DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Tehran took center stage this week. A huge government crackdown on demonstrators as Tehran celebrated the Islamic revolution. Iran's president boasted about his nuclear program but international sanctions are looming. So let's talk about the future here. Trita Parsi of the National Iranian-American Council is in Washington. Also joining us is Karim Sadjadpour of the Carnegie Endowment in San Diego. Hey, good to see you.
Karim, I have to ask you this. We saw the crackdown and we saw that the current government was able to crack down on protesters. Where does this lead the green movement? What's next? What's going on for the green movement?
KARIM SADJADPOUR, CARNEGIE ENDOWMENT: It's a great question, Don. And I don't think the fundamentals have really changed. The government bussed in people from the provinces; they were ready for this day for a long time. But it's interesting, I was just looking at some Google Earth images and it looks like the government really exaggerated their support on that day.
And I think, Don, they probably know better than anyone about popular discontent in Iran because they didn't allow journalists to freely cover this event. I have no doubt that they also know that if people were allowed to freely assemble you would see crowds of upward of 5 million in Tehran and millions more throughout the country.
So I don't think the fundamentals have really changed all that much. The opposition's morale may be slightly dampened but I think they're going to continue onward.
LEMON: And Trita in your estimation how much, if at all, do you think this slows down the opposition, what happened last week?
TRITA PARSI, AUTHOR, "TREACHEROUS ALLIANCE": I think it's been quite exaggerated, this talk about the opposition facing a major defeat. At the end of the day this is going to be a long term cat- and-mouse game between the opposition and the government.
And the mere fact the game continues is in and of itself a defeat for the government because eight months, nine months after the fraud in elections this is still going on. Sometimes demonstrations are bigger, sometimes they're smaller. But any sense of normalcy the government is yet to be able to find.
LEMON: So, listen, Trita. We've talked about this before and we hear it a lot. People say that they want to hear something from the U.S. more from the administration. What will happen now with the U.S.-Iran relationship? Do you think we'll see major action here soon from the U.S.?
PARSI: Well, this has created significant problems for the Obama administration who initially wanted to go forward with diplomacy and find a way to resolve the nuclear issue. But at this point I think it's difficult to be able to have meaningful engagement, mindful of the fact the government over there is in a paralysis and no real big decision seems to be capable of being made over there.
At the same time perhaps we should also go a little bit more careful when it comes to some of these sanctions. It would be quite unhelpful to impose sanctions that will actually hurt the population rather than the government, particularly at a time when the population themselves, are showing such courage and doing everything they can to be able to change things in Iran.
LEMON: And Karim, the pictures from last week, the images and what happened there, does this change anything you think for the U.S.? Are we going to see any action here?
SADJADPOUR: I don't think it really fundamentally changes U.S. policy. I think there's very little confidence within the Obama administration that the Iranian government is amenable to some type of a sincere compromise on the nuclear program. But I do think moving forward, whereas a year ago when they were looking at sanctions and punitive measures they were looking at it only in the context of how the measures might alter Iran's nuclear calculations.
Now they're looking at these sanctions and punitive measures within the context of Iran's internal dynamics. If you notice, Don, the word that Hillary Clinton used a year ago, which was crippling sanction, has now been changed to targeted sanctions. And the target which they're focusing on is the Revolutionary Guards in Iran because really this is the entity that is managing the nuclear program. They're liaising with extremist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah and they're the ones who are brutalizing the population.
So I think the Revolutionary Guards are going to be the target of any measures moving forward.
LEMON: Karim Sadjadpour, Trita Parsi. Thank you both.
SADJADPOUR: Thank you, Don.