Ahmadinejad
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Photo by AP
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Mohsen Sazegara, one of the founders of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and a former Deputy Prime Minister of Iran, has called on U.S. Jews to help refocus U.S. Administration efforts away from Iran’s nuclear program and toward changing the regime.

In an unprecedented appearance before the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations Sazegara – who was jailed four time in Tehran and went into exile in 2003 – said that Iran is “on the brink of implosion” because of a combination of the international sanctions and internal mismanagement by the government.

Sazegara chastised the Obama Administration’s decision not to intervene in the 2009 Green Revolution, describing it as “a great disappointment”. But he said that “beneath the surface there is a great anger burning across the land” and that the time has come to “reignite the revolution.”

Sazegara said that the U.S. was “focused on the wrong course” in its dealings with Tehran, because the regime “will never give up its nuclear program.” The only recourse, he said, was to “reach over their heads” to the Iranian people and to encourage a change in the regime.

Sazegara issued a stern warning against any military attack against Iran’s nuclear installations, saying that these would only “prolong the life of the regime, allow it to whip up nationalistic sentiments and to gain time to complete their nuclear program.” He added that Iran was “relying on Hezbollah to rain down thousands of missiles on Israel” within hours of an Israeli military attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Earlier, Deputy Prime Minister Sylvan Shalom said that “unlike many in the Israeli leadership” he continues to support international sanctions against Iran. He said that Israel is of the same mind with both the U.S. and the international community concerning Iranian intentions – though “we may have some misunderstandings about the timing.”

Shalom said that part of the problem facing tougher international sanctions is the refusal of both China and Russia to comply. He said that China was worried that the U.S. “would take over the entire Middle East” if Iran, Syria and Lebanon were to fall, and that it might “choke China off” oil supplies in a time of crisis.

On a separate issue, Shalom said that Palestinian Prime Minister Salaam Fayad sees himself as the proper successor to President Mahmoud Abbas, and that this is the reason that he has adopted increasingly hostile positions towards Israel lately.