An Israeli strike on Iran will unite the Iranian people and delay the collapse of the current regime in Tehran, an Iranian exiled warned Wednesday at a conference held by University of Haifa.
Should the current unrest in Iran continue, the regime may be replaced by the end of the year, Dr. Mahmoud Karimi Hakak said.
The theater director fled Iran after an investigation was launched against him for presenting Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream without government approval. However, he has been visiting Iran until 2007 and says that he is allowed into the country as long as he pledges not to engage in theater. At this time he teaches at universities in the US.
Karimi Hakak said he is certain that Iranian leaders are "praying every day" for an Israel attack that would rally the people against an external enemy. He implored Israeli leaders not to get involved by attacking Tehran.
The best approach would be to target Iran indirectly, by banning its leaders' from traveling and freezing Iranian bank accounts, he said.
Referring to the ongoing unrest in Iran, the visiting director said there was no leading figure behind it, and that it was a case where the public prompts leaders to act and not the other way around. Turning his attention to pro-Ahmadinejad protests, the Iranian exile said that only about 15% of Iran's citizens genuinely back the religious regime or draw economic benefit from the government. He added that about 5-10% of pro-government protestors are prisoners, drug addicts, and prostitutes who were given a reduced sentence in exchange for attending the protests.
Karimi-Hakak is currently in Israel on a Fulbright Scholarship, and soon will be teaching in Israeli academic institutions.