}

What about Iran? Former CIA Director Gives His Opinion

Here at the Herzliya Conference, there hasn’t yet been a panel fully devoted to Iran (that comes tomorrow). But you can tell that its on a lot of people’s minds. Even in speeches not directly relating to Iran, Iranian nuclear ambitions are discussed. So, what about Iran?

The most direct response, thus far, has been James Woolsey, the former director of the CIA. He was interviewed on IDC radio here at the Herzliya Conference at the IDC by David Saranga. When asked what advice he would give to Prime Minister Netanyahu, he said that Israel should urge the U.S. to implement tough sanctions on Iran, even without UN approval. He noted that China would likely veto anything significant in the Security Council, so UN approval may be essentially impossible. Nonetheless, the US should bring together a group of like-minded nations to impose a total economic boycott on anything connected to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, which is approximately one third of the Iranian economy. This should not merely be containment on nuclear issues. As an example, he brought up banking. He said that the US and its partners should not allow their banks to have correspondent banking relationships with any banks anywhere in the world which do business with Iran. He clarified that he isn’t referring to preventing shipments of pharmaceuticals or food shipments, but rather things that directly benefit the Revolutionary Guard. This would not only decrease the likelihood of Iran proceeding with its nuclear ambitions, but it would, also, show support for the “brave students and reformers… who are getting tortured and killed” for protesting against the Iranian regime. If the government should change before it reaches its nuclear aims, this would discredit radical Islam. Moreover, the US should have laws which are both green and security oriented. For example, decreasing emissions should also decrease dependence on foreign oil, and oil is the “life blood” of terrorism and hostility to democracy. Also, a decrease in oil sales would decrease the monetary funds available to Iran and other nations to use for funding Hezbollah, the Taliban, and Hamas.

Others who have discussed Iran included the IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Benny Gatz, and the Russian Ambassador to Sweden, Igor Neverov.

For a deeper explanation of  Woolsey’s view that climate control, when it comes to oil, is a matter of national security, see his interview with Leadel here.

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