Former U.S. Attorney General Makes Case for Regime Change in Iran

May 24, 2012 4:40 pm 0 comments

America Israel Friendship League (AIFL) Chairman Kenneth Bialkin (left) welcomed former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey to a May 14 New York reunion for members of AIFL judicial missions to Israel. Photo: Maxine Dovere.

Former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey said the “ideal solution” to the Iranian nuclear threat is “regime change in Iran, [which] can certainly be a U.S. policy.”

“Israel is not equipped to do anything about it,” Mukasey said in an interview with JointMedia News Service. “The United States is. Regime change is the ultimately desirable outcome.”

Mukasey stressed the need to “assure that the particular problem with Iran is solved in a way that doesn’t result in its getting a nuclear weapon, [which] would enhance the prestige and stability of the current regime and increase its influence in that part of the world.”

High above New York’s Times Square on May 14, Mukasey headlined a unique group of American jurists—including federal, state and municipal judges, practicing attorneys, partners in prestigious law firms, and Harvard law students—who gathered to exchange recollections of their participation in America Israel Friendship League (AIFL)-sponsored missions to Israel. The reunion brought together a multi-generational group of alums of several AIFL judicial delegations, as the Americans shared ideas with their Israeli peers.

Through its programs, AIFL introduces both Jewish and non-Jewish American professionals, policy makers, leaders and future leaders in their fields to their Israeli cohorts, in order to foster a better mutual understanding and build lasting relationships. AIFL board member and chairman of its delegation committee, former New York Attorney General Robert Abrams, noted that the organization strives “to make friends for Israel and encourage understanding and appreciation of Israel in the American public.”

Mukasey, an active member of the New York Jewish community who served for 18 years as a judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, was only the second Jew to hold the office of U.S. Attorney General, President George W. Bush called him “clear-eyed about the threat our nation faces” and one who “knows what it takes to fight this war effectively, in a manner consistent with our laws and our Constitution.” Mukasey is currently a partner at Debevoise & Plimpton, a prominent international law firm.

Dr. Alex Grobman, AIFL’s executive director, called Mukasey’s presentation at the event a “sobering and profound discussion” and an indication of how “one of the leading judicial minds in America thinks about problems facing the country and threatening our security.”

In his years as a judge in the Southern District of New York, Mukasey presided over the criminal prosecution of Omar Abdel Rahman, “the blind sheikh,” sentencing him in 1996 to life in prison for plotting to blow up New York City landmarks. The judge stated that Rahman was trying to “spread death in a scale unseen in this country since the Civil War.”

JointMedia News Service asked Mukasey if he believed change could be fostered from within Iranian society, and what actions could promote such a transformation.

“The United States can put itself on the side of those in Iran working to that end,” Mukasey responded. “We can make it clear in our relationships with other countries that they cannot support the Iranian regime and that the United States will stand with them.”

“Even to have the U.S. president speak out will be valuable,” Mukasey added. “When events like 2009 [Iranin Green Movement] happen and the only thing that greets [anti-regime activists] is nothing—deafening silence—it’s a disaster. Anytime a foreign movement is greeted with silence, it’s got a problem.”

Mukasey noted that he has spoken out in behalf of having the MeK (Mujahedin-e Khalq), an Iranian opposition group now listed as a terrorist organization by United States State Department, “de-listed.” MeK, a Muslim group, originated prior to the 1979 Iranian revolution as a challenger to the Shah, and is a member of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).

The group had been allied with Saddam Hussein in Iraq. Mukasey described MeK as standing for a “democratic and secular, non-nuclear Iran with equal rights for women.” The group has “provided intelligence information about nuclear activity to the State Department,” he said.

Although the European Union has already removed MeK from its terrorist listing, any U.S. action will take a minimum of several months, State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland has said. Mukasey is not alone in his support of the MeK de-listing. James Jones, President Obama’s former national security chief, and James Woolsey, former CIA Director, are also on board with that effort. Additionally, an active advertising campaign has been promoting a change in the MeK’s designation, suggesting it is a democratic alternative to the current regime.

The Jerusalem Post reported that MeK supplied intelligence claims that Iran “is accelerating its nuclear weapons program.” Emanuele Ottolenghi, a Brussels-based Iran expert and senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, has said the new information on MeK could be a “game changer” in Western perceptions of Iran’s nuclear program.

“Until now, intelligence agencies and policymakers surmised that Iran sought civil nuclear energy but kept the option open for nuclear weapons, while pending a decision from its religious leaders,” Ottolenghi said. “These documents support the opposite conclusions—namely that Iran’s program was always military and its civil nuclear component was just a façade. Iran decided long ago to make nuclear weapons—the only question is when.”

Former U.S. Department of Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge and some 130 members of Congress also mirror Mukasey’s support of the MeK. Congressional supporters include Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Mukasey said making communications technology available to revolutionary activists, including cell phones is “essential.”

“This is all in the interest of the United States—promoting a decent kind of democratic rule,” he said.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Featured Music US & Canada EXCLUSIVE: Matisyahu’s Provides Most Extensive Analysis Yet of His Religious, Musical Evolution (INTERVIEW)

    EXCLUSIVE: Matisyahu’s Provides Most Extensive Analysis Yet of His Religious, Musical Evolution (INTERVIEW)

    Matisyahu got candid in an exclusive interview with The Algemeiner on Monday about his religious and musical journey – after shedding his Chassidic skin, yarmulke, long beard and all – from the start of his career in 2005 when he became a reggae superstar with hits King Without a Crown and Jerusalem. The singer-songwriter embarks on his Festival of Light tour this month, an annual Hanukkah event that stops in Montreal, New York, and other cities before ending in San Juan, [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Personalities ‘Sheriff of Mars’ Unveils Endearing Life of Jewish Music Star Hidden in the Fields of France

    ‘Sheriff of Mars’ Unveils Endearing Life of Jewish Music Star Hidden in the Fields of France

    JNS.org – It was an era of steel strings, guitar heroes, and storytellers—high on heroin, rebellious. Outlaw country music, the hallmark of Nashville’s powerful and angry music scene of the 1970s, was the brew of greats such as Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and Townes Van Zandt. But there is another, little-known music hero of that era: Daniel Antopolsky. A Jewish lad from Augusta, Ga.—the son of immigrants who settled in the south and ran a hardware store on Main Street—the [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Iranian Actress Replaces Israel’s Gal Gadot for ‘Ben-Hur’ Remake

    Iranian Actress Replaces Israel’s Gal Gadot for ‘Ben-Hur’ Remake

    Iranian actress Nazanin Boniadi replaced Israeli star Gal Gadot as the female lead in the new Ben-Hur remake, Hollywood.com reported on Tuesday. The Homeland actress will play Esther, a slave that Ben-Hur sets free and falls in love with. Gadot quit the movie when it became clear that filming conflicted with her schedule for the Man of Steel sequel. The Israeli actress plays Wonder Woman in the superhero film Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Actor Jack Huston takes on the [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Personalities Biography Sheds New Light on David Ben-Gurion’s Place in Jewish History

    Biography Sheds New Light on David Ben-Gurion’s Place in Jewish History

    JNS.org – There is one sentence in “Ben-Gurion: Father of Modern Israel” that made me sit up in surprise. I thought that I knew the basic facts about how Israel came into being, but while describing what it was like in the days and hours before the state was declared, author Anita Shapira provides one important anecdote I was not aware of. On the 12th of May, the Zionist Executive met to decide what to do. Moshe Sharrett had just returned [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada ‘Death of Klinghoffer’ Actress Compares Met Opera to ‘Schindler’s List’

    ‘Death of Klinghoffer’ Actress Compares Met Opera to ‘Schindler’s List’

    An actress starring in the controversial Met Opera The Death of Klinghoffer defended the show on Tuesday by comparing it to the 1993 Holocaust film Schindler’s List, New York Post reported. “To me, this was like [the movie] Schindler’s List. We make art so people won’t forget,’’ said the actress, who plays a captured passenger in the show and asked not to be identified. The Met Opera focuses on the infamous murder of Lower East Side Jewish resident Leon Klinghoffer, 69. The wheelchair-bound father of [...]

    Read more →
  • Analysis Arts and Culture Beyond ‘Klinghoffer’: Opera’s Composer, Librettist Have Broader Jewish Problem

    Beyond ‘Klinghoffer’: Opera’s Composer, Librettist Have Broader Jewish Problem

    JNS.org – One of the most controversial operas in recent memory, “The Death of Klinghoffer,” debuted Oct. 20 at New York’s Metropolitan Opera. The Met has scheduled seven more performances through November. The first staging did not occur without protest, as about 400 demonstrators—including Jewish communal and nationally recognized leaders—came to Lincoln Center to denounce the anti-Jewish and anti-Israel opera. “Klinghoffer,” the creation of composer John Adams and librettist Alice Goodman, premiered in 1991—with few additional stagings. The opera is based [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Israeli Actress Gal Gadot in Talks to Star in Ben-Hur Remake

    Israeli Actress Gal Gadot in Talks to Star in Ben-Hur Remake

    Israeli actress Gal Gadot is in negotiations to take on the female lead role in the remake of the 1959 classic Ben-Hur, according to The Hollywood Reporter. If the deal is finalized Gadot will play Esther, a slave and Ben-Hur’s love interest. Actor Jack Huston will star as the Jewish prince who is betrayed into slavery by his childhood friend Messala, played by Toby Kebbell. Ben-Hur fights for his freedom and vengeance with the help of Morgan Freeman’s character, who trains Ben-Hur how to win at chariot-racing. [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports Young Israelis Try to Crowd-Fund Their Way to Major League Baseball Playoffs

    Young Israelis Try to Crowd-Fund Their Way to Major League Baseball Playoffs

    JNS.org – Baseball, hot dogs, and apple pie are the American dream. So why do two young men who have built their lives in Israel have a GoFundMe crowd-funding webpage with the urgent message that they need $3,000 to travel to the U.S. to watch the Kansas City Royals and Baltimore Orioles square off for Major League Baseball’s (MLB) American League championship? Brothers Naftali and Yoni Schwartz, 27 and 25, respectively, are Kansas City natives. Even though they made aliyah with their [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.