Showdown With Iran: Where Is It Headed?
CNN May 24, 2007
Kiran Chetry: Well, the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog agency says Iran is not only ignoring calls to halt its nuclear work, but actually increasing its activities. That report comes as an American armada flexes its military muscle. There you see it, a show of force in the Persian Gulf. And Iran detains yet another American scholar. So where is all of this headed? Alireza Jafarzadeh is a leading authority on Iran and its nuclear ambitions. He's the author of "The Iran Threat: President Ahmadinejad and the Coming Nuclear Crisis." And he joins me this morning.
Great to see you, Alireza.
Alireza Jafarzadeh: Great to be here, Kiran.
Kiran Chetry: We talked about the new report and we talked about pressing ahead for new sanctions. It seems we've talked about this so often in the past. Will this work, sanctions?
Well, sanctions will work out if we tighten the
sanctions. That would include arms, oil, technological
and diplomatic sanctions. We need to step up the
pressure. But also we need to make this parallel with
political pressure inside Iran where it really counts
because the Iranian regime's main Achilles heel is its
internal situation. There's a lot of opposition going on
inside the country, both among the women, the students,
the workers, the teachers. There are one million
teachers who have been on strike for the past few weeks.
There were some 4,000 anti-government demonstrations in
Iran over the past one year. That's where we really need
to focus it, absolutely.
Kiran Chetry: How close are they to developing a nuclear weapon?
Alireza Jafarzadeh: Well, the information I've been getting from my sources inside Iran, and these are the sources that have been proven accurate in the past, suggest that if things go undeterred, Iran is anywhere between one to three years away from actually having developed a nuclear bomb. And their program is very advanced. They also have the means to deliver the weapon. They have advanced missiles, the Shahab-3 and Shahab-4. They're working on Shahab-4. And there's a new missile, the Ghadar-101, that would allow the Iran regime to deliver it.
Kiran Chetry: If that is the case, why are we still talking sanctions in the United Nations? It would seem that that would be a much bigger problem.
Alireza Jafarzadeh: It is a much bigger problem because the Iranian threat is not just limited to its nuclear weapons program. It deals with the terrorism of the Iran regime, thus threatening the whole region. Its involvement in the region, in Iraq, in the most violent way.
Kiran Chetry: In fact, we have new information. Our U.S. military is saying that Iranian intelligent is funding Sunni terrorist and they have the intel proving that. How deep are they in it with Iraq?
Alireza Jafarzadeh: Well, Kiran, that very much corroborates with the information I've been getting myself from my own sources. The information I've been getting is that Iran has been stepping up its pressure in Iraq, sending arms explosives. The most advanced roadside bombs, known as the EFPs, that has the ability to penetrate through the armor, are actually built in Iran. I have the exact information where they are building them in Tehran by the most elite unit within the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, known as the Quds Force, sending them across the border, providing them to the pro-Tehran proxy groups. Now included among those groups are the Sunnis. Tehran believes that anyone who can help the Iranian regime, stepping up violence against the United States, that could help pushing the Americans out of the country, that would pave the away for an establishment of an Islamic republic in Iraq. That serves Tehran's purpose.
Kiran Chetry: Alireza Jafarzadeh is the author of "The Iran Threat." It looks like we still have a lot of work to do. Thank you.
Alireza Jafarzadeh: Thank you very much. It's been a pleasure.