The Alternative to Ahmadinejad

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," June 16, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Look at this video, the biggest protest in Iran in 30 years. There is no end in sight. Already seven people are dead. Thousands upon thousands of Iranians fill the streets, protesting what they call a rigged election. Now, is this the start of a revolution?

Dr. Rob Sobhani, president of Caspian Energy Consulting, joins us. Nice to see you, Rob.


VAN SUSTEREN: Well, first of all, I mean, everyone has been about Ahmadinejad for the last couple years and how he wants to destroy Israel and how horrible he is. I agree. He's is horrible. But Mousavi? Is this much of an option for us? Who's he?

SOBHANI: Mousavi is a child of the Iranian revolution. He is a follower of the Ayatollah Khomeini. But the point here about Mousavi is this. He has become the instrument in the hands of the people. The people are using Mousavi to effect change, and that's the key to all this.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is he a good man?

SOBHANI: Mousavi is not going to change Iranian foreign policy...

VAN SUSTEREN: But I mean, like, what's his history? I mean -- I mean, I read that he, like, executed a thousand people.

SOBHANI: Well, in a timespan of three weeks in the early '80s, yes, there were 7,000 executions...

VAN SUSTEREN: Seven thousand executions?

SOBHANI: Yes. But the point about...

VAN SUSTEREN: That doesn't sound like a good -- can I just tell you that doesn't sound like a good choice. We have either Ahmadinejad, who wants to destroy Italy -- Israel, rather -- Italy!



VAN SUSTEREN: ... and wants to destroy Israel, and then we've got Mousavi, who actually oversaw the execution of 7,000 people in the '80s. That's the choice.

SOBHANI: And this is why I think we in the United States need to realize one thing and one thing very clearly. These are not free and fair elections. Imagine if the Supreme Court of the United States decides who runs for office?

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, we don't want to go there. We've had some dispute about that here in...


VAN SUSTEREN: But even if one of these two men is elected -- and there's not an option C, so to speak -- it's the ayatollah who actually runs the country of Iran, right? So it doesn't -- I mean, how much power does the president of Iran have?

SOBHANI: Well, here's the conventional wisdom I am not necessarily in agreement with. I think what you're seeing, Greta, is the ascendancy of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the military security forces, and Khamenei is actually coming down from that pedestal of the supreme leader. And what we're seeing is the overtaking of Khamenei in the next several months by the military security establishment and Ahmadinejad becoming firmly in control with the Ayatollah Khamenei as a puppet in his hand necessarily.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, you have spoken to people who are inside Iran now. What are they saying?

SOBHANI: They want everybody, including FOX News, all the other networks, BBC, Agence France Presse, to tell the story of the Iranian people, that they're protesting not for Mr. Mousavi but against the regime that over the 30 years has stifled economic freedom, social freedom, women's rights, religious minorities.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, let me ask you this. When this is all over, let's say Ahmadinejad wins. All those people who are, like, calling out and saying, you know -- you know, Report on this, (INAUDIBLE) I can't imagine things are going to look very good for them.


VAN SUSTEREN: I mean, not if you -- not if 7,000 were executed in the '80s by an unhappy politician, to say the least. The people who are now protesting now against the existing regime, if that existing regime is the one who ultimately wins, these people are in deep trouble.

SOBHANI: Yes. The regime will show no mercy. But that's...

VAN SUSTEREN: No mercy means death, right?


VAN SUSTEREN: I mean, let's -- I mean...


SOBHANI: Let's not joke about this. Yes. Absolutely.

VAN SUSTEREN: When you talk about no mercy, we're talking about they're going to be executed.

SOBHANI: Absolutely. I mean, when you have, basically, acid thrown in the face of women because their hair shows a little, you can imagine what they'll do to someone who's actually protesting against the regime. But this is where I think, putting President Obama aside, the United States Congress has a moral obligation as our representatives to stand up and say, We condemn this. The United States Congress...

VAN SUSTEREN: (INAUDIBLE) do they? I mean, like (INAUDIBLE) I mean - - I mean, do you think the -- do you think Ahmadinejad cares if our Congress says, We condemn you?

SOBHANI: Well, I think -- I think, Greta, he may not care, but I think those whom we see on the streets of Teheran -- that's what we're hearing from...

VAN SUSTEREN: The people.

SOBHANI: Absolutely. That's what we hear today.

VAN SUSTEREN: But are they getting information into Iran so that they're going to -- they're hearing this kind of thing?

SOBHANI: Absolutely. One of the best assets the United States government has is the Voice of America Persian language service. On any given night, Greta, 20 million Iranians are watching, 20 million!


SOBHANI: So we've got an asset, and we can use that asset. That's why I'm saying, if the U.S. Congress, if it gets on the bandwagon, supporting the Iranian -- that message will get into Iran via the Persian language...

VAN SUSTEREN: And that will inspire them. Anyway, thank you very much.

SOBHANI: Thank you very much.

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