís nuclear weapons program. Thatís a very simplistic comparison.
Host: The book is called The Iran Threat; its author is Alireza Jafarzadeh. Thank you for your time sir.
Alireza Jafarzadeh: Thank you very much.