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Showdown With Iran: Where Is It Headed? (CNN)

May 24, 2007 at 06:28 PM


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?
Alireza Jafarzadeh: 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.

Iran Nukes (CNN Headline News)
Feb 22, 2007 at 12:00 AM
Glenn Beck: All right. The deadline for Iran to halt their nuclear program has come and gone again. The report released today said it can`t guarantee it`s strictly for peaceful purposes. You think so?
President Ahmadinejad isn`t listening to U.N.`s tough talk. What a shock that is. While the White House called the report`s findings, quote, "disappointing," the reality is that Iran is a child that needs a spanking. Only, the U.N. is the parent who keeps threatening one but never gives it. Sanctions against Iran will only work if they`re supported by the entire world`s force. And it seems that President Bush might agree, because a second aircraft carrier with its full battle group has parked itself in Iran`s backyard. If you think that`s an overreaction, listen to what Ahmadinejad said yesterday. Quote, "Iran will not retreat one iota in its path to nuclear victory                                                                                    

Now, Alireza Jafarzadeh is the author of "The Iran Threat".

Alireza, the deadline has passed. And now we`re looking at sanctions? Now the U.N. is trying to decide what we should punish them with?

Alireza Jafarzadeh: I think the U.N. should have been prepared for this long ago. They should not even have wasted a day coming up with much tougher measures.



The sanctions should include oil, arms, technological and diplomatic sanctions. Because if it`s meaningful, it`s going to hurt the Iranian regime, not only economically but also by sending a strong signal politically to the Iranian regime that the international community is going to be tough on them. But also to the Iranian people that the international community is going to be supportive of their efforts to unseat the ayatollahs.


Glenn Beck: You know, I have to tell you. I am -- war is the worst possible option with Iran. Sanctions are not going to work, because we`ve got the U.N. there. We`ve got to appeal to the people. And I read a disturbing report this week that we were actually considering, and I hope we haven`t done this -- maybe you can verify -- turning over people that are against the regime in exchange for terrorists. Is that true?


Alireza Jafarzadeh: Well, unfortunately, Glenn, this is what the State Department has been doing for the past, at least since 1997 when Khateimi took office, remember, the so-called moderate president.

Glenn Beck: Right.

Alireza Jafarzadeh: The State Department was trying to reach out to the Iranian regime, thinking that this way, by sacrificing the main Iranian opposition, they can, you know, modify the behavior of the Iranian regime. They included the main opposition, known as the Mojahedin-e Khalq on the terrorist list in 1997. And then it further emboldened the Iranian regime. This is the same opposition that exposed all the major nuclear sites of Iran.
And in 2003, there were major efforts by the Iranian regime to get the United States to get the forces of the Mojahedin based in Iraq north of Baghdad, to turn them over to Iranian regime in exchange for Iran`s, you know, passive actions in Iraq. You know, that clearly is going to backfire if it`s ever considered.
Right now the U.S. military is building a very, very good relationship with this opposition in Iraq. There are many people in the Congress from both sides of the aisle who were saying we`ve got to end the designation, the terrorist designation that the State Department put on this group in 1997, because the Iranian regime is making threats that are real. We need to reach out to the Iranian people and to the main opposition to strengthen it, not hinder it.

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