On October 30, 2007, Carnegie's Karim Sadjadpour testified before the Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs at a hearing on "Iran: Reality, Opinions, and Consequences.”  

 

Click on the PDF icon above to read Sadjadpour's written testimony.

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Sadjadpour explained the views of the Iranian people and the effect those views have on Iranian and U.S. foreign policy. He made the following points:

 

  • The discontent in Iran is deeply felt, widespread, and largely economic, but factors such as the Iraq war have tempered Iranian desire for abrupt change.
  • Tehran is not a microcosm of Iran.
  • Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has failed to deliver on campaign promises, but his fate is uncertain.
  • The degree of popular support for the nuclear issue has been exaggerated.
  • The government’s enmity toward the U.S. and Israel doesn’t resonate on the Iranian street, but the U.S. has lost political capital among Iranians.
  • The Iranian public has little impact on the country’s foreign policy.

Outlining the implications for U.S. foreign policy he said:

  • In the current climate, U.S. democracy promotion efforts have been unconstructive and counterproductive.
  • Objective, professional, Persian-language news sources would be well-received in Iran.
  • A sudden upheaval or abrupt political change is unlikely to be for the better.
  • The United States should make it clear that it has no intention of undermining Iran’s territorial integrity.
  • Altering democracy promotion efforts does not mean indifference to human rights abuses.