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Stiff Sanctions On Iran Now

Menashe Amir: 'Stiff Sanctions Now On Iran Could Topple Regime -They Could Reignite Flames Of Protest Against Regime'

'Protesters Inside Iran Have Told Me Sanctions Would Be Viewed As Green Light From Free World In Their Struggle For Freedom'

'Iranian Regime Realizes That Giving In On Nuclear Weapons Will Cripple Ideological Goal Of Dominating Islamic World'

Iranian President Ahmadinejad

 Iran has rejected the latest proposal from the International Atomic Energy Agency for resolving the crisis over Tehran's nuclear weapons project. After a week's delay, Iran now contends the IAEA scheme is unacceptable in its present form. The offer was that Iran would send some 75% of its low grade enriched uranium to Russia and France, where it would be reprocessed into fuel rods for peaceful nuclear research (that are not suitable for nuclear weapons). What happens now? Menashe Amir, an Israeli expert on Iran who predicted that Tehran would reject the proposal, has revealed to IsraCast why the Free World should immediately impose harsh sanctions on the Iranian regime.

 'Stiff sanctions now imposed on Iran could lead to the toppling of the regime' - that's the assessment of Menashe Amir, who maintains contacts with Iranian dissidents inside Iran. These protesters have told him personally that they were very disappointed by the lack of real support from European and American leaders following the recent Iranian election. The Free World's failure to truly confront Iran over the nuclear issue has been perceived as quiet acquiescence with the oppressive regime. But if the international community were now to enforce harsher sanctions, such as on refined petroleum products such as gasoline, this would serve as a 'green light' to the dissidents. In Menashe Amir's words:'Sanctions now would reignite the flames of opposition that could topple the regime!' 

Menashe Amir at IsraCast Studios

He recalls that economic sanctions succeeded in dissuading Libya from halting its nuclear weapons program. Amir acknowledges that it took ten years for sanctions to succeed with President Muamar Kadafi, while even the US intelligence community now agrees that time is running out fast on Iran. However, the analyst adds, that in his view and on the basis of his Iranian contacts, the situation inside Iran is far more volatile than is perceived from abroad. 

What happens now? The Iranians, as usual, do not declare an unequivocal N0! They will likely seek further clarifications, amendments or whatever it takes to buy more time and prevent the imposing of new sanctions. Then at the eleventh hour, they can be expected 'to dangle a new thread for exploration' - the Iranians are masters of this stonewalling which they have practiced and perfected on the Europeans for years. But make no mistake - Amir is convinced the Iranian regime will not relent what it comes to producing nuclear weapons. He caqutioned that European and American leaders must realize the bomb is the cornerstone of the Iranian leadership's ideological and religious basis for acquiring hegemony over the Islamic and Arab worlds. 'The atomic bomb is part of the regime's grand design and they will not depart from it even if it runs counter to Iran's vital interests'. 

The Iranian Missile Range

As for Israeli officials, they have now adopted a low-key approach to the diplomatic attempt to try and stop Iran from going nuclear - this for fear of being accused of trying to influence American decision-making. At a meeting with US envoy George Mitchell, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu praised President Barack Obama's efforts to stop Iran saying the recent nuclear proposal, now rejected by Tehran, was the first serious step. Earlier, Defense Minister Ehud Barak had criticized the IAEA offer saying it would lend 'legitimacy' to Iran's continued uranium enrichment program,although on a lower scale. The Yediot Ahronot newspaper later reported that American officials had chastised Israel privately for creating the impression that Obama officials were 'naive' and did not realize the Iranians were trying to pull the wool over their eyes. 

On the other hand, the major three-week American-Israeli missile defense exercise has furthered bolstered ties between the two allies after some of the past tension between Obama and Netanyahu. (The Israeli leader told Mitchell that he was ready for negotiations with Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas without prior conditions and Israel was considering further good-will gestures). Some one-thousand American military personnel are participating in the joint exercise that a senior US officer said 'would enhance Israel's defensive capability'. This latest step follows the stationing of a state-of-the art, long range US radar system in the Negev. The strengthening of Israel's defensive capabilities helps reduce the Israeli impression that the Jewish state may be left to face the Iranian nuclear specter on her own. On this score, what should be made of the comment by French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner that it was vital to find a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear threat, otherwise Israel might attack Iran, if she felt imperiled. On one hand, the French diplomat employed the Israeli threat to pressure Iran or possibly influence Russia and China to drop their opposition to sanctions. But on the other hand, Kouchner's comment could also imply that the West might leave it up to Israel to confront Iran on her own, if all else fails.

David Essing

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