Iran Renewing a Threat to Prosecute 15 British Sailors
Fox News, April 1, 2007
Greg Kelly: Iran renewing a threat to prosecute 15 British sailors for violating international law, allegedly. The country has held them captive for more than a week, they say for trespassing in its waters.
Kelly Wright: Fox News Contributor, Alireza Jafarzadeh is the author of The Iran Threat. He joins us now from DC. Alireza, good to see you this morning.
Alireza Jafarzadeh: Great to be here.
Kelly Wright: You gave us some startling information that we are just finding out about. You heard from some of your counterparts in Iran and they tell you an entirely different story other than what the government of Iran has been putting forth. What is that?
Alireza Jafarzadeh: Well, according to the sources of the Iranian opposition, the NCRI which have been proven accurate in the past and that also corroborates with everything else I have been hearing from my sources, Iran has preplanned the arrest of the British sailors, way in advance. It wasn’t a spontaneous incident, rather the night before the arrest of the British sailors, the command headquarters of the third unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp which covers that region was put on special alert. Top commanders of the Revolutionary Guards, including the commander of the navy and the commander of the third unit have been overseeing this whole operation and this is clearly an act on the part of Tehran to take these hostages, to use them for extortion and blackmail.
Greg Kelly: Expand on that if you would, Alireza. What is the motivation here? There is a lot going on here with the negotiation of the nuclear program. Why do this now if it was in fact planned as you suggest, weeks and perhaps months in advance?
Alireza Jafarzadeh: Well Greg the reason Iran has been doing this and been dragging this is because there are two reasons. One is the nuclear issue and the standoff with Security Council with the whole international community. Iran wants to proceed with its nuclear weapons program. The international community is trying to put pressure on Tehran to stop it. So Iran is using this against Britain. Why Britain? Because Britain was the leading country among the EU3, Britain, Germany, and France, who were negotiating over the nuclear program for the past three or four years, who introduced the resolution at the security council to impose sanctions on Iran. So they want to pressure Britain to back down from its position. The second reason is what is happening in Iraq. Iran is heavily involved in Iraq in the most violent way. A number of the top commanders of the Revolutionary Guard were arrested by the Americans only a couple of months ago in the northern part of Iraq. The Revolutionary Guards are also involved in Basra where the British forces are stationed. So Iran is using this as a preemptive measure to prevent the Britain from arresting its commanders of Revolutionary Guards in Iraq or perhaps to use this as a pressure point to release the Revolutionary Guards who are in the hands of the Americans now.
Kelly Wright: Given this new information then how do you perceive this coming to a conclusion, a conclusion that would release the fifteen British Sailors?
Alireza Jafarzadeh: I think the way it is going is not going to work. The Brits seem to want to emphasize heavily on the negotiations, and giving concessions. The British Foreign Secretary expressed her regret about this situation and this has further emboldened Tehran. Iran feels right now that these fifteen British sailors act as an asset in its hands. Therefore they would use them as much as they can. What we need to do is turn it into a major liability for Iran. And the ways to do it are three things. First the British government needs to get the other 27 members of the European Union involved by withdrawing their ambassadors from Tehran. Second, refer the issue to the Security Council. Get the Security Council involved, not just by putting out statements but coming up with meaningful measures. And third, get involved in Iraq. The Iranian Revolutionary Guards who have been roaming the whole country for the past few months and the Brits know where they are. They need to be arrested putting the regime on its back foot rather than its present offensive posture.
Alireza Jafarzadeh we thank you for joining us this
morning and revealing some new information to us
from your sources right there in Iran.
Alireza Jafarzadeh: Thank you very much.
Greg Kelly: Good to see you Sir.