Bush ad­viser slams US pol­icy on Iran

The Jewish Chronicle - - World News - BY DANIELLA PELED

UNITED STATES pol­icy to­wards Iran’s nu­clear de­vel­op­ment through­out Pres­i­dent Ge­orge Bush’s pres­i­dency has had “zero suc­cess”, ac­cord­ing to lead­ing neo-con­ser­va­tive strate­gist Richard Perle.

“This ad­min­is­tra­tion has been ne­go­ti­at­ing for seven years and the Ira­ni­ans are seven years closer [to nu­clear power],” he told the JC on Wed­nes­day. “The ne­go­ti­a­tions have had zero suc­cess, the pro­gram­me­con­tin­ues,andthere­comes a point where you have to recog­nise you are bark­ing up the wrong tree.”

“Far more ro­bust” sanc­tions should now be com­bined with “sup­port for those Ira­ni­ans who want to change the Ira­nian regime — and there are a lot of them”, con­tin­ued Mr Perle, who was a key ad­viser to Pres­i­dent Bush and a vo­cal sup­porter of regime change in Iraq.

While ex­press­ing hopes that the sit­u­a­tion would not lead to mil­i­tary ac­tion against Iran, he warned that this might be needed if other tac­tics failed to pre­vent the coun­try de­vel­op­ing nu­clear arms.

And Mr Perle, a for­mer as­sis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defence to Pres­i­dent Rea­gan, pre­dicted that such a move would have an un­ex­pected level of both in­ter­na­tional and do­mes­tic sup­port.

“On this is­sue, I think the Democrats are a lot closer to Bush than on Iraq.”

As for in­ter­na­tional sup­port, apart from a “greatly re­lieved” Is­rael, “the peo­ple who would cheer most — silently — are the Saudis and the Gulf states. They are ter­ri­fied of Iran, al­though they’d never ad­mit it, of course.”

Mr Perle, cur­rently a fel­low at the Amer­i­can En­ter­prise In­sti­tute think­tank, is due in Lon­don on Sun­day to ad­dress a Henry Jack­son So­ci­ety meet­ing in Finch­ley Syn­a­gogue on the forth­com­ing An­napo­lis con­fer­ence. He said that his hopes for peace were cur­rently low.

“Like ev­ery­one else, I would love to see progress to­wards an agree­ment with the Is­raelis and Pales­tini­ans, but I think the prospects are very dim.”

This was due, he said, to a com­bi­na­tion of Fatah and Ha­mas ri­valry, Prime Min­is­ter Ehud Olmert’s weak­ness, and Pales­tinian un­will­ing­ness to recog­nise a Jewish state.

PHOTO: AP

For­mer mil­i­tary an­a­lyst Richard Perle: ne­go­ti­a­tions have failed to de­rail Tehran’s nu­clear am­bi­tions

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