The ideal solution is for a democratization of Iran - James Woolsey


James Woolsey, former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency under President Clinton, took part on June 12th in a Policy Forum organized by "Foundation for Middle Eastern Studies" (FEMO) on "Policy on Iran and Countering Islamic Extremism". (video)

Among other participants to the conference held in Paris were Ambassador Lincoln Bloomfield Jr., former US Special Envoy and Assistant Secretary of State for Political Military Affairs, Olli Heinonen, former Deputy Director General of the IAEA, Bruno Tertrais, senior fellow at the French Foundation for Strategic Research (FRS), Alireza Jafarzadeh, Deputy Director of NCRI US Representative Office, author of the book, The Iran Threat: President Ahmadinejad and the Coming Nuclear Crisis, Howard Dean, former Governor of Vermont and Chair of the US Democratic Party, Linda Chavez, former Assistant to the U.S. President for Public Liaison, Ken Blackwell, former U.S. ambassador to the UN Human Rights Commission, Yves Thréard, Leader writer and columnist for the French daily Le Figaro, Frédéric Encel, Professor of international relations at the ESG Management School, Seminar Director at the French Institute of Geopolitics, Struan Stevenson, former president, European Parliament Delegation for Relations with Iraq.


James Woolsey, a national security and energy specialist, said in his remarks:

"Iran has not done anything to help us understand its previous military work, to acquiesce the development of its technology. They have not done anything to permit us looking towards the future to appear as if we're going to be able to have access to all sites, including military sites. Nothing of that they have said or done in the last year or so has been of use or utility to those who want to stop their progress toward nuclear power, whether it's here in the United States or among the brave Iranian dissidents in Iran.

I think that we will certainly be met by lots of "taghia" and lots of strategic maneuvering. The Persians invented chess, they are good at it. They are good at strategy and planning. And they will do everything humanly possible to get as quickly as possible to having a nuclear weapon while lying and deceiving us, their negotiating partner. I have been an advisor to one set of nuclear negotiations for the United states, a delegate to two, and then chief negotiator and ambassador to a fourth negotiation, the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe talks back in '89 to '91. I have studied arms control negotiations quite a bit. I have never seen anything close, even from the Soviets, to the lack of willingness to cooperate in anything that would be rational and reasonable as an ultimate agreement than this.

And I think that if we continue to delude ourselves, we will find in some months to a year or two that we wake up one morning and Iran has a country that now has a nuclear weapon or weapons, and is beginning to issue its edicts. Who will it order around next after it uses the Houthis, after it uses its control over Hezbollah, after it uses what it can orchestrate in Iraq? What will its next move be? Its next move will be bolstered by it being a nuclear power, by everyone realizing that now they have to make sure they don't offend Iran in any major way because it will play that nuclear card very, very shrewdly. We can be, I think, quite assured of that.

What can we do about it? Of course the ideal solution is for a democratization of Iran. And two years ago when asked what ought to happen? I would generally respond, yes, that ought to be our focus. I still like it being a major focus, but we are virtually out of time. I think we are going to have to prepare to use force against Iran, against not only its nuclear capabilities, but against all capabilities of the IRGC, Quds Force, the rest of its instruments of state power. We should do this and plan this in such a way that when we use force we do not damage any more than absolutely essential, the Iran civilian economy or civilian infrastructure. We might begin it by doubling all sanctions. Do we absolutely have to plan to use force effectively? Yes. Do we still hope we won't have to? I'm sure you would join me in hoping yes. But hope is not a strategy."