• E-mail Alireza

November 14, 2003

In a shocking commentary Alireza Jafarzadeh tells us how the clerical rulers of Iran will stop at nothing to insure their own survival:

In order to understand the mentality of the Iranian regime, one has to recognize that use of terror outside Iran has constituted the most fundamental pillar of the Iranian regime’s foreign policy.

Tehran has used terrorism and a vigorous drive to acquire weapons of mass destruction and a nuclear arsenal not only in the context of balance of terror but as means to exact concessions from its international interlocutors.

That policy began with the occupation of the U.S. embassy in Tehran and continued with the hostage taking in Lebanon, support for terrorist groups in the Middle East, bombings of the US Marine Barracks in Beirut, the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires, The Khobar Towers in Riyadh and hundreds of other terrorist attacks around the world.

The use of terrorism as the central instrument of foreign policy by Tehran is dangerously unique in that it is driven by an ideology, which millions of disenfranchised and impoverished citizens in Islamic countries identify with: A fundamentalist interpretation of Islam that rejects the West and modernity in their entirety.

"The clerical-led Iran would not hesitate to use any means at its disposal to undermine challenges to its survival."

It is common knowledge that Tehran is now in possession of WMD, including chemical and biological weapons. It has also pursued, as detailed by the IAEA, a clandestine nuclear program. The regime’s leaders consider these weapons to be of strategic value for their survival.

Tehran’s under-the-wire “cooperation” with the IAEA should be no reason for optimism. One swallow does not make a summer. This is simply a tactical and well-calculated retreat to set the stage for strategic leap forward: to ensure that its advanced, sophisticated and dangerous nuclear weapons program crosses the finish line unhindered.

With the “Great Satan” now breathing down their neck in the East (Afghanistan) and in the West (Iraq), the mullahs look to the balance of terror as the only way out of their current predicament. Faced with a restive population, a faltering economy, a corrupt political elite, a widening internal rift, a resilient opposition movement and, last but not least, a more hostile international environment, Tehran is fast running out of time and options; the Islamic fundamentalist state’s survival depends on its ability to break the noose.

Against this backdrop, the clerical-led Iran would not hesitate to use any means at its disposal to undermine challenges to its survival. The strategic advantage of using WMD through foreign surrogates far outweighs its practical and political disadvantages.

There is an element of truth in Mr. Kohlman’s view that Iran’s providing of WMD to its surrogate or affiliated groups could be traceable to its origin. That said, let us not forget that the regime deceived the IAEA and the international community for 18 years, pretending that its nuclear activities were benign. Hiding its tracks as far as WMD-related attacks are concerned, while difficult, are not impossible, given Tehran’s long record of deception and denial.

If the mullahs are pushed to the brink, whether by internal or external factors, they would not hesitate to breach any red line to survive. Like a drowning man, they would grab at straws. Letting their proxies use WMD would be a viable option.

I agree with Mansoor Ijaz that in dealing with terrorist regimes “We can never appease them, and we can never negotiate with them — period.”

If history is a judge, the policy of conciliation has not paid off. Tehran has found its rogue and terrorist conduct too profitable to abandon. It is time that international community holds the mullahs to account for their actions. Firmness is what is needed.

• E-mail Alireza

Alireza Jafarzadeh is a FOX News Channel Foreign Affairs Analyst and the author of "The Iran Threat: President Ahmadinejad and the Coming Nuclear Crisis" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007).

Jafarzadeh has revealed Iran's terrorist network in Iraq and its terror training camps since 2003. He first disclosed the existence of the Natanz uranium enrichment facility and the Arak heavy water facility in August 2002.

Prior to becoming a contributor for FOX, and until August 2003, Jafarzadeh acted for a dozen years as the chief congressional liaison and media spokesman for the U.S. representative office of Iran's parliament in exile, the National Council of Resistance of Iran.

Alireza Jafarzadeh, the deputy director of the Washington office of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, is credited with exposing Iranian nuclear sites in Natanz and Arak in 2002, triggering International Atomic Energy Agency inspections. He is the author of "The Iran Threat" (Palgrave MacMillan: 2008). His email is Jafarzadeh@ncrius.org.