Those in the Bush administration believed they had achieved a dramatic breakthrough with Iran in 2006 and flew Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice up to New York to make the official announcement that Iran had agreed to halt its uranium enrichment, when at the last minute Iran backed out.
“In 2006, Condoleezza Rice and [Undersecretary of State] Nicholas Burns believed they had negotiated a grand bargain with Iran,” former Reagan administration adviser Michael Ledeen told a Capitol Hill audience on Tuesday.
Rice and Burns flew up to New York from Washington expecting to greet top Iranian presidential adviser Ali Larijani to make the announcement.
“Larijani was going to arrive. There was going to be a big ceremony. Iran was going to announce the suspension of its nuclear enrichment, and the United States was going to announce it was lifting the sanctions,” Ledeen told an audience in Congress for the premiere of the documentary, "Iranium."
Instead, Larijani’s plane never took off from Tehran, “which is what happened in every previous case, and what undoubtedly will happen in several future cases . . . Iran doesn’t want to deal with us,” Ledeen said. “It just wants to buy more time to add more weapons to its arsenal.”
Ledeen was joined by Reps. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., and Allen West, R-Fla., to introduce the new film, which sounds the alarm about Iran’s nuclear weapons programs and its proven track record of terrorism aimed against the United States and its own citizens.
“This is the most dangerous regime on the face of the earth,” Rep. Engel said.
In the film, released at 10 AMC theaters on Tuesday and available online, Engel said that nuclear weapons in the hands of Iran’s terrorist regime is such a serious threat that “failure is not an option.”
“The sooner we wake up to the threat, the sooner we can do something about it,” he said.
West warned that President Barack Obama was repeating the same mistakes with Egypt's Hosni Mubarak that led Jimmy Carter to support the overthrow of the Shah of Iran in 1979.
“The American people must wake up,” he said, echoing Engel. Referring to the Cold War theory of strategic deterrence, where the United States and the Soviet Union threatened each other with “mutual assured destruction,” he warned. “The MAD theory does not work with the mullahs. It’s time we recognized them as our enemy and that we confront them.”
Tehran reacted vigorously to the release of the new film, which features U.S. experts on Iran and archival footage of the Iranian revolution and Iran’s overseas terrorist operations.
Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman, Ramin Mehmanparast denounced the film during a press conference in Tehran on Tuesday, calling it an attempt to harm the progress of Iran's nuclear program.
Mehmanparast said the documentary "proves that certain Western countries are dismayed by [Iran's] peaceful nuclear activities," and creates "an unreal atmosphere in order to apply pressure on our policies. Public opinion will not fall for such fabricated, unreal facts," he said.
Canada’s National Archives canceled a pre-release screening last month following pressure and threats of violence from the Iranian embassy in Ottawa.
The Iranian regime actions prompted outrage from Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who sent a diplomatic protest to Tehran and made sure the film eventually was screened under tight security.
The BBC’s Persian Service ran excerpts of the film on Tuesday featuring a live interview with award-winning actress Shohreh Ashdagloo, who narrates the film, and clips from the documentary featuring me, and a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton.
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