News Release

Confronting Iran


Sahimi is professor of chemical engineering at the University of Southern California. He co-wrote, with Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi, the Los Angeles Times op-ed “Defusing Iran with Democracy.” Sahimi said today: “The only way to have a peaceful resolution of Iran’s nuclear program is through negotiations without any preconditions and/or threats. Suspension of Iran’s uranium enrichment program can only be the result of negotiations, carried out in good faith by both sides, not as a precondition imposed on Iran through threats, sanction or coercion. In fact, it is exactly such threats that may have motivated Iranian leaders to develop the nuclear enrichment program. At the same time, such threats only unify the population behind a government which is, otherwise, unpopular. Iran is years away from making a nuclear bomb, if ever, and, therefore, there is ample time for diplomacy.”

MacMichael, a former analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency, is a member of the steering committee of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, which scrutinized Bush administration claims regarding Iraqi weapons of mass destruction beginning in 2002.

MacMichael’s most recent article is “Crisis Over Iran — Can It Be Defused?” in which he writes: “It is important to note that the ostensible reason for the U.S. and EU push is fear, indeed for many, conviction, that Iran, although a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty which prohibits member states from producing nuclear weapons, secretly intends to do so. Their government spokesmen continue to argue this case despite the fact that since 2003 Iran, fearful that the U.S. might subject it to the treatment given Iraq over that country’s supposed (but non-existent) nuclear weapons program, has submitted to extraordinary inspections of its facilities by the International Atomic Energy Agency under an ‘Additional Protocol’ going far beyond its obligations under the NPT. These inspections have resulted in repeated findings by the IAEA that Iran is in ‘substantial compliance’ with its NPT obligations. Granted, the IAEA has expressed displeasure that some past Iranian nuclear activities were not disclosed until establishment of the additional protocol, but IAEA chief Mohammed al-Baradei, even under heavy pressure from the U.S. and U.K. which tried to have him removed from his post, has stuck to his conclusions, receiving a Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his integrity. …

“Iran’s nuclear program is of long standing: In the 1960s the U.S. built for Iran — then ruled by the Shah who had been made sole ruler of Iran by the United States after a CIA-directed coup d’etat in 1953 overthrew the elected parliamentary government of Mohammed Mossadegh — its still-functioning nuclear research reactor in the center of Tehran.”

Erlich has reported from Iran and the Middle East for 20 years and is currently writing a book called The Iran Agenda. He said today: “I think Iran will reject international pressure and possible UN sanctions around the nuclear issue. Iran believes the U.S. is using claims of nuclear weapon development as an excuse to overthrow the Iranian government. They say that if Iran agreed tomorrow to stop all nuclear power development, the U.S. would raise new unreasonable demands. While the Bush administration and much of the major media imply that other countries will join the U.S. in imposing stringent sanctions on Iran, in fact, neither China, Russia nor much of Europe will do so. Once again the U.S. is isolated.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167