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Journalist: Iran's Behind All the Hostilities in Iraq
Many have argued that dividing the conflict-ridden Iraqi state into separate Kurdish, Sunni and Shi'ite zones -- something akin to a partition plan -- could quell the ongoing violence there.
But according to Iranian dissident Alireza Jafarzadeh, such a strategy is doomed because it ignores the real problem at hand: the Islamic Republic of Iran.
In a lecture last week, Jafarzadeh, who is a FOX-television news analyst and the author of The Iran Threat: President Ahmadinejad and the Coming Nuclear Crisis, argued that the regime is responsible for fueling the ongoing flames of war in Iraq.
As evidence, the speaker cited the flow of Iranian weapons into Iraq, as well as the 32,000 Iraqi agents operating on what he called "the payroll of Iran." Jafarzadeh has written articles over the last few years, published in mainstream magazines and newspapers, as well as on the Web, that have dealt with both developments.
"The ayatollahs in Iran believe in the global Islamic rule," explained Jafarzadeh, who was born in Iran and fled to America after the shah fell in 1979. "As far as their agenda is concerned, the goal is to establish an Islamic Republic in Iraq."
Jafarzadeh, whose talk was sponsored by the Middle East Forum, is perhaps best known as a whistleblower on Iran.
Back in 1985, he said he helped expose that country's role in the bombing of the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Since then, he claimed that he's revealed numerous Iranian plots, including the development of secret nuclear sites in Natanz and Arak in 2002.
The speaker explained that he had access to this confidential information through his former position with the National Council of Resistance of Iran, an opposition party based in Paris.
During his Center City talk, delivered at the law firm of Cozen O'Connor, Jafarzadeh focused on the mounting danger posed by Iran.
He said that within the past two years, Iran has sped up its nuclear-development program, and moved many of its facilities underground. He also asserted that the sites have increasingly fallen under the jurisdiction of the Iranian military.
"Accepting a nuclear-armed Iran is absolute strategic madness," Jafarzadeh wrote in his book. During his lecture, he added that such a prospect would result in a "nightmare scenario."
Still, the speaker denounced any sort of military action.
Any foray, he said, would be ineffective from a strategic perspective (Iran's weapons are too dispersed and hidden), as well as a public-relations one (an Iran on the defensive would blur its image as a global antagonist).
The speaker also repudiated using diplomatic channels, arguing that the regime views negotiation as a sign of weakness.
"Asking, can you please stop your uranium-enrichment program ... do you think the ayatollahs will listen to that?"
He suggested that the only feasible option is to promote regime change from inside the nation.
According to Jafarzadeh, the majority of Iranians, including young people and women, don't actually support Ahmadinejad. He pointed to the fact that opposition parties have continued to grow and operate inside Iran. He also testified to the fact that the country has seen "nearly 5,000 anti-government demonstrations within the past year."
"The domestic situation is a time bomb that could explode any day," wrote Jafarzadeh.
Not all attendees held such a viewpoint, however.
Attorney Lee Bender, 45, of Ardmore, said that he "can't see Iran imploding on its own."
"It's pie in the sky to think that suddenly there's going to be a revolution from the lowest levels of society," he said. "To take away the option of the military, I think, is wishful thinking."
Robert Sklaroff, 56, agreed. "He gives short shrift to the military option," said the physician and officer with the Philadelphia chapter of the Zionist Organization of America. "It's dangerous to depend on regime change."