Coverage of the Iranian nuclear deal has abounded. It has also been dense and for the lay man or woman awfully confusing. For many the technical jargon of physics and biochemistry has distorted the true nature of the issue. What has emerged as crystal, however, is that Prime Minister Netanyahu is emphatically opposed, labeling the deal “not a historic agreement but a historic mistake.”
So what’s the deal all about and why the hysteria from Israel? Consider this a ‘dummies guide’ to the Geneva-deal and its vast implications for Israel.
In short, the US led P5+1 (UK, China, France, Russia, Germany) negotiated a deal with the Iranian government for a six-month interim period. In this agreement Iran must ‘freeze’ its nuclear enrichment programme and in return will receive approximately $7 billion in economic sanction relief. Essentially, the reprieve from economic sanctions is to come into effect before Iran has started to comply with its international legal obligations.
In no part of the agreement is there a requirement for transparency of Iran’s programme of manufacturing explosive devices. President Obama and Secretary Kerry have said that a permanent agreement which will defuse Iran’s nuclear and military ability will take hold after this six month period…somewhere down the track. Awfully vague isn’t it?
One thing that most sources appear to agree on is that the deal enables Iran to remain on the brink of nuclear capability. So the agreement seems to be made largely in good faith? I didn’t know we afforded the benefit of the doubt to regimes that avow to wipe Israel off the map and hold public hangings for homosexuals.
In her recent blog, Melanie Philips asks most reasonably; “So sanctions are currently being lifted in exchange for…what exactly? Nothing of any significance.”
She continues; ‘however much Kerry tries to deny it, the deal inescapably accepts that Iran will enrich uranium in a ‘mutually defined enrichment programme.”
I am in awe of Melanie Phillips. In an age where journalists are pitter-pattering around the issue, she isn’t scared to speak the truth and face the consequences. It amazes me that The Australian, The Age and countless international publications are still rehashing AFP and Reuter material that refer to Iran’s “alleged” or “suspected” nuclear program, as if everyone is scared of the backlash of calling it what it is- a lethal nuclear program.
THE ISSUES UNPACKED
1. ISRAEL ON THE FRONTLINE:
Most problematically, this deal gives legitimacy to Iran as an equal member of the community of nations. Rather than continue to ostracize and sanction Iran (which brought it to the negotiating table in the first place) this farcical agreement gives Iran a ‘freer hand’ to pursue its dangerous nuclear activities and other destructive agendas.
This is disastrous for Israel which is on the receiving end of Iran’s murderous threats.
In an opinion piece for the Jerusalem Post, David Harris sums it up better than I could.
“How can Israel – and the Gulf nations – roll over and play dead when what happens affects them far more than any of the P5+1 nations?”
He continues; “After all, it is Israel that has been the most frequent target of Iran’s anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic venom. It is Israel whose very existence has been questioned by Iran’s current leaders. It is Israel that has felt the long arm of Iran through Iranian-backed Hezbollah. And it is Israel that Iran seeks to wipe off the world map.”
Indeed, now more than ever this shows that Israel can only rely on itself, and this is something Prime Minister Netanyahu has emphasized numerous times.
In a speech given only in October, Khomeini emphasized Iran’s hatred for the West and Israel unashamedly;
“America’s animosity toward the Iranian nation and the Islamic Republic is not about the nuclear issue…The nuclear issue is a pretext. Before the nuclear program became an issue, the same animosity and disagreements existed — from the very beginning of the Islamic Republic. If someday the nuclear issue would be solved — let’s assume that the Islamic Republic has given up — [U.S. animosity] would not end. They come up with dozens of other pretexts: why do you have missiles, why do you have drones? Why do you hate the Zionist regime? Why don’t you recognize the Zionist regime? Why do you support resistance in the so-called ‘Middle East’? And why and why and why?”
What more do the P5+1 need as proof of Iran’s true agenda?
Furthermore, this allows for Iran to continue its support for Assad’s genocidal regime in Syria as well as for its proxy Hezbollah in Lebanon, however without the international spotlight. The threat this poses to Israel, which is very much on the front-line, is overwhelming. It sends a disastrous message to the Iranian regime that Israel is on its own.
2. MOMENTUM OF SANCTIONS HARD TO REINSTATE:
It was precisely the tightening of sanctions that brought Iran to the negotiating table in the first place. However, this momentum may prove extremely difficult to reinstate if the agreement falls through at the end of the six month period.
Rather than send a strong message of zero-tolerance to Iran, this absurd agreement affirms its ‘right’ to enrich uranium. This is something Tehran has already boasted to the international press relentlessly.
The Washington Institute wrote that on November 24 Rouhani sent a public letter to Khamenei offering his approval for the Geneva deal.
He wrote that the “undoubtable achievement of this agreement is the recognition of Iran’s nuclear rights” and “protection of its nuclear achievements,” in addition to “stopping the unjust sanctions, lifting some of the illegal pressures of unilateral sanctions, and beginning the destruction of the sanctions regime.”
Renowned Harvard law professor, Alan Dershowitz, labelled the deal“cataclysmic error of gigantic proportions”. I think we have hurt our sanction regime irretrievably by this measure,” he said.
3. NO PLAN FOR WHAT WILL OCCUR AT THE END OF THE SIX MONTHS:
The P5+1 have not put forward any united consensus about what will happen after the six month period. The guidelines of the deal tacitly recognize Iran’s ‘right’ to enrich uranium, as if this is a basic entitlement for a regime with its background. However, nowhere does the deal address the serious concerns of Israel and the other Gulf States of whether this deal will prevent Iran from the capacity to breakout to nuclear weapons.
Additionally, this makes the option of united military intervention seem less legitimate. As the prospect for military action diminishes, perhaps so will the urgency of the entire Iran issue.
The haphazard nature of the deal seems to reflect the view espoused by many; namely, that President Obama and Secretary Kerry have a preoccupation with overseeing some sort of solution to the Middle-East ‘problem’ and are willing to sell Israel out in the process. But this isn’t the place to bolster one’s ego or flex one’s muscles. This is real life and in real life Iran wants to wipe Israel off the map. Period.
David Harris encapsulated this sentiment perfectly when he quoted Former senior State Department official Nicholas Burns who wrote in the New York Times (Nov. 23),“[I]t’s in the American national interest to try to make this negotiation work. If it’s not in the Israeli interest or Saudi interest, so be it.” – Enough said.