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  ..[ ].. > > ( ) ( Department of General military subjec
 


Iranian Regime's Clenched Fist

( ) ( Department of General military subjec


 

27-08-09, 09:33 PM

  : 1

Iranian Regime's Clenched Fist



 

Iranian Regime's Clenched Fist




WASHINGTON, D.C. Irans post-election crisis has further complicated the United States strategy of freezing Irans nuclear weapons program, which is why Washington must be prepared for a nuclear Iran. The Heritage Foundation, a conservative (right-wing) think tank based in Washington, D.C., hosted an event titled Irans Nuclear Threat: The Day After with the following panel of experts: Kenneth Katzman, Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs, Congressional Research Service; Ilan Berman, Vice President for Policy, American Foreign Policy Council; and James Phillips, Senior Research Fellow for Middle Eastern Affairs, The Heritage Foundation. According to Mr. Phillips, Iran could be as close to a year now in reaching nuclear capability, therefore President Obama should rally for increased sanctions on Irans regime and heavily pressure Tehran to unclench its fist.

RESPONSE TO MAINSTREAM MEDIA COVERAGE

The discussion began with a crucial reaction to mainstream media outlets, i.e. CNN, that have been covering and reporting on the reform movement in Iran. According to Mr. Katzman, who was speaking on personal capacity (not reflecting any committee or member of Congress), the press reports of major rifts in the regime being new are incorrect because rifts have occurred throughout the history of the Islamic Republic of Iran. In addition, he criticized and strongly disagreed with the media for reporting rifts within the Revolutionary Guards or the Basij militia because he does not see that happening there or in the major security forces, although he admitted that there is such a potential.


Contrary to what he has read in the papers, Mr. Katzman stated that the protest movement did not mushroomit did not attract a broad following nor did it spread wildly to other cities as has been reported. He claimed that he did not see new segments of the population joining the protests that have emerged after the election.


I did not see the bazaars shut down. I did not see major strike action. I did not see a call for a general strike. I did not see people coming in from the villages to join these protests. I did not see the urban poor from Tehran even joining these protests, said Mr. Katzman.

To conclude his remarks, Mr. Katzman said that he predicted early on that the protests would subside because they did encompass new segments of the Iranian population. He went on further to state that the demonstrations, which only attracted the reformists, urban-educated, young intellectuals in Tehran, were not a serious challenge to the regime.


Although Mr. Katzman refused to make judgments on the June 12 election, he speculated the accuracy of media reports declaring it a sham election. He stated that imagining an 11 million vote fraud is an awful lot of fraud, expressing his doubt to the degree of fraud. A lot of people would have had to be in on it, said Mr. Katzman.


In a WebMemo, authored by Mr. Phillips and published by The Heritage Foundation, the official death total stands at 17 Iranians since the demonstrations began, which is inconsistent with what CNN has reportedunconfirmed reports that as many as 150 protestors were killed on June 20 alone.

IRANS LOOMING ATOMIC BOMB

One panelist, Mr. Berman, stated that Iran is clearly laying out the architecture for building a nuclear program, which poses a direct threat to the United States and U.S. allies. The ground assumption is that Iran is fairly well along, and working very diligently and quickly. According to Mr. Berman, over the next year, maybe less, we are going to see a very mature nuclear capability, which could be weaponized if the regime made the strategic decision to do so.


In addition, he went on to add that the title of The Heritage Foundations special report (Irans Nuclear Threat: The Day After) is not entirely accurate because, under at least certain scenarios, there is not necessarily a day after, a point at which they test. For this argument, he provided the example of North Korea, a country which had a nuclear breakout scenario in October of 2002 when it finally came clean about its weapons. Iran is moving so quickly and so robustly, at some point there is going to be assumption that Iran is nuclear, regardless of whether or not it does anything overt to demonstrate.


The big question Mr. Bergman addressed was: What is the United States going to do to signal permanence of U.S. presence so that Iran does not think about a day after America, in the sense that it is unfettered in the region? Rather than waiting to see what happens next, the Untied States should implement a strategy to dissuade Tehran from attaining a nuclear weapon. The Heritage Foundation believes that Washington should take stronger actions to prevent a disaster from unfolding. After all, a nuclear Iran could spiral into a cascade of nuclear powers in the Middle East, which the panel emphasized as being very concerning.


RECOMMENDATIONS BY THE PANEL

Not only did the panel discuss the current situation in Iran, but they offered recommendations about how to stop Irans nuclear proliferation.

According to The Heritage Foundation, the U.S. should take the following steps to deter Iran and adopt a damage-limitation approach to constrain the threat posed by a nuclear Iran:

Adopt a protect and defend strategy aimed at neutralizing Irans nuclear threat;
Take concrete steps to underscore that the United States will respond with devastating force if Iran launches a nuclear attack against the U.S. or a U.S. ally;
Mobilize an international coalition to contain and deter a nuclear Iran;
Make clear Americas willingness to block Iranian oil exports;
Review contingency plans for a possible preventative strike to disarm Iran;
Lead an international coalition to impose the strongest possible sanctions on the Iranian regime;
Strengthen Proliferation Security Initiative efforts against Iran;
Launch a public diplomacy campaign to explain to the Iranian people how the regimes nuclear weapons program and hard-line policies hurt their economic and national interests;
Discourage other states from pursuing nuclear arms; and
Refuse to give up on efforts to persuade Iran to abandon its nuclear capability.


THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION

Although President Obama recently toughened his language on the situation in Iran, the panel expressed how the Obama Administration should make it clear that it stands with Irans democratic opposition and lead an international coalition to pressure the Iranian regime to unclench its fist. By condemning egregious abuses of human rights and choosing not to meddle in Irans affairs, President Obama continues to cling to wishful thinking about the possibility of negotiating an acceptable resolution of the standoff over Irans nuclear program. Negotiations, which were minimal to begin with, have now been considerably reduced, but can hopefully be accomplished with either a change in the regime or an engagement strategy with a strict deadline. According to Mr. Phillips, the bottom line is that the Obama Administration must abandon wishful thinking and deal with Iran as it is, not as how they would like it to be.

 

 


 

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