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Iranian Opposition Leader Tells U.S. to Leave Nuclear Program Alone

Once again, the Iranian opposition demonstrates that it’s comprised of Iranians. From The Times of London’s interview with Green leader Mehdi Karroubi:

In a surprising twist, however, Mehdi Karroubi warned the West against exploiting the regime’s weakness to strike a deal to halt a nuclear programme that was, he insisted, for peaceful purposes.

“Nuclear science and achieving peaceful nuclear technology is a right reserved for all NPT [Nuclear Proliferation Treaty] members,” he said. “We ask Western governments not to use this internal situation as a bargaining chip with the present Iranian Government to reach agreements which would undermine the rights of the Iranian people.”

The Obama administration has said repeatedly that it respects Iran’s right to peaceful nuclear energy, and even made a clever offer to the Iranians to have third-party countries enrich Iran’s uranium into a form unsuitable for a weapon. Iran has responded harshly to the proposal. In response, the administration and its allies are preparing punitive economic sanctions. Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), a leading congressional sanctions advocate, has suggested that Karroubi didn’t actually mean it when he rejected a new round of sanctions as harmful to the Iranian opposition. This interview ought to remove any doubt about Karroubi’s thinking.

If sanctions are that important, then they’re important enough to defy the express wishes of the Iranian opposition to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. But there ought to be no pretending that they’re in line with what the opposition wants, or that they don’t complicate the opposition’s position.

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