Fox Business, December 28, 2009
Foreign Affairs Analyst and Iran Expert
(Click on the image to watch the the clip)
David Asman: Violent protest in Iran claiming the lives of at least 8 people, us in the past couple of days. Among the dead, the nephew of former presidential candidate, Hussein Moussavi, who was killed when Police opened fire on Sunday. With Iranian protestors dying in their request with freedom and with the regime ever close with harnessing Nuclear Weapons, is president Barrack Obama doing and saying and up to encourage those who would change this dangerous regime from within.
“President Obama: We called upon the Iranian government to obey by the international obligations that it has to respect the rights of its own people.”
David Asman: From Washington we welcome the heritage foundation, Nile Gardiner and Fox New foreign affairs analyst Alireza Jafarzadeh.
Gentlemen good to see you. So Alireza first on president what he said was a shout out to the protestors enough today?
Alireza Jafarzadeh: Well it certainly not enough and it certainly is long overdue, this is something in much stronger that should have been said way back earlier this year, and specifically in June when the uprising mounted, when Neda the young women that fell, and the whole world watched her dying before the camera and so many other people got killed and we did not hear the kind of sympathy that the people of Iran deserve, instead it was reaching out to the leaders of Tehran, the killers of these people, the supreme leader Khamenei, and the president Ahmadinejad, I think the Obama administration should make a quick turnaround in its policy and reach out to the people rather than repressive rulers.
David Asman: Well Neil, you know that when the French sound tougher than the US, we are in trouble, you know? And the French and other Europeans and that’s exactly what happened this summer. Is president Obama at least trying to turn that around with his speech, his Nobel Prize and what we heard today?
Nile Gardiner: Well that’s a good point, we seen tougher rhetoric coming from the French and the Germans as appose to the rhetoric coming from Washington with regard to the situation in Iran and that’s really a humiliation for the US, as a global power, certainly Barrack Obama at his speech is Oslo made some strong words about standing up to evil, however there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever, that Barrack Obama is willing to do what is necessary to actually stand up to Evil in Iran.
David Asman: Let’s hear that part of the speech of the Nobel Prize committee that you were talking about, let’s play that and I was Alireza to respond.
“President Obama: A non violent movement could not have halted Hitler’s armies. Negotiations can not convince Al-qaidas leaders to lay down their arms. To say that force may sometimes may be necessary is not a call to cynicisms, it’s a recognition of history, the imperfections of man and the limits of reason.”
David Asman: And you know Alireza, he didn’t mention there the cold war, but in fact Ronald Reagan made it a policy to win the cold war, and he won it by doing two things; One, building up their own defenses here in the US, but also by defending and supporting the dissident movements everywhere around the world that we’re fighting this regime, weather it was the contras in the Nicaragua militarily or a solidarity helping them out in terms of financial support. I don’t see any of that going on in Iran today.
Alireza Jafarzadeh: That’s absolutely true, David, because in Iran you see a huge portion of the population that turn out in the streets of Tehran, in millions, chanting slogans against the dictatorship. This is clearly a revolution in the making already. This is the beginning of the end of the Iranian regime, yet the Western countries, yet the United States is standing on the sidelines not reaching out to the Iranian population.
David Asman: [Well] Alireza, I clearly believe that the Cold War strategy is the strategy that could be used here, but how do you do it delicately? I mean, even though Ronald Reagan publically was very open about his support for solidarity with anti-Soviet movements, he did it delicately, the CIA did it delicately. How do we do it now without giving too much information?
Alireza Jafarzadeh: Well, you know, it’s not that complicated. These people don’t need money, arms, they don’t need communication systems; it’s already there. To the contrary, the State Department, the US administration, has been trying to harm the opposition by blacklisting them as terrorists. Those who stand up against the regime, they say, “OK, you are too violent for the standards.” and label them as terrorists as a goodwill gesture to Tehran, thinking that by attacking the opposition you can win the support of the Iranian regime to abandon its nuclear weapons. It has made things worse. So, it’s very simple: make sure no Iranian opposition groups are on the terrorist list, and then you sympathize with the Iranians who stand up against the Iranian regime, you invite their leaders to the White House, the United States, and you make every single statement that is necessary to condemn the Iranian regime’s attacks, and to sympathize with the families. You know there are so many people that have been killed. Before June of this year as many as one hundred thousand political prisoners have been murdered by the Iranian regime. Just in the summer of ’88, 30,000 Iranian political prisoners were murdered by the Iranian regime, mostly belonging to the main opposition, the PMOI. No statement was issued [by the White House].
David Asman: We know how brutal this regime is. It is awful, and the world will be better off when it ends. But the question is how do you do it. One way you don’t do it, Neil, is by sending a White House envoy, John Kerry, Senator John Kerry to Tehran at this particular moment, which actually is being considered John Kerry’s administration. They were quoted last week as saying – in fact, one administration official said, “This sounds like just the kind of travel a chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee [which Senator Kerry is] would and should undertake.” Sounds like the wrong strategy to me Nile.
Nile Gardiner: Well it strikes me as a completely crazy idea, actually. I didn’t see how a visit by John Kerry to Iran is gonna benefit a US interest. Frankly it’s just another step in the continuing appeasement of a barbaric regime. It would be like sending an envoy to negotiate with the Nazis.
I think that we need to have a complete reassessment of the whole strategy towards Iran. We need to see an end to the negotiations strategies here, which has been a complete and utter failure. Barrack Obama has basically adopted the EU common foreign policy towards Tehran, which is a policy of appeasement actually towards the Iranian regime and so far that has reaped no dividends whatsoever.
We need to be looking at strengthening the sanctions regime against Tehran. We need to be increasing our own missile defenses; we also need to be talking about the potential use of force against Tehran. This regime poses a deadly threat to international security.
David Asman: Well a great place to begin with would be to what Alireza said bringing the dissidents into the White House. That would be a tremendous effort and using the bully pulp of the White House the way it should be used.