Scott Ritter on US plans for regime change in Iran

Originally published 10/16/06:

Scott Ritter, the former UNSCOM weapons inspector in Iraq has written a new book on the White House’s plans for regime change in Iran, showing that we are on an unalterable path to war with Iran.  He was interviewed on and among other things said the following:

War. The bottom line is that the Bush administration has two more years left to govern here in the United States. They have a policy of regional transformation in the Middle East: regime change. We see that policy in play today in Iraq with all of its horrible manifestations. You’d think that they would have learned something, but they haven’t. They continue to articulate that Iran needs to be transformed into a viable democracy, although, according to your news broadcast today and then other news coming out, it looks like we’re going to give up on democracy in Iraq. Look, Bush has already said that he doesn’t want to leave Iran to the next president, that this is a problem he needs to solve now. And the other factor that we haven’t woven in here that we need to is the role played by Israel in pressuring the United States for a very aggressive stance against Iran. Israel has drawn a red line that says, not only will they not tolerate a nuclear weapons program in Iran, they will not tolerate anything dealing with nuclear energy, especially enrichment, that could be used in a nuclear program. So, even if Iran is telling the truth — Iran says, “We have no nuclear weapons program. We just want peaceful nuclear energy” — Israel says, “So long as Iran has any enrichment capability, this constitutes a threat to Israel,” and they are pressuring the United States to take forceful action.”

He also said: 

The true power in Iran rests with the Supreme Leader. The Supreme Leader is the Ayatollah Khamenei. He is supported by an organization called the Guardian Council. Then there’s another group called the Expediency Council. These are the people that control the military, the police, the nuclear program, all the instruments of power. And not only has the Supreme Leader issued a fatwa that says that nuclear weapons are not compatible with Islamic law, with the Shia belief system that he is responsible, in 2003 he actually reached out to the Bush administration via the Swiss embassy and said, “Look, we would like to normalize relations with the United States. We’d like to initiate a process that leads to a peace treaty between Israel and Iran.” Get this, Israel and Iran. He’s not saying, “We want to wipe Israel off the face of the earth.” He is saying, “We want peace with Israel.” And they were willing to put their nuclear program on the table. Why didn’t the Bush administration embrace this? Because that leads to a process of normalization, where the United States recognizes the legitimacy of the theocracy and is willing to peacefully coexist with the theocracy. That’s not the Bush administration’s position. They want the theocracy gone. They will do nothing that legitimizes that, nothing that sustains peace. They rejected peace. So, it’s not Ahmadinejad that represents the threat to international peace and security when it comes to American-Iranian relations. It’s the Bush administration, because the Bush administration refuses to put peace on the table. Bush talks about diplomacy. There will not be diplomacy, true diplomacy, until he puts Condoleezza Rice on an airplane, sends her to Tehran to talk to the Supreme Leader.”

Listen to the whole interview.  It’s 20 minutes long and is very good.

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