Q: Will increased pressure on Iran over the nuclear issue hurt or help the Green protest movement? Or the other way round: If Mahmoud Ahmadinejad compromises with the West, do you think it will help or hurt?
A: Honestly speaking, I have no such calculation in my mind. Generally, I do not agree with any pressure on any government because, at the end of the day, the ordinary people will suffer.
I believe to have access to nuclear science and technology and energy is our right – but within the accepted norms and dialogues of the IAEA. The problem is the government has made enemies for the country with such provocations as the Holocaust conference, with slogans about “death to this and that.” Such rhetoric is counterproductive for us on the nuclear issue. If we are transparent enough, why should we give up uranium enrichment?
Iranian opposition leader Mir-Hossein Moussavi said in a statement Monday that financial sanctions against Iran would just hit the people and not the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. “These sanctions would not be against a government but the people who have already been agonized by this government,” Moussavi said in a statement carried by several reformist websites.
Sanctions may or may not be in the U.S. interest. I’m dubious that they’d be an effective tool against the Iranian government’s nuclear ambitions. But even if we assume for the sake of argument that they’re a wise option, we still have to acknowledge that they’d be implemented against the expressed wishes of the Iranian opposition.