Isfahan uranium conversion facility 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
An Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities would be a blessing for the
ayatollahs and would permanently silence the opposition to the Islamic Republic,
a visiting Iranian dissident told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.
attack would be a blessing for the Islamic Republic, a gift from God for them
because then they could use this type of attack to play the victim around the
world,” said Amir Abbas Fakhravar of the Confederation of Iranian Students
Fakhravar added that an Israeli attack would not bring about a
regime change in Tehran, and instead would bring Iran new sympathetic allies and
would give it legitimacy in the eyes of the public it lost after the contested
2009 presidential elections.
“After 2009 and the [pro-democracy] Green
Movement they lost their legitimacy in the country. It’s not hard to regain this
legitimacy after an Israeli attack,” Fakhravar said.
He added that for a
regime devoted to paranoid conspiracies blaming Israel for all of its peoples’
hardships, an Israeli attack would be all the proof that Tehran needs to focus
the eyes of the public on Israel, effectively silencing dissent within
Instead of military action, Fakhravar believes that if the
international community ensures tougher sanctions against Iran it can stop the
drive for a nuclear weapon.
He said the central component in Iran is oil
dollars, which give the regime the cash it needs to pay Basij militiamen and
Revolutionary Guard soldiers. If the money dries up, according to Fakhravar’s
logic, the regime would lack the means to pay its foot soldiers to crack down on
Fakhravar is in Israel along with CIS spokeswoman
Saghar Erica Kasraie.
Fakhravar said he spent five years in Iranian
prison for participating in student protests in 1999. During his imprisonment,
he was repeatedly tortured, he said. In 2006 he defected to the United States
and later founded the CIS and the Iranian Freedom Institute in
Fakhravar and Kasraie are in Israel for the first time. With
talk of a possible military confrontation with Iran dominating the public debate
in Israel, both spoke of their trip as an opportunity to present Israelis with a
human face of Iran.
Both described Israel as being different from what
they expected, namely, that it is not a fortress with security personnel on
every corner, rather, a place where people appear to live normal, happy
On Sunday, they toured Jerusalem, Bethlehem and a number of other
historical sites. Fakhravar said he interviewed Israelis he met for a weekly TV
show he produces, to show Iranians “that Israelis are normal human beings,
lovely people, and to show that we should have relations with
Kasraie said she has been intrigued by Israel so far, and said, “I
came to this country because I wanted to help bridge the gap and build bridges
She also said that in Iran the state-run media has spent
years “brainwashing the people to believe that Israel is such a monster and
these days, everything the government has made forbidden the Iranian people want
to question why. So I think our visit is important in helping break that
When asked what she thinks about an Israeli military strike on
Iran, Kasraie did not mince words.
“We want to make the message very
clear that a military attack will not help the opposition get rid of the
mullahs,” she said. “There’s a much cheaper alternative to war, to that kind of
military interaction, and that is an oil embargo, which would just take some
brave world leaders standing up to say, ‘Don’t buy Iranian oil.’”