Iran's Meddling in Iraq
Source, February 12, 2007
Jon Scott: Powerful roadside bombs responsible for killing more than a 170 coalition troops in Iraq: theyíre known as explosively formed penetrators or EFPís. US intelligence says the deadly weapons are coming in form Iran. If so, what can, or what should, the United States do about it? Joining us now, the author of The Iran Threat: President Ahmadinejad and the Coming Nuclear Crisis. The author, Alireza Jafarzadeh; he is also a Fox News Foreign Affairs Analyst. Alireza, the United States trotted out these EFPís over the weekend, says thereís no doubt theyíre coming from Iran. Iran fires back with a public relations salvo of its own, says the United States manufactured that evidence. How do you prove it?
Alireza Jafarzadeh: Well itís very clear that no one would believe Tehranís denial. They denied their nuclear program for 18 years until it was uncovered by Iranís main opposition, then the IAEA went and actually looked at it. Weíre talking about very advanced, sophisticated weapons that cannot be built in a bicycle shop. Iran is the only country that can produce it. This advanced weaponry is being built in a suburb of Tehran known as Lavizan. This is a very secure area that is by the defense industry organization which is actually controlled by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, and in this facility, which is near a number of other nuclear sites which are very secure. Those advanced weaponry, EFPís, are produced here, and ordered by the Iranian Revolutionary Guardsí most deadly force, known as the Qods force. Then these weapons are transferred across the border line from three different axes, especially from the border crossing into Iraq, provided to Iranís proxy groups, and used against American forces. Some 170 American troops have been killed as a result of this; more than six hundred have been injured. Iran has stepped up sending this weaponry: more than twice before over the past one year.
Jon Scott: President Bush has said he will not tolerate any country supplying arms that kill Americans. What are our choices? What do we do about it?
Alireza Jafarzadeh: I think the evidence is all there. Therefore the United States need to pursue a very decisive policy. The first thing you want to do, you want to close the borders, because these bombs are coming across the border. You want to arrest the agents of the Iranian regime. We know a lot of the agents are running around, roaming the streets of Baghdad. A number of them were already arrested. They need to be held responsible; they should not be released and sent back to Iran. And then the third thing is that you want to empower the more moderate voices in Iraq as opposed to Tehranís proxy groups that are being funded and trained by the Iranian regime. You may use the Iranian opposition known as the MEK in Camp Ashraf, who have built a very good relationship with the Iraqi population, both Sunnis and Shiites, sending a strong signal to the Iranian regime, that its activities are not tolerated. I think the Unites States need to beat the Iranian regime at its own game by empowering the Iranian opposition, both inside Iraq and inside Iran.
Jon Scott: The White House says there is no plan on the table for any kind of attack on Iran. Some say that if you do decide to attack Iran militarily, you only wind up bringing the population to support Ahmadinejad and the mullahs.
Alireza Jafarzadeh: Well even though I donít think there is anything that could really rally the population behind Ahmadinejad, I do think the military option is not a viable option; we donít need to go through that route. Why, because there is a tremendous opposition among the Iranian population, against the regime and against Ahmadinejad. There is a very powerful oppositionÖ
Jon Scott: You say stoke that opposition, support them, let them do the work.
Alireza Jafarzadeh: Absolutely, and I see a lot of voices coming from Congress expressing skepticism. I think they should be very careful, that just because the intelligence regarding Iraq was faulty, that doesnít mean we should allow the Iranian regime to get a free ride and proceed with its bombings in Iraq, proceed with its nuclear weapons program. We need to be very vigilant, short of military action, supporting the Iranian opposition who are already involved in trying to unseed the Ayatollahs.
Jon Scott: Alireza Jafarzadeh, thank you very much, good to talk to you.
Alireza Jafarzadeh: Thank you.