Incite Change From Within Iran

By SHARE

Over the past three decades, Washington's Iran policy has acted like a pendulum, oscillating between engagement and threats of military action. Given the problematic nature of the latter, engagement has essentially held sway. This has provided the Iranian regime a golden opportunity to rapidly advance its quest for the bomb.

In other words, engagement has failed to halt Tehran's nuclear drive.

So, what needs to be done? Tough sanctions are of course necessary, but clearly not sufficient. It is time for the West, the United States in particular, to focus on the third option, i.e., change from within. How? By relying on the people of Iran and their organized opposition.

[See a collection of political cartoons on Iran.]

That opposition movement, the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), has been the source of much of the intelligence about the existence of multiple nuclear sites scattered in different parts of Iran, including the uranium enrichment facility in Natanz, and the heavy water facility in Arak in 2002; Kala Electric, Lavizan-Shian, and Lashkar Abad in 2003; the Qom underground facility in 2005; and most recently the TABA site in 2011, where advanced centrifuge parts are manufactured.

Iran saw major uprisings in 2009 lasting several months before being brutally suppressed. Currently, Iran's economy is in shambles, the ruling elite are increasing fighting among themselves, and internal dissent has spread.

[See a collection of political cartoons on the turmoil in the Middle East.]

Nothing can convince the mullahs to halt their ambitious nuclear weapons program. The only and least costly option is to rely on Iranians and their organized opposition committed to replacing the regime with a democratic, secular, and non-nuclear republic. This option has widespread political support, signified by a large group of bipartisan members of Congress who are calling on the State Department to remove the shackles placed on the main Iranian opposition 14 years ago as a goodwill gesture to Tehran.

Make no mistake. Nothing can mobilize Iran's population behind its ruthless rulers, and nothing has been more destructive than the various forms of engagement. However, there is no need for foreign governments to allocate money, dispatch troops, or carry out any kind of military action against Tehran. The West must realize the power of Iran's people, arguably more deeply rooted even than what we saw in the Arab Spring. The time to act is now.

Alireza Jafarzadeh

About Alireza Jafarzadeh Author of 'The Iran Threat: President Ahmadinejad and the Coming Nuclear Crisis'

Tags
Iran
nuclear weapons

Other Arguments

#2
139 Pts
Let Opposition Groups Do the Hindering

No – Let Opposition Groups Do the Hindering

Raymond Tanter Founder of the Iran Policy Committee

#3
34 Pts
Only Threat of Military Action Will Stop Iran

Yes – Only Threat of Military Action Will Stop Iran

Michael Eisenstadt Director of the Military and Security Studies Program at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy

#4
12 Pts
Military Action Might Be The Only Option With Iran

Yes – Military Action Might Be The Only Option With Iran

Jamie M. Fly Former Director for Counterproliferation Strategy at the National Security Council

#5
-2 Pts
Diplomacy Best Option in Dealing with Iran's Nuclear Aims

No – Diplomacy Best Option in Dealing with Iran's Nuclear Aims

Matthew Duss Director of Middle East Progress at the Center for American Progress

#6
-13 Pts
Learn the Lessons from Iraq

No – Learn the Lessons from Iraq

Justin Logan Director of Foreign Policy Studies at the Cato Institute

#7
-64 Pts
An Attack Would Only Strengthen Iran's Influence

No – An Attack Would Only Strengthen Iran's Influence

James Dobbins Director of the International Security and Defense Policy Center at the RAND Corporation

You Might Also Like


See More