NY Experts Warn, 'Don't Attack Iran'

A panel of New York-based experts on Iran warned Israel during a panel presentation this week not to attack Iran's nuclear plants.

Fern Sidman A7 NY, Chana Ya'ar,

 Nuclear scientists dealing with waste (illus
Nuclear scientists dealing with waste (illus
Israel news photo: Greenpeace.org

A panel of New York-based experts warned Israel this week not to attack the Islamic Republic during a panel discussion in advance of the United Nations release of its report on Iran's nuclear development activities.

Hours before the release of the much-awaited report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna on whether Iran is developing a nuclear explosive device, and thus threatening the entire world, the topic was addressed at a forum at the 92nd Street Y on Manhattan's Upper East Side.

Excerpts from the powerful 2011 documentary, "Iranium" documenting the genesis of Iran’s nuclear threat was screened before the 200 audience members.

Simulcast to a variety of venues around the country,the panel answered questions from audience members who were not present at the location.

Moderated by the film's director, Alex Traiman,  the panel consisted of Nazie Eftekhari, a prominent Iranian-American activist and the founder and CEO of The Araz Group, a family of companies that includes HealthEZ and America’s PPO.

Having grown up in Iran, Eftekhari is  focused on spotlighting the excessive human rights abuses against Iranian citizens that take place every day in her native country along with initiating a campaign of global support for the protection of the civil rights of Iranian dissidents.

Joining Ms. Eftekhari on the panel was former Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Perle who served during the Reagan administration.

Perle is a member of the Hudson Institute, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and the Center for Security Policy. He is also a resident fellow of the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research.

The panelists offered a historical overview of the progenitors of the Islamic revolution and political metamorphoses that have gripped Iran over the last century.

Condemning then-president Jimmy Carter for welcoming Khomeini and helping in the Shah's ouster, Eftekhari said she saw a glaring resemblance between the demonstrations leading to the Arab Spring and the Iranian revolution of 1979.

"As a liberal Democrat; as a supporter of Hillary Clinton and a fan of [President} Barack Obama, I was terribly upset and extremely disappointed to know that the leaders of my country did not stand up and speak out when the people of Iran exercised their rights of free speech and dissent in June of 2009, following the national elections,” she said. “Hillary Clinton has said that the leadership of those dissidents demonstrating in the streets of Teheran did not want help from the USA and I simply don't believe that."
Perle advocated “regime change,” saying, “Endless, feckless negotiations haven proven a failure with Iran." Recalling policy meetings he had with the late President Ronald Reagan, he commented, "After exploring various strategies vis-a-vis the Soviet Union, Reagan decided to bring down the Soviet Union and he was successful, and today, the US policy as it pertains to Iran should be the same."

Perle suggested "surgical strikes" on facilities and installations to avoid casualties and the death of large numbers of people. "Military containment is not a viable strategy. It essentially translates into an acceptance of Iran's nuclear capabilities. Destroying critical elements of their program would be the most efficient modality", he said.

Eftekhari exhorted the Jewish state not to fire the first salvo in what could materialize as a major Middle East conflagration.

"When I was studying in college in Iran, I warmly remember Israeli students studying there and the close friendships we developed. In Iran, Muslims and Jews at one time lived in peace and harmony. I remember the groups of Russian Jewish children that were smuggled out of the former Soviet Union and to Teheran on their way to Israel. We are like cousins in so many ways," said Eftekhari.

Referring to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as "a Holocausr denying midget", she added that the past 33 years have been an anomaly in the longstanding relationship between the people of Iran and the Jews.
Ms. Eftekhari suggested supporting a strike of Iranian oil workers for six weeks as a means of confrontation rather than an attack by Israel.

"We must understand the impact of propaganda being spewed forth by the Iranian regime. There are 77 million Iranians and they would hate Israel if an attack was launched,” she said. “The regime in Iran couldn't care less if they lost 100,000 of their own citizens as long as it produced hatred for Israel among the population."

She also expressed her approval of Israeli government kidnappings of Iranian nuclear scientists and said that their "extrication" was "a good thing" until they can go back to Iran to actually work on nuclear medicine.