The election of the hardline Tehran mayor, Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad, over former President Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani as the new head
of Iran is undeniably a setback for those hoping to advance greater social and
political freedom in that country. It should not necessarily be seen as a turn
to the Right by the Iranian electorate, however. The 70-year-old Rafsanjani
a cleric and penultimate wheeler-dealer from the political establishment
was portrayed as the more moderate conservative. The fact that he had
become a millionaire while in government was apparently seen as less important
than his modest reform agenda. By contrast, the young Tehran mayor focused on
the plight of the poor and on cleaning up corruption.
In Iran, real political power rests with unelected military,
economic, and right-wing ideologues, and in the June 25 runoff
election, Iranian voters were forced to choose between two flawed
candidates. The relatively liberal contender came across as an
out-of-touch elitist, and his ultraconservative opponent was able to
assemble a coalition of rural, less-educated, and fundamentalist
voters to conduct a pseudopopulist campaign based on promoting
morality and value-centered leadership. Such a political climate
should not be unfamiliar to American voters.
Of course, Washington did not provide the Iranians with much
incentive to elect another relative progressive to lead their
country. Since the 1997 election of the outgoing reformist President
Mohammed Khatami, the United States has strengthened its economic
sanctions against Iran and has even threatened military attack.
Although most Iranians would like improved relations with the United
States, they apparently got the message that U.S. hostility toward
their country would continue whomever they chose as president.
Washington's primary criticisms of Tehran focus on the Iranian
government's suppression of political freedom, its support for
terrorism and subversion, and its nuclear program. Though all three
of these are legitimate areas of concern for the international
community, the double standards exhibited by both the Bush
administration and the bipartisan congressional leadership in
pressing these issues have done little to promote individual
liberty, counterterrorism, and nonproliferation in Iran or the
region as a whole.
U.S. Criticism of the Electoral Process
The Bush administration has attempted to use the
flawed election process in the Islamic Republic of Iran to further isolate that
country and discredit its government. Yet, despite a call by some U.S.-based
exiles for a boycott, more than two-thirds of Iran's eligible voters went to
the polls during the first round, a higher percentage than in recent U.S. presidential
Many, though not all, reform-minded candidates were prevented
from running, and since President Khatami was unable to
significantly liberalize the political system, unelected
ultraconservative clerics are still capable of dominating Iran.
Despite these very real limitations, however, the election campaign
was utilized by the growing pro-democracy movement to encourage
greater political discourse and to deepen popular involvement in the
For the first time since Iran became a republic a quarter century
ago, a presidential election was forced into a second round. The
disappointment with the choices offered led to a much lower voter
turnout during the runoff, but the majority of Iranians apparently
considered the outcome significant enough to warrant their
involvement in the electoral process. Most Iranians felt they had at
least some stake in the system.
Still, President Bush insisted that the Iranian vote failed to meet "the
basic requirements of democracy" and that the "oppressive record"
of the country's rulers made the election illegitimate.(1)
Such comments appear to have actually catalyzed Iranian voters from across the
political spectrum, many of whom recall how the United States engineered the
overthrow of their country's last genuinely democratic government in 1953 and
backed the repressive regime of the unelected shah until his ouster in a popular
revolution in 1979.
Efforts by the Bush administration to portray the political
situation in neighboring Iraq and Afghanistan as superior to Iran's
similarly failed to convince Iranian voters. Although those
countries recently experienced relatively fair electoral processes,
both are suffering from bloody insurgency campaigns led by Islamic
extremists and even bloodier counterinsurgency campaigns
orchestrated by the United States. Moreover, Baghdad and Kabul
exercise little direct control over much of their respective
countries, and neither of these elected governments has thus far
been able to demonstrate any real independence from U.S. military
and economic domination.
A look at most other U.S. allies in the region does not offer
much inspiration for those desiring greater freedom and democracy,
either. There are no competitive elections for president, for prime
minister, or for any kind of legislature that can initiate and pass
meaningful laws and make real policy in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt,
Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Pakistan,
Uzbekistan, or Azerbaijan, even though these autocratic governments
are bolstered by U.S. military and economic aid. Indeed, the
majority of U.S.-allied governments in the region are even less
democratic than Iran.
At least the ruling Iranian government does not massacre demonstrators by the
hundreds or boil dissidents to death, as does the U.S-backed Karimov regime
in Uzbekistan. Nor do current Iranian leaders usurp most of the nation's riches
and restrict political power to a single extended family, like the U.S.-backed
family dictatorships in Saudi Arabia and the other sheikdoms of the Arabian
Peninsula. And Iranian voters were spared election-day brutalities like those
in Egypt under the U.S.-backed Mubarak dictatorship, where police recently escorted
pro-government thugs to attack a group of women who dared to hold a nonviolent
protest in support of greater political freedom.
Yet only Iran, not these U.S.-backed dictatorships, endures President Bush's
complaints that power is in the hands of "an unelected few."(2) Echoing his selective criticism, Secretary of
State Condoleezza Rice challenges the legitimacy of the Iranian elections, because
female candidates were barred from the presidential race, but she praises the
far more restrictive local council elections in Saudi Arabia, where women, unlike
in Iran, were not even allowed to vote.(3)
Such double standards in no way justify the repression, the lack
of real choices in the election process, and the many other failures
by Iranian leaders to conform to international standards of human
rights and representative government. They do, however, indicate
that Washington's bipartisan emphasis on the lack of democracy and
human rights in Iran stems not out of a desire to enhance these
ideals but rather from an urge to punish, isolate, and militarily
threaten an oil-rich country that refuses to sufficiently cooperate
with U.S. economic and strategic designs in the Middle East.
Subversion and Terrorism
U.S. hostility toward Iran often follows accusations
of subversion and terrorism beyond its borders. For example, Washington tried
to blame Tehran for the popular anti-government resistance movement in the Arab
island state of Bahrain in the Persian Gulf, where the Shi'ite Muslim majority
began to resist the autocratic rule of a Sunni Muslim monarchy during the 1980s.
The United States also sought to link Iran with acts of terrorism both
through its own agents and through local groups and accused Tehran of
military threats and acts of subversion against Arab monarchies in the region.
Even Arab states suspicious of Iran's intentions, however, have expressed concerned
about the U.S. tendency to define "Iranian-backed terrorist groups"
so broadly as to include, for example, Lebanese guerrillas fighting Israeli
occupation forces prior to Israel's withdrawal in May 2000.
Although Iranian agents have trained, financed, and funneled arms to a number
of extremist Islamic groups, U.S. charges of direct Iranian responsibility for
specific terrorist acts against Israeli or American targets remain dubious.
For example, Washington exerted enormous pressure on the Saudi government to
implicate Iran in the 1996 terrorist bombing of the Khobar Towers in Dharan,
which killed 19 U.S. soldiers, even though Saudi investigators found no such
link. Iran has challenged the United States to present evidence in an international
judicial forum to prove its allegations, but Washington has refused.(4)
Many now believe this terrorist attack may have been one of the first strikes
by Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network.
U.S. State Department investigations reveal that Iranian support for terrorism
emanates almost exclusively from the Revolutionary Guards and the intelligence
services, both of which are beyond the control of Iran's president and legislature.
Furthermore, most acts of international terrorism clearly linked to Tehran have
been directed at exiled Iranian dissidents, not against the United States.(5) Iran's immediate post-revolutionary zeal to
export its ideology was short-lived, as internal problems and outside threats
deflected the attention of its leadership. In addition, Iranians are culturally
and religiously distinct from the Sunni Arabs who dominate most of the Middle
East. The hierarchical structure of the Shi'ite Islam practiced in Iran limits
the revolution's appeal as a model for other Middle Eastern states.
There is little evidence to support Washington's warnings of
aggressive Iranian designs in the Persian Gulf, either. Iran has not
threatened nor does it have any reason for provoking a confrontation
over sea lanes, as several U.S. analysts have feared. Iran is at
least as reliant as its Arab neighbors on unrestricted navigation,
so if it closed the Straits of Hormuz, Iran would be primarily
hurting itself. With few pipelines servicing its southern oil
fields, Iran is far more dependent on tanker shipping than any other
country on the Persian Gulf coast.
Iran has dramatically reduced its military spending due to chronic economic
problems. Indeed, in constant dollars, Iranian military spending is barely one-third
what it was during the 1980s, when Washington was clandestinely sending arms
to the Islamic Republic.(6) Mirroring increased Iranian procurement of sophisticated
missiles, the Arab sheikdoms along the Persian Gulf have similar missile capabilities,
serving (along with the U.S. Navy) as an effective deterrent force.
The United States has also cited Iran's occupation of three small islands claimed
by the United Arab Emirates as evidence of aggressive Iranian designs in the
However, Iran originally seized the islands Abu Musa, Greater Tunbs,
and Lesser Tunbs in 1971 under the shah and with U.S. and British encouragement.(8)
One litmus test of a country's aggressive designs on its neighbors is military
procurement. As a country amasses arms, bolsters troops, and acquires training,
the chance that it may initiate war escalates, because the probability of success
rises. On this front, Iran also seems less of a threat. Iran's military
procurement relative to the Gulf States is far less than it was during the 1970s
under the shah, when the United States was actually promoting arms sales to
Iran. In addition, much of Iran's naval capability was destroyed by the United
States in the 1987-88 tanker war, and Iran lost much of its ground weaponry
during Iraq's 1988 offensive. As much as half of Iran's inventory of major land-force
weapons were destroyed in the course of the war with Iraq.(9)
Although Iran's defensive capabilities have improved somewhat, there is little
to suggest that Tehran poses any kind of realistic offensive threat to the region.
Indeed, Iranian tanks and planes actually number less than in 1980.(10)
Regarding potential conflicts on the country's eastern border, Iran came close
to declaring war against Afghanistan's Taliban government in 1998 in response
to repression against the country's Shi'ite minority and the killings of nine
Iranian diplomats in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif. Iran accepted nearly
2 million Afghan refugees during more than 20 years of war in Afghanistan, a
country with which the Iranians have close ethnic ties. Iran also provided military
support for the Northern Alliance in its fight against the Taliban. Despite
all this, the Bush administration has warned Iran not to interfere in Afghanistan's
internal affairs, an ironic admonition coming as it did after months of U.S.
interference in Afghanistan that included heavy bombing, ground combat, the
ouster of one government, and the installation of another.
The Bush administration has also claimed that Tehran allowed al-Qaeda members
to seek sanctuary in Iran, though it has been unable to present much in the
way of evidence to that effect. In reality, Iran has strongly opposed al-Qaeda
and welcomed their ouster from Afghanistan. Likewise, al-Qaeda has been antagonistic
toward Iran, in part due to its Shia Islam, which Osama bin Laden and his Sunni
followers view as heretical.
U.S. claims of Iranian support for the Iraqi insurgency are
particularly ludicrous, given the close ties with the Iraqi
president, prime minister, and leaders of the majority Shi'ite
coalition in the national assembly. Iran has absolutely no interest
in supporting the Sunni-led insurgency, though like most Iraqis it
would like the United States to withdraw its forces as soon as
possible and allow the elected Iraqi government greater
Nor, despite claims by the Bush administration and congressional leaders of
both parties, is Iran a serious threat to Israel. Israel is separated from Iran
by over 600 miles, and the Israeli air force is more than capable of shooting
down any Iranian aircraft long before it could reach Israel's borders. Israel
also possesses a strong defense system against medium-range missiles. It is
highly unlikely that Israel would have clandestinely armed the Ayatollah Khomeini's
government throughout the 1980s if the Islamic Republic was considered a threat,
particularly since hardline anti-Israel elements were more prominent in the
Iranian government during that period than they are now.
Iran's Nuclear Program
Having already successfully fooled most of Congress
and the American public into believing that Saddam Hussein's Iraq had an active
nuclear weapons program, the Bush administration and congressional leaders of
both parties are now claiming that it is Iran that has an active nuclear weapons
program. As with Iraq, the administration does not look too kindly on those
who question its assumptions. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
is the United Nations body legally responsible for monitoring compliance with
the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), to which Iran, the United States,
and all but a handful of countries are members. When the IAEA published a detailed
report in November 2004 concluding that its extensive inspections had revealed
no evidence of Iran pursuing a nuclear weapons program, the Bush administration
responded by attempting to oust the IAEA director.
For the time being, the Iranians have been able to avert a crisis through negotiations
with representatives of the European Union (EU). Iran agreed to suspend its
uranium-enrichment and -processing programs until a permanent deal is reached,
which the Iranians hope will also include political and economic concessions
from the Europeans.
The Bush administration has not been supportive of the European negotiating
efforts, however. John Bolton, the former undersecretary of state for arms control
and international security and currently the UN ambassador-designate, declared
that the EU's strategy of negotiating with Iran was "doomed to fail."(11)
Washington has instead advocated a more confrontational approach of UN sanctions
in response to Iran's apparent earlier violations of IAEA agreements. Bolton
has argued for "robust" military action by the United States, if the
UN Security Council fails to impose the sanctions that Washington demands.(12)
The Bush administration's efforts have not received much support, however,
in part because of U.S. double standards. The United States has blocked enforcement
of a previous UN Security Council resolution calling on Israel to place its
nuclear facilities under IAEA trusteeship. Washington has also quashed resolutions
calling on Pakistan and India to eliminate their nuclear weapons and long-range
Despite accusations from U.S. officials that "there is no doubt that Iran
has a secret nuclear weapons production program,"(14)
no one has been able to cite any evidence supporting such a charge. As with
the lead-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, however, Democratic congressional
leaders have contributed to the Bush administration's alarmist rhetoric about
a supposed nuclear threat from Iran and have defended White House double standards
that focus on the alleged nuclear weapons program of an adversary while ignoring
the obvious and proven nuclear weapons arsenals of U.S. allies like Israel,
Pakistan, and India. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, widely seen as the front-runner
for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, declared that the prospect
of Iran also developing nuclear weapons "must be unacceptable to the entire
world," since it would "shake the foundation of global security to
its very core."(15) Similarly, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi
called for the establishment of "an international coalition against proliferation"
modeled on the multilateral effort to combat terrorism. She suggested that instead
of organizing against nuclear proliferation in general, such a coalition should
focus on Iran, despite the Islamic Republic's apparent current cooperation with
its NPT obligations.(16) As with the run-up to the U.S. invasion of
Iraq, congressional Democratic leaders appear willing to blindly support the
Bush administration in its exaggerated and highly selective accusations of an
imminent threat from a distant country that just happens to sit on a lot of
It is important to recognize that even if Iran's nuclear program
is entirely peaceful, the enormous expense and environmental risks
from nuclear power production make it a poor choice for developing
countries, especially those with generous energy resources. And the
risk of it being used as a cover for a secret nuclear weapons
program is certainly real.
However, the United States is still obligated under the Nuclear Nonproliferation
Treaty to allow signatory states in good standing to have access to peaceful
nuclear technology. Ironically, this provision promoting the use of nuclear
energy was originally included in the NPT in large part because of Washington's
desire to promote the nuclear power industry. In any case, whatever the extent
of Iran's nuclear ambitions and whatever the outcome of the ongoing EU talks,
the United States is in a poor position to assume much leadership in the cause
Lost in Bush's current obsession with Iran's nuclear intentions
is the fact that the United States from the Eisenhower
administration through the Carter years played a major role in the
development of Iran's nuclear program. In 1957, Washington and
Tehran signed their first civil nuclear cooperation agreement. Over
the next two decades, the United States provided Iran not only with
technical assistance but with its first experimental nuclear
reactor, complete with enriched uranium and plutonium with fissile
isotopes. Despite the refusal of the shah to rule out the
possibility of Iran developing nuclear weapons, the Ford
administration approved the sale to Iran of up to eight nuclear
reactors (with fuel) and later cleared the sale of lasers believed
to be capable of enriching uranium. Surpassing any danger from the
mullahs now in power, the shah's megalomania led arms control
advocates to fear a diversion of the technology for military
The Washington Post reported that an initially hesitant President Ford
was assured by his advisers that Iran was only interested in the peaceful uses
of nuclear energy despite the country's enormous reserves of oil and natural
Ironically, Ford's secretary of defense was Donald Rumsfeld, his chief of staff
was Dick Cheney, and his head of nonproliferation efforts at the Arms Control
and Disarmament Agency was Paul Wolfowitz, all of whom as officials in
the current administration have insisted that Iran's nuclear program
must be assumed to have military applications.
Iranian Perceptions of Defense Needs
Concerned about the proliferation of nuclear weapons
in a volatile region, Tehran has called for the establishment of a nuclear weapons-free
zone for the entire Middle East. All nations in the region would be required
to give up their nuclear weapons and open up their programs to strict international
inspections. Iran has been joined in its proposal by Syria, by U.S. allies Jordan
and Egypt, and by other Middle Eastern states. Such nuclear weapons-free zones
have already been established for Latin America, the South Pacific, Africa,
and Southeast Asia.
The Bush administration has rejected the proposition, however. A draft UN Security
Council resolution in December 2003 calling for a nuclear-free zone in the Middle
East was withdrawn when the United States threatened to veto it. The Bush administration,
with bipartisan support on Capitol Hill, insists that the United States has
the right to decide which countries get to have nuclear weapons and which ones
do not, effectively demanding a kind of nuclear apartheid. Not only are such
double standards unethical, they are simply unworkable: any effort to impose
a regime of haves and have-nots from the outside will simply make the have-nots
try even harder.
Since Iranian efforts to establish a nuclear-free zone in the
Middle East have been unsuccessful, it is certainly possible that
Iran may someday develop nuclear weapons. However, Washington errs
in assuming that the Islamic Republic would use them for aggressive
designs. Indeed, the Iranians may have good reasons to desire a
In early 2002, Iran was listed with Iraq and North Korea by
President Bush as part of "the axis of evil." Iraq, which had given
up its nuclear program over a decade earlier and allowed IAEA
inspectors to verify this, was invaded and occupied by the United
States. By contrast, North Korea which reneged on its agreement and
has apparently resumed production of nuclear weapons has not been
invaded. The Iranians may see a lesson in that.
In addition, soon after coming to office, President Bush decided
to unfreeze America's nuclear weapons production and launch a
program to develop smaller tactical nuclear weapons for battlefield
use. It is important to remember that the only country to actually
use nuclear weapons in combat is the United States, in the 1945
bombings of two Japanese cities, a decision that most American
political leaders still defend to this day.
Furthermore, the United States is allied with Pakistan, which borders Iran
on the east and possesses nuclear weapons and sophisticated delivery systems.
The United States is also a strong ally of Israel, located 600 miles to the
west and capable of launching a nuclear strike against Iran with its long-range
missiles in a matter of minutes. Unlike Iran, neither of these countries has
signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, and both are in violation of UN
Security Council resolutions regarding their nuclear weapons programs. However,
the Bush administration's view is that rather than focusing on countries that
actually do have an acknowledged nuclear weapons program, actually do possess
nuclear weapons, and are in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions, the
focus should instead be on a country that does not have a confirmed nuclear
weapons program, does not yet have nuclear weapons, and is not in defiance of
UN Security Council resolutions.
The only realistic means of curbing the threat of nuclear proliferation in
the Middle East is to establish a law-based, regionwide program for disarmament
encompassing all countries regardless of their relations with the United States.
Ultimately, the only way to make the world safe from the threat of nuclear weapons
is by establishing a nuclear-free planet. And the United States as the
largest nuclear power must take the lead. Polls show that a sizable majority
of Americans do not believe any country, including the United States, should
possess nuclear weapons.(18)
Neither the Bush administration nor the leaders of the Democratic Party, however,
appear willing to even broach the subject.
The Issue Is U.S. Hegemony
Iranians are convinced that U.S. hostility toward
Iran is not really about nuclear weapons, terrorism, or anything other than
opposition to the very existence of an Islamic republic in a country once ruled
by a compliant, U.S.-installed, absolute monarch. This is why both "conservative"
and "reformist" elements in Iranian politics support their country's
right to develop a nuclear energy and research program under IAEA supervision.(19)
Besides Iraq, Iran is the only Middle Eastern country with a
sizable educated population, enormous oil resources, and an adequate
water supply. Among Middle Eastern nations, only Iraq and Iran have
shown the potential for pursuing domestic and foreign policies
independent of the dictates of powerful Western governments or the
international financial institutions dominated by these governments.
In order to control Iraq, the Bush administration decided it had to
take over the country by military force.
There is little question that there were similar plans in store
for Iran, until U.S. difficulties in stabilizing and managing Iran's
once-powerful Arab neighbor made it apparent that an additional
occupation would be unwise. Pentagon troop strength is already
severely stretched, and the financial and political costs of the
ongoing war in Iraq are becoming difficult for the Bush
administration to manage.
Iran would also be far more difficult to invade and occupy than
Iraq. Iran has more than three times Iraq's population and land
mass, and the country has far more mountains and other geographical
hindrances to invasion and occupation. Unlike Iraq in the dozen
years prior to the U.S. invasion, Iran has not been under a strictly
enforced international arms embargo and has been able to build up
its military defenses.
And as problematic as Iran's political system may be, Iranians
enjoy far more political pluralism than did Iraqis under the
totalitarian regime of Saddam Hussein. As a result, Iranians harbor
more hope that change is possible from within. Although Iran's
population consists of several different ethno-linguistic groups,
there is a very strong sense of nationalism that would likely result
in far more Iranians rushing to defend their country from foreign
conquest and occupation than was the case with the 2003 U.S.-led
invasion of Iraq.
The legal case for military action against Iran is even weaker
than it was in regard to Iraq. Great Britain, Poland, and other
allies that supported the United States in invading Iraq have made
it clear they would not take part in a conquest of Iran.
An outright invasion of Iran is therefore unlikely, but this does
not mean that military action is not forthcoming, either directly or
through Washington's client state Israel. The most likely scenario
might resemble the half decade prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq
complete with periodic bombing raids and missile attacks against
suspected military, industrial, and government targets. Though not
as calamitous as a full-scale invasion, such military action would
nevertheless constitute a tragic blunder.
Iranians would probably find ways to retaliate against such
attacks, including a refusal to cooperate with the IAEA and an
increase in support for terrorist groups. Reaction to such attacks
would almost certainly fan anti-American and anti-Israeli extremism
in the region, even within the pro-Western and anti-Iranian Arab
sheikdoms of the Persian Gulf.
Furthermore, as Iranian human rights lawyer and Islamic feminist Shirin Ebadi
observed, "Respect for human rights Ö can never be imposed by foreign military
might and coercion an approach that abounds in contradictions."
The 2003 Nobel Peace Prize winner, jailed by the Iranian government for her
dissident activities, went on to observe that not only would an attack on Iran
"vitiate popular support for human rights activism, but by destroying civilian
lives, institutions, and infrastructure, war would also usher in chaos and instability.
Respect for human rights is likely to be among the first casualties."(20)
Up to this point, U.S. pressure on Iran has primarily been
through strict unilateral economic sanction. Unlike international
sanctions against the former apartheid government of South Africa or
the current military junta in Burma, Washington's sanctions against
Iran are not predicated on significant legal or moral imperatives.
As with similar extraterritorial efforts regarding Cuba, U.S.
attempts to pressure other nations to get tough with Iran have
alienated even America's strongest allies, who consider such
measures to be in violation of World Trade Organization principles.
Similarly, U.S. efforts to subvert the Iranian government are contrary to international
legal conventions that recognize sovereign rights and principles of nonintervention.
They also directly counter the Algiers Declaration of 1981, under which the
United States unequivocally pledged not to intervene politically or militarily
in the internal affairs of Iran. Still, even while acknowledging that Iran is
a sovereign government, the Bush administration insists that it has the right
to attack governments that do not "exercise their sovereignty responsibly."(21)
What neither the Bush administration nor Congress seems to appreciate is that
even if Iranians were free from clerical domination and the electoral process
in Iran were completely fair and open, the result would almost certainly be
a government that though presumably not as fanatically anti-American
as the current hardline clerics in power would never consent to the role
of a compliant ally. In Washington's eyes, Iran's most serious offense lies
not in the area of human rights, terrorism, nuclear ambitions, subversion, or
conquest but rather in daring to challenge U.S. hegemony in the Middle East.
Iran is the most important country in the Middle East actively opposing U.S.
ambitions for strategic, economic, and political domination over the region.
By arranging for the Iranian government to be overthrown or crippled, American
policymakers hope to acquire unprecedented leverage in shaping the future direction
of the Middle East.
And this brings us to the final irony. Serving as an impediment
to Washington's ambitions gives Tehran a degree of credibility and
legitimacy that it would not otherwise receive from large numbers of
Middle Eastern peoples resentful of such foreign domination. This
strengthens the current Iranian government's grip at home as well as
its influence throughout the Middle East and beyond.
- Cited in Robin Wright and Michael Fletcher, "Bush
Denounces Iran's Election," Washington Post, p. A18, June
- Interview on Fox News Sunday, June 19, 2005.
- Houman A. Sadri, "Trends in the Foreign Policy
of Revolutionary Iran," Journal of Third World Studies, vol.
15, no. 1, April 1998.
- Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism, U.S.
Department of State, Patterns of Global Terrorism 2000, Section
I: Overview of State-Sponsored Terrorism, April 30, 2001.
- Anthony H. Cordesman, Trends in Iran: A Graphic
and Statistical Overview, Washington: Center for
Strategic and International Studies, 1999, p. 17.
- Jamie McIntyre, "Iran
Builds Up Military Strength at Mouth of Gulf," CNN World News, Aug.
- Hooshang Amirahmadi and Nader Entessar, eds.,
Iran and the Arab World (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1993),
- Anthony Cordesman, "The Changing Military Balance
in the Gulf," Middle East Policy, vol. VI, no. 1,
June 1998, p. 82.
- Cordesman, Trends in Iran, op. cit., p. 31.
- Cited in Scott Ritter, "Sleepwalking to Disaster
in Iran," al-Jazeera, March 30, 2005.
- See UN Security Council Resolutions 487 (1981) and
- Ritter, op. cit.
by Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to the 2005 American Israeli Public Affairs
Committee Conference, May 24, 2005.
- Remarks by Representative Nancy Pelosi to the 2005
American Israeli Public Affairs Committee Conference, May 24,
- Dafna Linzer, "Past Arguments Don't Square with
Current Iran Policy," Washington Post, March 26, 2005.
- W.M. Lester, "Most Americans Say No Nations
Should Have Nuclear Weapons," Associated Press, March 31, 2005.
- See Michael Ryan Kraig, "Realistic Solutions for
Resolving the Iranian Nuclear Crisis," Stanley Foundation Policy
Analysis Brief, January 2005, p. 2.
- Shirin Ebadi, "Attacking Iran Would Bring Disaster,
Not Freedom," Independent (UK), Feb. 19, 2005.
- National Defense Strategy of the United States of