Iranian-born scholar Ali Alfoneh tells Newsmax.TV that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard has grabbed control of the Islamic republic’s nuclear program and “the ultimate security decision-making in Iran.”
Meanwhile, the Obama administration’s policies “embolden Iran to pursue its nuclear goals,” said Alfoneh, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and co-editor of the website Irantracker.org.
“They are pursuing a dual-track strategy, and playing a game of cat and mouse,” Alfoneh said in the exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV.
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Very few people were surprised last week when talks with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) broke down, he said. Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi denied inspectors access to nuclear sites during a two-day visit. The purpose of the trip was to restart negotiations between Iran and the United Nations and convince Iran to give up some control of its nuclear program, according to The Associated Press.
“The Islamic republic, on the one hand, wants to demonstrate a willingness to have negotiations with the five-plus-one group. It wants to demonstrate some degree of cooperativeness with the IAEA, but at the same time it also wants to continue its nuclear program to achieve its ultimate goal — the nuclear bomb,” Alfoneh said.
Government officials in Tehran maintain that Iran’s nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes. But Alfoneh, like many officials in the West, said that’s not true.
“I do not have any doubt that the end goal of the regime is creation of the bomb.”
Two of the main reasons the Iranian government is so eager to obtain a nuclear weapon are Pakistan and North Korea, Alfoneh said.
Although most of the world would describe those two nations as failed states, Alfoneh said Iran sees them as “tremendous success stories.”
“They have the bomb, and they are treated very, very carefully by the big powers of the world. The United States even gives military aid to Pakistan, despite the fact that Osama bin Laden was found in Pakistan and executed.
“That sends the wrong signal to Tehran. That sends the signal that, if they do get the bomb, they would be treated in a better way than otherwise. That is the fundamental problem.
“The path of diplomacy which the U.S. administration has chosen to use toward Iran has been counterproductive and is being misinterpreted in Tehran as a sign of weakness.
Another issue that deeply concerns Alfoneh, who fled the country with his family at age 15, is the recent power shift that saw the Islamic Revolutionary Guard gain even more control over the country, with its power now exceeding that of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, he said.
“The Islamic Revolutionary Guard corps is now in control of the nuclear program, U.N. negotiations, and any and all decisions that involve Israel,” Alfoneh said.
That makes Iran even more unpredictable and dangerous than it has been in recent memory, he insisted.
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