An Inside Look At U.S.-Iran Talks on Iraq

• E-mail Alireza

On Monday, May 28, 2007, the United States and Iran engaged in a rare face-to-face discussion regarding the security of Iraq. Both sides described the event — the first official meeting between the two foes in over 27 years — as “positive,” but the two nations did not accomplish much, according to FNC Foreign Analyst Alireza Jafarzadeh.

READ MORE, then check out the exchange between FOX Fans and Jafarzadeh below.

"I read your article, and agree completely … but I have a question. Why is war with Iran not a viable alternative? Troop deficits? It seems to me that it's the only way of stopping them. Their goals are all too obvious, and myself, and many other Americans feel as though the war we are now fighting in Iraq can only be won by using far more military force in the region that we have to date. If we do not use more of our military resources now, we will be fighting this war for the next 1,000 years. And who knows, the western world may actually be the losers. I think we already are starting to look like losers." — Richard

ALIREZA: Dear Richard, I say that war is not an option for several reasons.

• Iran has a very defiant population that is already seeking to unseat the ruling Ayatollahs and establish democracy in the country.
• Iran has an organized opposition movement which exposed Iran's clandestine nuclear weapons program, its network in Iraq and its terror operations around the world.
• Iran's threat is not limited to its nuclear weapons program; the international community will have to counter its deadly operation in Iraq, its terror network in the region, its efforts to sabotage peace in the Middle East, and the suppression of its own population in Iran.
• Iran is not Iraq; it is three times as populated, four times as large, with lots of mountains and tunnels.
• A military option would turn the Iranian regime into a victim overnight, allowing it to generate support among the Muslim countries in the region.
• A military option would also undermine efforts by the Iranian people and the organized opposition to change the face of Iran.
• The best option would be for the State Department to remove any restrictions against all Iran opposition groups, including the MEK, committed to democracy, pluralism and a secular Iran. It only benefits Tehran to see its main opposition group have its hand tied as a result of its terrorist designation by the State Department.

"Alireza, Kudos to you for being a shining beacon of truth. I have had the fortune to know many good men of various cultures of the world (working in the energy/oil/gas industry which is so interconnected) and you seem one of them. I hope this note finds you well.

I wondered if you thought the U.S. is/was best served by more of an isolationist policy of not even paying attention with intelligence to what goes on around the world, or by being, in general, more physically involved as we are now in order to have more direct influence? Secondly, do you think Iran would really incite a nuclear war when they achieve nuclear power or is it merely for leverage/more influence upon their own? I am aware of how sly the perpetual negotiators are and yet, also that many Iranians do not want this course." — Ben

ALIREZA: Dear Benjamin, Thanks for your very kind words. Because Iran's ruling clerics run the state according to their ideology, and not the interest of the Iranian people, as I have discussed in chapter 11 of "The Iran Threat: President Ahmadinejad and the Coming Nuclear Crisis" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), Iran's ruling clerics would not hesitate to use them once the necessity arises. In the meantime the bomb would give the regime the leverage it seeks to establish a global Islamic rule.

"Excellent analysis! Thank you for a well-done report from an obviously knowledgeable source." — Mark

ALIREZA: Thank you Mark!

"Well said, Sir!" — Jacob

ALIREZA: Much thanks, Jacob. Iranian students are a leading voice of the people as they engage in massive anti-government demonstrations in Iran; they find is very encouraging when students echo their voice around the globe.

"Great article! It really lays it out. It was the first time I had heard that the MEK had a presence in Iraq and that they were a positive force. And, it was the first time that I heard definite numbers on Iranian payoffs in the Iraqi administration. It seems to me that the steps outlined in the article need to be taken aggressively and immediately. I don't know how Maliki plays into the equation but it seems that he would be kicked to the curb by the Iranians should they take power. If there is anything that we should have learned from the first five days of the 1979, 81 hostage crisis is that Iranians are:

1) Not united in the actions that they take, and do not communicate internally very well, and
2) Really do look to see for a strong reaction from the U.S. immediately after they have attempted a provocation." — Karel (Ithaca, NY)

ALIREZA: Dear Karel, The Iranian clerics' track record shows that they have consistently misused individuals when they served their purpose and discarded or even eliminated them later when their effectiveness expired. Prime Minister Maliki is no exception; the Iranian regime is using its leverage to take the most advantage of him so long as he serves Tehran's purposes."

"A simple question: Would it be possible to perhaps undermine Veevak in such a fashion that a purge occur that will wipe out the Quds division? I know that is the major bad player in this so that is why I ask. Take care, and be safe." — Roger

ALIREZA: Dear Roger, Despite repressive measures by Iran's secret police, the Veevak, and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp, the regime is vulnerable internally. There have been over 4000 anti-government demonstrations in Iran. Ultimately, only the Iranian people can solve this problem. The United States can play a helpful role by stopping Iran's operations in Iraq; act decisively to impose arms, oil, technological and diplomatic sanctions on Iran; and stop hindering the efforts of the Iranian opposition groups who are seeking change in Iran.

"Alireza, please let me first say, I have utter distain for the Iranian government, but have a great fondness and respect for the Persian people I've come across in my life. Do you see a possibility of a secular uprising in Iran? The polar opposite of what happened in 79..." — Florence

ALIREZA: Florence, Yes, absolutely. There have been some 4000 anti-government demonstrations in Iran within the past year, and they continue today. Students, women, teachers, labor unions, ethnic minorities — all these segments of society have been organizing and protesting for their rights. Instead of pursuing fruitless negotiations with the Iranian regime, the US, EU, and rest of the international community should be aiding the Iranian people by ostracizing the regime in Tehran. There is no need to appropriate money, send arms, or have American boots on the ground to affect change in Iran. Remember the third option, as I have discussed in chapter 12 of "The Iran Threat: President Ahmadinejad and the Coming Nuclear Crisis" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), which relies on the Iranian people for change has never been even tried before.

"Great article! Thanks you for your insights. I have been following the recent media coverage on U.S.-Iran negotiation. I noticed that most U.S. analysta and politicians are naïve and misinformed about Iran.

1. The issue between Iran and U.S. is not communication. Therefore, any talk in any level won't solve anything as you put it “goals are diametrically opposed."
2. Stable are means “democratic Iraq for U.S.” and “Fundamentalist Regime for Iran”. I noticed most of US media don't see the difference and they are focusing on just similarity in terminology (i.e. stable Iraq).
3. The fact that Iran is has global agenda for leading the Islamic world by terror most often overlooked by our media.

I look forward to your next book “Iran's 30 years policy of deception” and how lies and deception is rooted in their ideology." — Majid

ALIREZA: Dear Majid, You make important points. Thank you for your comments.

"Mr. Jafarzadeh, Your insight and observations were quite accurate and much appreciated. Most of what appeared in the media today was about what you had so meticulously articulated and predicted the day before. Please provide more insights. You seem to be the source of the most accurate and most reliable information on Iran." — Ideen

ALIREZA: Dear Ideen, Thanks for your kind words. I have tried to maintain my contacts with my sources in Iran, as they have been proven most accurate.

"Hello Alireza, I enjoyed reading your article. What is the likelihood that Iran has changed the Imam Ali Garrison's location since 2006? There is also an Imam Ali missile base which is in a completely different location. The situation in Iraq is very complex. With the time to stabilize Iraq being limited, it is good to have someone with your understanding of the situation in a position to make a difference in where the U.S. government focuses its efforts." — Ray (Seattle, WA)

ALIREZA: Dear Ray, Thanks for your well-researched comments. As of April 2007, the Imam Ali Garrison in Tehran was still being used for training Iraqi proxy groups for terrorist activities.

"Mr. Jafarzadeh, Where have you been? We need people like you to educate the American people on what is happening in Iraq. We have a major faction that keeps justifying pulling out on the statement that the Shiites and Sunnis are in a civil war while it has been more than obvious that Iran is sending in fighters through Syria. We are fighting Iran every day in Iraq. Iraq is just the battlefield, not the war, as you have pointed out. Do you think, as I do, that if we, the U.S., would just leave Iraq, there would be a bloodbath and not only in Iraq? With that large a base in the Mideast and if the following is correct, there would be a gigantic power in the Mideast of men and money that wants to conquer the world. Personally, I think that the Saudis are supplying the money but, due to their closeness to the U.S., are leaving the actual fighter training and personnel to Iran. It has been a thousand years since Saladin unified the Arabs and I hope that Mahmoud Ahmadinajad is not a new Saladin. He really reminds me of Hitler in that he is telling us what he will do. Now it is our responsibility to believe him." — Howard (Bardstown, KY)

ALIREZA: Dear Howard, Thanks for taking the time to write me. The Iranian regime's agenda is far beyond the region. Iraq is the most fertile ground for exporting their Islamic fundamentalist rule, and Ahmadinejad was selected by the Supreme Leader to lead the executive branch to accomplish two objectives; turning Iraq into an Islamic republic and giving the Ayatollahs their first nuclear bomb. "The Iran Threat: President Ahmadinejad and the Coming Nuclear Crisis" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007) extensively deals with the issues you raised.

"Dir Sir, I have enjoyed your work and would like more information if you can. Ever since 9-11 I have been under the 'Know your Enemy Gun.' What I mean by that is terror is not just anybody that is a Muslim or follows Islam. It is the character of that person that needs to be looked at. I have had many friends defend the Ron Paul statement of "America's Foreign Policy is bad thing statement." What is the best way to convince him? Our foreign policy is not the only thing that is wrong. It is the ideology that needs to be addressed. Any suggestions?" — David

ALIREZA: Dear David, Thanks for writing me, to address your questions, you may want to also read:

"The War of Ideas: Jihadism against Democracy" (Palgrave, 2007))
"Islamic Fundamentalism, The new Global Threat" (Seven Locks Press, 2001)
"The Iran Threat: President Ahmadinejad and the Coming Nuclear Crisis" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007)

"Hi Alireza, It's been a long time since I read such a great article, I hope the figures in authority at both sides will put their political party differences aside and deal with Iran in the right manner. Keep up the good work!" — Eben

ALIREZA: Dear Eben, I can't agree with you more. The need to counter the Iranian threat is beyond politics. Interestingly, there is a large bipartisan support in the United States Congress that seeks to counter the Iranian danger by removing the main Iranian opposition groups from the list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations. That bipartisan coalition needs to be further broadened and should also include the entire leadership of both parties.

"Dear Alireza, Great to read your opinion on! It is about time that the U.S. government lifted its head out of the sand, took off its gloves and made clear to the Iranian regime that enough is enough. The only way to deal with this regime is head on. As you say, the U.S. must remove the MEK from the FTO list. Maintaining restrictions on the greatest threat to the Iranian regime is not in the interests of the U.S., nor is it in the interests of peace and stability in Iraq, the Middle East region and the wider world. If the MEK is removed from the FTO list, the ground beneath the feet of the 'filth' that is the Revolutionary Guards will tremble. At the same time, the brave men and women of Iran who have for many months now been taking on the regime's oppressive forces on the streets of Iran will stand firm knowing that the organization that speaks for them and is the backbone of their struggle against the mullahs has had the greatest obstacle in its path removed. By the way, you should know that you have a lot of fans here in London and that a lot of people have become familiar with FOX through your involvement. Keep up the good work! I have no doubt that with your efforts and the efforts of your colleagues, the U.S. government will come to its senses sooner rather than later and will realize that no amount of talks or concessions will get the regime in Iran to change its evil ways. My simple message is to let the MEK and the Iranian people kick the scourge on humanity that is the mullahs' regime into the dustbin of history. That is in the interests of peace and stability in Iran, Iraq, the entire Middle East region and the rest of the world." — Masoud (London)

ALIREZA: Dear Masoud, Thank you for your kind words. You are right in saying the U.S. must finally stand up to the Iranian regime and stop placating it. As you say, everyone who is concerned for the stability and security of Iran, Iraq and the Middle East must make it clear to the U.S. government that enough is enough, and that Tehran must be held accountable for its defiance on the nuclear issue, intervention in Iraq, and suppression of its own population.

"Dear Sir, Once Iran gains hegemony in the neighborhood, is it not itself vulnerable to terrorism? Perhaps someone might bring in a suitcase-weapon (or two) to Tehran? That's the problem with trying to assert control. It's like the American game of loco played by children, where each person tries to run to the end zone, should they manage to gain possession of the ball; the person carrying the ball is opposed by every other player. Iran is loco in the psychotic sense, but also with the international game they're playing, too. Should we not remember that they have a potential Kurdish population, too, just as Turkey and Iraq? They could lose some of their own territory if they push the wrong buttons. And when they keep funding the Iraqi insurgency, don't they run the risk of alienating their own population, spending money that is therefore unavailable to the Iranian people? (It's been hard on President Bush for the same reasons, with American dollars and American debt.) Meanwhile, perhaps we should hold their 'diplomats' for, say, 444 days? Perhaps we should add to the collection of Iranian 'diplomats'? Maybe a couple dozen? A couple hundred? In any case, I suspect that the Iranians only have the power to destroy, not to build. It is a lot more expensive to build something than to reduce it to rubble." — Jim (Lynchburg, VA)

ALIREZA: Dear Jim, The vast majority of the Iranian people are opposed to the Iranian regime. Internal dissent is the Achilles heel of the Iranian regime. It is the younger generation of Iran as well as the defiant women who are the main preoccupation of the Iranian ruling clerics.

"No question, I just wanted to thank you for a well-written, in-depth article. I learned a great deal from it, which is quite unusual for an open-source article." — William (La Mesilla, NM)

ALIREZA: William, Thank you for the kind note!

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, and is on twitter @A_Jafarzadeh.