I doubt that the NYT will publish our letter to the editor about the recent op-ed piece by Alan Kuperman, so I am publishing it here.
Alan J. Kuperman writes that military action is the last hope for preventing Iran’s nuclear ambitions. His comment that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reneged his offer of a nuclear deal because of pressure from political opponents is a misinterpretation of the complex politics within the regime itself.
The opposition in Iran, as well as much of its population, does not want the West to negotiate with the Ahmadinejad government because they believe that it is illegitimate and that a nuclear deal would strengthen its position both domestically and internationally. The fact that for years the regime has sent inconsistent messages to nuclear negotiators is more a symptom of a deep rift within its own power structure than the result of opposition criticism.
We believe that a military strike would strengthen this regime, not weaken it. We also believe that it has been baiting the West for years now, knowing full well that it is losing the support of its population. It seeks a repeat of Iraq’s invasion of Iran, which unintentionally united the population behind the revolutionary regime.
If a democratic Iranian government were to come to power, the first things it is likely to do would be to 1) seek legitimacy in the international community and 2) look for ways to improve its flailing economy. A nuclear agreement offers both. The nuclear program is a huge financial drain and noncompliance with UN resolutions is preventing Iran from engaging with the world.
Sitting tight and allowing the population of Iran to express their own views is the best deterrent to a nuclear armed Iran. Bombing Iran now, when its population has taken to the streets in such great numbers to express their distrust of the current regime, would be a gift to Ahmadinejad and his ilk.
Tori Egherman and Kamran Ashtary