Iran Wants to Kill Us, Scholar Says
By Kevin Mooney
CNSNews.com Staff Writer
November 17, 2006
(CNSNews.com) – Negotiations styled to placate European sensibilities will not bring an end to Iran”s nuclear drive, because the regime in Tehran is determined to kill Americans, a scholar said Thursday.
Iran has been at war with the United States for the past 27 years, Michael Ledeen of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) said during a panel discussion at a GOPAC meeting in Washington, D.C.
Rather than responding in a forceful manner, he said, U.S. policymakers had fallen back on “talks” that have proven to be ineffective throughout succeeding administrations.
“Future historians will marvel at what has transpired between the U.S. and Iran,” Ledeen said. “The U.S. has done nothing except talk.”
He compared negotiating with Iran to a scene in the 1964 James Bond movie, Goldfinger.
“Bond is lying on a block of gold, and this laser beam comes up toward his reproductive organs, and Bond at a certain point looks up and says to the bad guy, “do you expect me to talk?” And the bad guy says, “No Mr. Bond, I expect you to die.” This is the problem with negotiating with Iranians. They don’t want to talk to us. They want to kill us.”
Ledeen was joined in the discussion by Daniel Pipes of the Middle East Forum and John Lenczowski of the Institute of World Politics.
Pipes said it would be necessary in the near future for an American president – perhaps the current one – to decide between allowing Iran to go forward with its nuclear program to the point where it is consummated or to move aggressively to halt the program.
“It would be a painful decision,” Ledeen acknowledged. “It would be painful economically – the price of oil would soar.”
Pipes, too, said he did not have much faith in negotiations or in the possibility of an “internal break” taking place that would work against the current regime in Iran.
Iran”s nuclear ambitions were driven by an “an apocalyptic mindset” that saw only victory and did not entertain the possibility of losing a conflict with the West, Pipes argued.
Pipes conceded there would be an intense international reaction against any U.S. military strike aimed at removing Iran”s nuclear capacity but said the alternative of allowing Tehran to obtain nuclear weapons would present a “plethora” of problems – including the distinct possibility that Iran would actually use the weapon.
The panelists also examined the situation in Iraq. Pipes said he supported the toppling of Saddam Hussein”s regime, but U.S. officials had made “conceptual errors” in the aftermath.
After living for 30 years under a “Stalinist regime,” it was unrealistic to expect Iraqis to establish a genuine democratic government in the span of just a few months, or even a few years, he said. Such a process could take several decades.
Pipes said he would like to see U.S. troops deployed “outside of inhabited areas” but remaining in the country, to prevent “large-scale atrocities” and to help secure the borders.
Lenczowski said he favors policies aimed at the “decapitation” of dangerous regimes but stopping short of involving the U.S. in the internal politics of another nation.
Lenczowski also called for an “integrated strategy” of political and psychological communication, which he said would advance U.S. ideals in the Middle East and elsewhere.
“Lawyers are running our foreign policy, and they are preventing us from entering the battle of ideas,” he said.