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Monday, January 30, 2012

Iranian students claim Israeli strike would strengthen regime

Two Iranian student leaders who are visiting in Israel believe that an Israeli strike on Iran would strengthen the Islamist regime.
“An attack would be a blessing for the Islamic Republic, a gift from God for them because then they could use this type of attack to play the victim around the world,” said Amir Abbas Fakhravar of the Confederation of Iranian Students (CIS).

Fakhravar added that an Israeli attack would not bring about a regime change in Tehran, and instead would bring Iran new sympathetic allies and would give it legitimacy in the eyes of the public it lost after the contested 2009 presidential elections.

“After 2009 and the [pro-democracy] Green Movement they lost their legitimacy in the country. It’s not hard to regain this legitimacy after an Israeli attack,” Fakhravar said.

He added that for a regime devoted to paranoid conspiracies blaming Israel for all of its peoples’ hardships, an Israeli attack would be all the proof that Tehran needs to focus the eyes of the public on Israel, effectively silencing dissent within Iran.
The students advocate sanctions instead.
Instead of military action, Fakhravar believes that if the international community ensures tougher sanctions against Iran it can stop the drive for a nuclear weapon.

He said the central component in Iran is oil dollars, which give the regime the cash it needs to pay Basij militiamen and Revolutionary Guard soldiers. If the money dries up, according to Fakhravar’s logic, the regime would lack the means to pay its foot soldiers to crack down on unarmed demonstrators.

Fakhravar is in Israel along with CIS spokeswoman Saghar Erica Kasraie.
Sorry, but it's almost not relevant whether the Iranian people back the regime. First, there is no indication that the sanctions are having any effect on stopping Iran. Even if they 'can't pay the foot soldiers,' they will be able to bring in Hezbullah mercenaries from Lebanon as they did in 2009. And the mercenaries - who speak Arabic and not Persian - are likely to be even more ruthless to the local populace.

Second, it's late for sanctions. Strong sanctions might have had an effect if they had been implemented two or three years ago when the Obama administration was wasting time trying to 'engage' with Ahmadinejad. Instead, that time was wasted, and just in the last couple months (and over Obama's objections) we are seeing sanctions against Iranian oil. It may - likely is - too little too late.

Third, if we reach the point where we have to strike Iran or accept a nuclear-armed Iran, what the Iranian people think and whether they will resent Israel is irrelevant. Iran will have to be stopped. And if the US and the rest of the relatively free world won't do it, Israel will have no choice but to try.

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