WAR IS NOT THE BEST MEANS TO DEAL WITH IRANIAN MENACE: RICHARD PERLE

PARIS 28 Aug. (IPS) "Iranian (nuclear) weapons are certainly a very serious problem for the United States and we ought to find proper means to deal with it", according to a senior American policy analyst from the neo-conservatives.

In a lengthy interview published Thursday by the centrist French daily "Le Figaro", Mr. Richard Perle, a former Defence under secretary under former president Ronald Reagan explained that after 11 September, the United States can no more allow that "the worst kind of arms in the world be in the hands of the worst regimes in the world".

A former member of the Pentagonís Defence Policy Board, Mr. Perle is considered one of the most hawkish voices concerning threats posed by "rogue" regimes such as the Islamic Republic, Syria or North Korea.

His comments were made as international pressures increases on Tehran over its secret plans to produce an atomic arsenal, an accusation that Iran rejects, insisting that its present nuclear powered station that are under construction with the help of Russia are purely for civilian use, primarily producing electricity.

Observed that in case Washington would have to attack Iran, no nation, even Great Britain, USís only ally in the war against Iraq would refuse to join, Mr. Perle said he was not sure that today, war (on Iran) was the best of the means to deal with Iranian menace.

"However, I can assure you that in the US, the Congress is fully aware of the threats the regime of the Iranian mullahs presents for our nation", he added.

In his opinion, the present "chaos" in Iraq is due more to the lack of colonialist experience of the American administrations and less because of the result of the war. "Sure, we have not done all quite well (in Iraq). There has been mistakes and there will be more in the future. Invading a nation and administrate it is not in the American culture. We have no colonial experience of which we could draw a doctrine, therefore, our approach was an empiric one out of necessity", he explained.

He attributes the present widespread violence and sabotages to three groups of people: Members of the former Baíth ruling Party that have nowhere to go; the Muslim extremists for whom attacking American soldiers is part of a global terrorist strategy and common law criminal who were freed from prison by Saddam Hoseyn. "But the great majority of the Iraqis do not support any of these groups", he stated.

Known for his mistrust of the United Nations, Mr. Perle expressed openly his objection to have the UN involved in the administration of Iraq. "This is utterly a bad idea, for the simple reason that the United Nations did not succeed in any area where it had been put in charge. The UN is not a solution (for Iraq). And what would do a French division that an American division can not?"

Nevertheless, Mr. Perle, who is finishing a book on the Iraq war in his residence in south of France, remains optimistic on the future of the war-ravaged country. "The key is to hand over the power to the Iraqis the soonest possible. We had been late, but we have realized our mistake. Now, things goes on the right direction". ENDS PERLE 28803