Analysis: Iran, 'a very serious threat'
UPI, February 14, 2007 (By Claud Salhani)
WASHINGTON, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- Iran today poses a five-pronged threat, warned the man who first blew the whistle on the Islamic republic's nuclear program.
Iran is "a very, very serious threat to the free world," said Alireza Jafarzadeh, who outlines the dangers posed by the Islamic republic, as he sees them, in his new book, "The Iran Threat: President Ahmadinejad and the Coming Nuclear Crisis."
"Iran wants to extend its influence beyond its borders," said Jafarzadeh.
"The agenda of Ayatollah Khomeini was to establish global Islamic rule, to expand Iran's influence beyond the Iranian borders. They want to deliver Jerusalem via Karbala, meaning to turn Iraq into an Islamic republic and from there use it as a springboard to spread their revolution to other countries in the area," he said.
The author, who is close to the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, was the first person to reveal the Islamic republic's secret nuclear processing sites at Natanz and Arak.
On Iran's role in Iraq, Jafarzadeh wrote: "The problem in Iraq is neither a civil nor a sectarian war. The main threat to Iraq is neither al-Qaida nor the Sunni insurgents -- they both are cause for major problems, but neither can take the whole future of Iraq as a hostage. Rather, Iraq is now a battleground for the clash of two alternatives: Islamic extremist opinion which gets its orders from Tehran and seeks to establish an Islamic republic in Iraq, and a democratic alternative seeking a pluralistic democracy in the country. The former seeks sectarian violence and fans the flames of civil war while the latter seeks to ease tension, provide security and stability and establish democratic institutions."
Outlining those threats, Jafarzadeh, an Iranian exile who lives in Washington, underlined the five prongs followed by the regime in Tehran.
First: Iran wants to pursue its nuclear program, come what may. Iran is cognizant of the facts possession of nuclear weapons puts it in a different category altogether. The regime in Tehran believes that nuclear weapons will offer it protection from a potential invasion by the United States. Indeed, Washington is likely to think twice about waging war on a country that is armed with nuclear weapons.
Second: Iran's meddling in Iraq. Since the start of the Iranian revolution in 1979, Khomeini wanted to export the Islamic revolution to neighboring countries, particularly Iraq, Bahrain and Kuwait, who have important Shiite minorities. But try as they did, Iran's mullahs were unsuccessful until the fall of Saddam Hussein.
The American invasion of Iraq in 2003 offered the Iranians a unique opportunity to intervene in Iraq's internal affairs. Immediately after the fall of Baghdad to the U.S.-led coalition, Iranian Revolutionary Guards profited from the fact that Iraq's 900-mile border with Iran was largely unguarded as the Iraqi army was, first, on the retreat, and, second, disbanded by order of the U.S. administrator of Iraq. Iranian forces therefore immediately began to cross into Iraq and began supporting anti-American and anti-coalition forces. Iranian agents started training Iraqis in insurgency tactics and, according to several sources, Iran has provided training, financing and explosives and weapons to the insurgency.
Third: Iran's support of international terrorism. The United States accuses the Tehran regime of supporting terrorist groups, or groups considered to be terrorists by the United States. Iran, says Jafarzadeh, poses a serious threat to the world by its support of terrorism. The Islamic republic has long been a supporter of groups such as Lebanon's Hezbollah, or the Islamic resistance movement in the Palestinian territories, better known as Hamas.
Fourth: Iran continues to oppose the Middle East peace process. However, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad does nothing to encourage peace in the Middle East with his repeated claims that "Israel should be wiped off the map," and persists with his insistence that the "Holocaust never happened.
Needless to say, this has raised concern, not only in Israel, but in the United States and Western countries that a nuclear-armed Iran will only make matters worse.
Jafarzadeh writes: For 27 years, the Iranian regime has voiced its hatred of the United States and the West, and for the same number of years attempts have been made to change the regime's behavior through external pressures, threats, negotiations and appeasement. All these attempts have the failed, and as the Iranian regime accelerates its push for a nuclear arsenal, the world no longer has the luxury of waiting for Tehran to turn itself around and shed its medieval mindset. The Iranian regime was not budged from its original theme of hating the West and working to export its Islamic revolution.
"Ignoring this will only further step up Tehran's rush to the bomb," Jafarzadeh said.
And five: The way Iran treats its own citizens. The mistreatment of women, abuse of human rights, censorship and executions continue to preoccupy human rights groups and Iranians struggling and hoping to see democracy blossom in their country.