Fox News Channel

November 25, 2004

 

A Look at Developments in Iranís Nuclear Program

 

Page Hopkins: Iran is apparently trying to get out of part of a nuclear agreement that Iran itself recently signed. So is Iran now able to make nuclear material that could be used in an atomic bomb? Well joining us from Washington Fox News foreign affairs analyst Alireza Jafarzedeh. Welcome, itís great to see you this thanksgiving, thanks for coming in.

 

 

Alireza Jafarzadeh: Thank you very much, Page. Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Page Hopkins: Thank you. Alireza, I want to ask you about this agreement that Iran made with European officials to stop Tehranís uranium enrichment program, at least temporarily. Doesnít this leave Iran still free to make plutonium?

 

Alireza Jafarzadeh: It certainly does. First of all, in terms of the uranium enrichment, itís not very clear exactly what is included. Iran is actually trying to push the envelope. They now say they want twenty some machines exempted so they can do research and development. After all they can announce that this was not a complete freeze of their program. But also it makes no mention of plutonium which is a parallel way of getting fissile material for a nuclear weapon and they have a huge facility in Arak; they have a heavy water facility. They are building a heavy water reactor there. So the gates are still very open.

 

Page Hopkins: And also, when we hear about this agreement, why should we believe Iran when they have been back stepping out of these agreements every inch of the way. They agree then they back paddle. Why even go through the motions?

 

Alireza Jafarzadeh: Well, thatís a good question Page. I think last year, in October, Iran shouldíve been referred to the UN Security Council. They made promises and they have violated their promises and they are making similar promises this time except that they have bought a year of time. They have made tremendous advances in this one year. They now have a uranium conversion facility in Isfahan; theyíve made parts; they have made a lot of advancement in Natanz. This is unacceptable.

 

 

Page Hopkins: Are those one of the facilities that according to the National Council of Resistance, Iran is running? Sort of a secret nuclear site, that has not been disclosed? Is that what you are talking about?

 

Alireza Jafarzadeh: Well, this is actually new information that came last week. The image you see is the site in Natanz, but the NCRI revealed a new site in Lavizan which they say has not been declared. This is run by the military. This is what you are looking at right now. Iran is now doing laser enrichment in this site. There is another site in Parchin which the opposition, the NCRI says that they are doing laser enrichment and Iím surprised that the International Atomic Energy Agency has not inspected these sites in light of the upcoming session of the IAEA.

 

Page Hopkins: What do you think it is going to take? Do you think it is going to take more inspectors on the ground inside Iran or more boots on the ground?

 

Alireza Jafarzadeh: Well, I think itís a combination of the two. I think the US should pursue a two-pronged strategy. On the one side, as far as the IAEA is concerned, they should insist on referring Iranís file to the UN Security Council. But on the political side, you need to tighten political screws on Iran. Iran will not take you seriously, will not abide by these regulations unless they are threatened. Their very existence is threatened. And the way to do it is not necessarily by sending troops or making military strikes, but rather reaching out to the Iranian opposition. Just last week there was a huge rally here on Capitol Hill. Thousands of Iranians who called for regime change in Iran. They said this is the sure way of ending Iranís nuclear threat, but also a sure way of ending the threat of the Iranian regime against its own population. They said the US should support Iranian opposition groups. This is something the US has not been doing. This is one thing we definitely need to focus on.

 

 

Page Hopkins: Well, it sure feels like Iran is the next frontier in the war on terror. Alireza Jafarzadeh, thank you so much for coming in and joining us today.

 

Alireza Jafarzadeh: Thank you very much Page. Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Page Hopkins: Happy Thanksgiving to you.

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