Bernard Lewis: Iranians oppose regime's nuke drive

Support for the Iranian nuclear project amongst the general public is "virtually disappearing" as Iran and the West head closer to confrontation over Teheran's drive for nuclear power, noted scholar Professor Bernard Lewis said Sunday. Speaking to The Jerusalem Post editorial board, Lewis, who is a professor emeritus at Princeton University and is in the country on a lecture tour, said Iranians were angry at the "squandering" of Iran's resources on Hizbullah, who fought a month-long war against Israel last summer. The average Iranian is angry at the current regime, and understands that the hard-line Ayatollahs are using the drive to become a nuclear power as a method for hardening its grip on power, Lewis said. Regime change in Iran, Lewis noted, was a possibility, if there was a concerted international effort to help opponents of the Iranian regime. Israel, Lewis added, should do everything it can, overtly and covertly, to advance regime change in Iran. "Israel Radio's Persian language broadcasts are picked up by many people in Iran, and, I am told by Iranians, is really the only broadcast people there believe," Lewis said. Furthermore, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad truly believes in the apocalyptic message he espouses. "This makes him very dangerous. The "Mutual Assured Destruction" is not a deterrent, but an inducement to him," Lewis said. He added that there was a palpable mood in the moderate Arab states, such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and the Gulf states, that cooperation was needed to thwart Iran's nuclear ambitions.