By negotiating with Iran's rulers and ignoring the Iranian people, the United States is legitimizing an unpopular, unstable and hostile government whose population, meanwhile, craves a more open and less confrontational non-nuclear Iran, a dissident Iranian living in exile in the United States tells Newsmax TV.
"The U.S. has played a significant role in allowing the Iranian regime to survive," Alireza Jafarzadeh, of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner on Tuesday in a discussion of the stalled negotiations with the West over Iran's nuclear ambitions.
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Jafarzadeh said that Iranians have very visibly and forcefully expressed their contempt for the country's autocratic Islamist rulers — demonstrating en masse, for example, in the summer of 2009 in cities across the country.
"But unfortunately, the West has been too cozy with this regime," he said. "They waited for this regime to suppress the population [in 2009], to bring in the Revolutionary Guards, arrest and kill people so that they can go back to negotiations."
"When you have the policy of the West focused on keeping this regime as a legitimate partner, negotiating with them, talking with them and making no attempt to reach out to the Iranian opposition and population, that's what happens," said Jafarzadeh.
"Yet, this regime is highly unstable, highly unpopular and in big, big trouble," he said.
Iranian media outlets are predicting the possibility of a sequel to 2009's protests, he said, while the regime struggles with a global plunge in the price of its most valuable export — oil.
But even as the government bleeds revenue, it is boosting funding for the Revolutionary Guards, whose "main responsibility," according to Jafarzadeh, is keeping unrest in check — often by executing political opposition figures.
Executions under current Iranian President Hassan Rouhani are up compared to his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said Jafarzadeh.
A regime that fears its own people, and wonders how long the population will endure continued Western sanctions, might feel it has nothing to lose by stalling on nuclear negotiations long enough to complete — and then threaten to use — a nuclear arsenal, according to Jafarzadeh.
"Look at the behavior of this regime over the past three decades," he said, calling Iran in the post-Shah era merciless toward its own population and ambitious in its export of terror abroad.
"This is the worst, leading-state sponsor of terrorism, trying to acquire a nuclear capability for a purpose," said Jafarzadeh.
The way to prevent that outcome, he said, is to support the internal opposition and, at the same time, keep up the unyielding economic pressure that has forced Iran's rulers to the negotiating table.
For decades, said Jafarzadah, Iranians "have been wanting change," and a more Western society that the West has failed to help them achieve.
"They want to get rid of this regime in its entirety," he said of ordinary Iranians, "and they want a new Iran that would rely on the prosperity of the population, pursue a foreign policy based on co-existence with their neighbors, and a non-nuclear Iran, separation of church and state, and equal rights for men and women."
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