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The Iranian Resistance is the only viable alternative to the 'tyrannical and unelected theocracy' ruling Iran, a leading US General has declared.

But while the regime is still in power, America must lead by example and stop rewarding Iran's 'lying' mullahs with the easing of sanctions and extended deadlines in the nuclear talks, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Hugh Shelton said.

He wrote in Newsweek magazine: "Since the 1990s, Iran has hoodwinked the international community over its nuclear program time and time again. And the current round of negotiations seems to offer more of the same subterfuge, foot-dragging and recalcitrance.

"But rather than use its economic leverage, the international community has rewarded the mullahs in Tehran with an extended deadline for the current talks (until November 24) and $2.8 billion in cash that was frozen as part of the sanctions program.

"America must lead by example and convince the rest of the international community to stand up for human rights, nuclear safety and universal values if it is to ever resolve the crisis caused by this tyrannical, unelected Iranian theocracy."

Iran's meddling in Lebanon, Gaza, Syria and Iraq had now left Tehran overstretched and the regime at its weakest point since it came to power in 1979, General Shelton said.

He added: "With this is mind, those in favor of an effective, pragmatic US foreign policy should stand up and say yes to negotiations but no to unearned concessions.

"President Hassan Rouhani has openly bragged on Iranian television that he deceived the international community about Iran’s nuclear ambitions and capabilities while he served as the regime’s chief negotiator. If past is prologue, we are turning a blind eye to his behavior at our own peril.

"We have sidelined support for the democratic opposition in Iran and ignored the regime’s atrocious human rights record, all in the name of talks that hold little prospect of success."

He also backed the call by NCRI president-elect Maryam Rajavi to shut down Iran's entire nuclear program and implement all UN Security Council resolutions regarding Iran.

He wrote: "The reality is that Tehran has been forced to retreat, albeit only one step, due to domestic isolation, international rejection and the weight of economic sanctions. However, the weakness, indecision and offering of concessions by the international community will only encourage the mullahs to resort to deceit, denial and concealment again.

"Rajavi had a valid point when she said that if the mullahs had the will, six months would have been sufficient to reach a comprehensive agreement on nuclear weapons development. The time for gesturing and posturing by Tehran is over.

"The mullahs should have forfeited their drive for nuclear weapons years ago. No one should be rewarded for stalling and haggling. Why should the mullahs be? One can only wonder why the Obama administration does not get it."

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