Interview conducted by Znet; reprinted with permission
Abbas Edalat, Ph.D. is Professor of Computer Science and Mathematics at Imperial College London,
Abbas Edalat: The western media gives the impression that it is the comments of the new Iranian president about
Furthermore, according to all western intelligence
We need to see the underlying reasons for the situation elsewhere. What is fundamentally different today compared with the past is that the Bush administration, dominated by the neoconservatives and their doctrine of the "Project for the New American Century", has been resolved ever since it came to power in 2001 to redesign the map of the Middle East and to replace all defiant regimes in the region with client pro Western states.
Of course, this has virtually the same motivation that induced the
The neoconservatives consider this strategy as vital for controlling the oil resources in the Middle East and Central Asia and for dominating these strategic regions in the course of the present century in face of increasing competition with the growing economic, political and military power of
Bush's attack on
After the invasion of
These charges are strikingly reminiscent of the run-up to the
According to two articles by Seymour Hersh, in January 2005 in the New Yorker, all high ranking officers of the Bush Administration, whom he had interviewed on the US foreign policy, had stated that Iran is the next target after Iraq, and that the administration has learned its lessons on the run-up to the Iraq invasion and this time they would first follow the diplomatic road to prepare fully the political case for an attack on Iran. Interestingly, the
It is in the light of this strategy that we should understand the current massive diplomatic efforts by the
FKh: How likely is an actual military offensive? What shape do you think this action would take? Would
AE: The probability of a military intervention against
Given the present fiasco in
The US and Israel leaders have openly and repeatedly threatened military action on Iran in the past few years and there has been a massive escalation of these threats in the past few months which amongst other things desensitize and prepare the world public opinion for any eventual military attack.
Most significantly and most recently, the Sunday Times on December 11th last year revealed that Prime Minster Sharon has instructed
Benjamin Netanyahu, the present leader of Likud party in
The crucial issue here is to understand that the intention of the
There have also been various reports about CIA's activities to foment national, ethnic and religious conflicts inside
Then there is the report by Philip Giraldi, an ex-CIA officer, in the August 2005 issue of the American Conservative which reveals that Vice President Dick Cheney has instructed Pentagon to prepare itself for a massive air assault against some 450 sites in Iran if a second 9/11 event takes place in the US. Alarmingly, the plans for the air assault is reported to include the use of tactical nuclear strikes against the fortified Iranian nuclear plants which are deep underground. This scenario would decisively break a 60 year taboo in the West on using nuclear bombs.
Giraldi's report, unchallenged by the Bush administration, should be taken very seriously by the anti-war and peace movement all around the world in particular in the light of the latest videotape by Ben Laden who has pledged a new attack against the
In recent days, President Chirac of
AE: The fact is that objectively
Its air force is based on the obsolete US made fighters purchased by the Shah's regime some 30 years ago. What is more significant is that
FKh: Media reports in the United States often convey an assumption that the Iranian regime plans to attack Israel and Mr. Ahmadinejad's anti-Israel remarks about "wiping out," etc. are often cited as evidence. This often bolsters the argument that a nuclear
AE: I think Ahmadinejad's controversial statements on
I think it is also very clear to the west and to Israel that such rhetorical language have been used in Friday prayers ever since the Islamic revolution of 1979, that there is no threat let alone any intention behind Ahmadinejad's rhetoric.
What of course is true is that Ahmadinejad's statements have been playing into the hands of
FKh: Why do you believe the nuclear issue has become so important to the clerical leadership in
AE: The nuclear issue has become a major national issue of vital importance to the great majority of Iranian people and not just the clerical leadership. At the heart of the issue is
The US and
In fact, according to the CIA Iran is at least 10 years away from developing a nuclear bomb, which in itself falsifies the
No wonder that over 80% of Iranians in several opinion polls have defended
FKh: What are the basis for the call by the
AE: In fact, US and EU-3's call for
Since the moratorium observed by
AE: It is highly unlikely that
The Iranian parliament has already passed a resolution which obliges the government to abandon its voluntary adherence to the additional protocols if
This could eventually lead to a stand-off at the UN Security Council with
FKh: How likely are UN-approved sanctions? What form could they take?
AE: In the short term there is little likelihood of any UN sanctions as
Only if the West can get
What is important here is to recognize that smart sanctions will only be an intermediary stage for either wider economic sanctions at a later stage or for facilitating a later stand-off at the UN Security Council for a military attack against
FKh: Given existing strict
AE: The existing US sanctions have not had any noticeable effect on the every day life of ordinary people in Iran but have certainly slowed down the process of evolving into a more open society: It has severely restricted scientific and cultural exchange between Iran and the US and has significantly retarded the spread and use of Information and Communication Technology in particular the Internet in a country which has over 70% of its population under the age of 30 and which in the past few years has had the highest ratio of female to male university students in the world.
However, the first major consequence of any economic sanctions, even any confiscation of
Long term economic sanctions would definitely result in misery and death for ordinary people as they did in
the population in its efforts to withstand the "Western aggression against the Islamic nation".
FKh: Does the Iranian exile community support western action against
AE: A minority of Iranian expatriates would support some sort of western action for example "smart sanction" on
The dangerous logic of the belief that "my enemy's enemy is my friend" leads a smaller minority of Iranian expatriates to even support sanctions on
FKh: Many of the more well-known of the exiled opposition groups -such as monarchists and MKO (Mujahedeen Khlagh Organization)- have consistently opposed any dialog with the Islamic Republic in order to de-legitimize and isolate the Iranian government. What are the merits of this strategy? If war and sanctions are to be averted, communication with the Iranian side seems almost necessary. How do you respond?
AE: The fact is that the monarchists and MKO have long been completely out of touch with the Iranian people amongst whom they have no base of support.
As I have already pointed out opinion polls show that a great majority of the people of
It is thus simply irrational to oppose dialogue with the regime which on this issue has the backing of a majority of the Iranian people. The western leaders are aware of this reality, which puts them at a dilemma what course of action to follow so as not to turn Iranians into supporting the regime.
What the Iranian people need now is to express their defence of Iran's national right for a civilian nuclear technology by organizing themselves independent of the government against the threats of sanctions and military intervention and at the same time; independent of the west, demand freedom of press, freedom for political prisoners, respect for human rights, an independent judiciary and an end to oppression of women, national and religious minorities.
These demands represent key historical tasks, which are all vital to building an effective, broad based united front of all Iranian people against Israel/US aggression.
FKh: What about Iranians living US and
I think the first task for all those who oppose sanctions and military intervention -Iranian or otherwise- is to organise themselves in a campaign and express their collective voice in a systematic and united manner. The Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran (CASMII), which is now also established in the
CASMII aims to systematically respond to biased and distorted articles in the media against
FKh: Do you or CASMII receive any funding from the Iranian or any other government for this work? What is the chief source of funding for your activities?
CASMII is an independent campaign organisation which receives no funding from the Iranian or any other government. Our funding in the