Is Iran Nuke Promise Already Obsolete?
This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," Dec. 2, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We expect Iran to provide prompt and unrestricted access to the International Atomic Energy Agency (search). And we think this is an issue where Iran needs to try to demonstrate the truth and sincerity of its statements.
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JOHN GIBSON, HOST: Is a recent agreement with Iran over their nuclear program already obsolete, out of date, fini, kaput? Arms inspectors have new suspicions and now they want to sniff out a couple of Iranian military bases, but so far Tehran is not cooperating.
Ken Adelman (search) is a former U.N. Ambassador. He is also the former Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (search).
Ken, today's big question: so, it looks like Iran does have something to hide, doesn't it?
KEN ADELMAN, FORMER U.N. AMBASSADOR: Yes, it certainly does, John.
GIBSON: So, what are we supposed to do about this? We just came to an agreement — well the British, French and Germans did.
ADELMAN: Well, they did, yes because they believe that the way to handle this is negotiations.
GIBSON: Right. So there it is. The Iranians promised they wouldn't violate this again; there wouldn't be anymore secret locations where they were cooking up nuke bombs.
And now the IAEA wants to inspect a certain base, and the Iranians are saying no. So now what?
ADELMAN: Well, it's a new definition of promise that only lasted about 10 minutes, to tell you the truth, and they keep going back and forth.
I think the only long-term solution in here is what I would call regime change for the Iranian government, not by military means because that, I think, is near impossible, although the Iranians may not believe that, thank God.
But I think that we should take a play book from Poland in 1981, 1982, where Solidarity was very effective at bringing down the Communist government there. The more we could do in various ways to spread the democratic fever there in Iran, the better off we'd be.
GIBSON: Now, Ken as you well know, our European friends: the British, French and Germans, have been lecturing us about saber rattling and yelling at the Iranians and sort of threatening them, and insisting that their negotiating techniques would work much, much better.
So where is the whole idea of negotiating with the Iranians now?
ADELMAN: Well, John, I spent two-plus years at the United Nations representing the United States, and there are some problems that you can deal with there and there are lots of problems that you just can't.
When you have a regime like you have: these corrupt and tyrannical clerics in Iran, it's just not the kind of normal diplomacy that the British and the French and the Germans can be effective with. It's just not.
And these are people whose word you cannot take. These are people who will do anything to move ahead with the nuclear option. And, like I say, their promise lasts 10 minutes, which is a new definition of what a promise is.
GIBSON: You talk about regime change. I think a lot of Americans get scared about that. How do you do regime change without embarking on another military venture which we may not want to do right now?
ADELMAN: No, I don't want to do that. Like I say, I don't think the Iranians are exactly sure that we don't want to do that, but I think the military option is very, very confined if evident at all with Iran.
I think what you have is a people, the Iranians who want a democratic regime. Basically, they are the most pro-American country in populace — not the government but population — in the Middle East, except for Israel. They are sick of the corrupt and tyrannical clerics after — what is it, 25 or 30 years — right now.
So what do you do? What you do is you spread the democratic message. What you do is you broadcast in there. What you do is help them on the Internet. What you do is help democratic movements as much as you can, because the infrastructure is there, the desire is there.
They have had it with this regime, and I think you can have a situation where you're not reinforcing the government; you are, in a nice and sly manner, just like in Poland in '81 and '82, subverting the government.
GIBSON: OK. But what about more direct ways? We've got spooks; we have people operating on our behalf. You don't have to use the military. Do we have to just kind of blog them out of existence over the Internet or can we could something a little harder?
ADELMAN: No, I think that you have to blog them out, in your terms. I think that the Iranian people have to be empowered to change regimes. I think the desire is there, but if you're talking about a covert activity, I've never seen a covert activity succeed in a way in a country like Iran.
It's been vastly overestimated in all of these years.
GIBSON: We're breathing heavy about this. Quick answer: how bad is it if Iran gets the bomb?
GIBSON: Just bad?
GIBSON: Super bad?
ADELMAN: Well, I just think that it changes the dynamics. This is a regime that is irresponsible.
North Korea and Iran are the biggest headaches on the world stage today because they have a very unpredictable and irresponsible government; both of them do. They both are in areas that are very important areas in the world. And, God knows what would happen in the event of weapons of mass destruction in hands that are incompetent and tyrannical, and totally irresponsible. It is a nightmare of the future.
GIBSON: Ken Adelman, thanks very much. Ken, appreciate it. We'll talk to you again.
ADELMAN: OK, John.
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