Foreign reactions to the Iran deal

Peace in no-one’s time

The capitulation to Iran by the Obama Administration and the P5+1 has affected of course not only Israel but many other countries, for better or for worse. Let’s hear what they have to say.

In news that’s not really surprising any more given the new geopolitical realities prevailing today. Gulf journalists have compared the West’s paralysis regarding Iran to their inability to deal with Nazi Germany pre-WWII (via Memri):

In his March 19, 2015 column in the Saudi Al-Jazirah daily, Dr. Hamza Al-Salem compared the “Iran of the ayatollahs” to Nazi Germany, and warned that the Nazis’ secret military buildup prior to World War II could be repeated in much the same way by Iran.

Al-Salem noted that in the 1930s, the Allies focused on rebuilding their economies following World War I, and chose to disregard the Nazi regime’s military buildup – even after the latter invaded Austria and Czechoslovakia – and thus enabled it to occupy all of Europe. He wrote that Iran is now secretly developing destructive technology, just as the Nazis had, and went on to warn that it could deceive and distract the world. He also compared the inaction and apparent paralysis of the Obama administration in this situation to that of the Allies prior to World War II.

Ahmad Al-Jarallah, editor of the English-language Kuwaiti newspaper Arab Times, compared the nuclear deal with Iran to the Munich Agreement signed with Hitler in 1938. He wrote that, just like Nazi Germany, Iran is managing to swindle the world and obtain a deal on its own terms. The only question that remains, he said, is which Arab country will take the place of Austria or Poland and be the first country to succumb to Iran’s expansionist ambitions.

Isn’t it surreal, not to mention slightly scary, that journalists from one of our ostensible enemies can see the reality more clearly than our purported allies?

The French of course are rubbing their hands with glee at the potential economic benefits of this perilous deal, and didn’t take long to jump on the bandwagon and stuff the consequences:

France’s foreign minister said Wednesday he had accepted an invitation to visit Iran after the deal on its nuclear program but did not give a date for the trip.

Laurent Fabius said his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif had “reinvited” him as the deal was clinched on Tuesday.

“I told him I would go to Iran so I will go to Iran,” Fabius told French radio.

France was considered the most skeptical of the six world powers negotiating the deal, but Fabius told newspaper Le Monde that the pact to curb Iran’s nuclear program was “sufficiently robust” to last 10 years.

Fabius noted that French firms were “very well thought of” in Iran but denied the nuclear deal was struck with an eye on business.

“Trade is very important. It fosters growth. It’s important for the Iranians, it’s important for us,” he said.

“But when the president of the Republic [Francois Hollande] and I took the strategic decision [to agree to a deal] … we did not take it for commercial reasons, but for strategic reasons because we wanted to avoid nuclear proliferation,” stressed the minister.

Uh-huh.

Still, at least the French are being transparent if not quite honest about their intentions, and in truth, since the deal is done, why should they not benefit?

And at least they didn’t slam Israel for its objections, unlike the British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond, who in a revoltingly sneering tirade in Parliament, more or less accused Israel of wanting war:

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond told parliament Tuesday that Israel would not have been satisfied with any agreement world powers reached with Iran, and announced he was heading to Israel to personally explain the nuclear deal to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“The question you have to ask yourself is what kind of a deal would have been welcomed in Tel Aviv. The answer of course is that Israel doesn’t want any deal with Iran,” Hammond told lawmakers ahead of his visit.

“Israel wants a permanent state of standoff, and I don’t believe that’s in the interests of the region. I don’t believe it’s in our interest,” Hammond said.

Dismissing Israeli objections to the agreement struck between Tehran and world powers on Tuesday, Hammond said he would speak to Netanyahu on Thursday “to convey our message about this deal directly.”

I have 2 thinks to say to Mr. Hammond: Firstly, he seems ot be ignorant of where our capital is. For your information, most dishonourable sir, it is in Jerusalem not Tel Aviv.

Secondly, the words you use are eerily reminiscent (coincidentally? I wonder) to those of the Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif:

Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif claims that Israel needs crises and conflicts in order to conceal its “aggressive acts against the people of the region,” Israel Radio reports.

In an interview with the Lebanese Al Mayadeen news channel, Zarif adds that “peace is an existential threat” to Israel.

Perhaps looking at the world through distorted glasses (not to mention antisemitic ones) is common to all Foreign Ministers?

David Horovitz has written a brilliant comeback to Hammond, but before I get to that, there is an interesting commentary by Obama’s unofficial mouthpiece Jeffrey Goldberg who is worried about the most important question regarding the Iran deal:

I have no doubt that this deal isn’t perfect. I’m worried, in particular, about the issue of intrusive inspections: How much visibility will the International Atomic Energy Agency (and, by the way, the CIA and other Western intelligence agencies) have into the Iranian nuclear program? How quickly will inspectors be able to visit sites they want to visit?  I’m also worried about the time-based, rather than condition-based, lifting of arms embargoes (the United States should never acquiesce to a flow of arms to a terror-sponsoring state), and about Iran’s ability to continue its research and development on ballistic missiles and other aspects of a nuclear program. I also believe that so-called “snapback” sanctions are a fiction: The U.S. could reimpose sanctions on Iran if Tehran cheats on the deal, but it would be reimposing these sanctions on what will be a much-richer country, one that could withstand such sanctions for quite a while.

Even Obama himself admits that Israel has legitimate security concerns, although obviously he doesn’t care enough about them to cancel the deal.

As for one of the other major players, Russia stands to benefit on the one hand but lose out on the other:

Moscow sees the deal, which offers Iran relief from sanctions in exchange for curbing its nuclear programme, as opening the way to selling Tehran missile defence systems and winning lucrative new nuclear energy contracts.

But it also creates uncertainty for Moscow as the reintroduction of Iranian oil onto world markets could push down global prices and cause further damage to Russia’s struggling economy, which is heavily dependent on oil exports.

Unsurprisingly, the Kremlin chose to stress the positives from the deal, clinched after marathon talks in Vienna between Iran and a group of countries including the United States and Russia, to reassure the Russian people they would see gains.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made clear Russia expected some reward for backing the deal, suggesting Washington should abandon plans to base missile defence systems in Europe.

“We all probably remember that in April 2009 in Prague President (Barack) Obama said that if the Iran nuclear programme issue is sorted out, then the task of creating the European part of the missile defence system will disappear,” he said.

Lavrov also held out the possibility of Russia selling arms to Iran soon, despite a weapons embargo that will remain for the next five years. “In the next five years deliveries of arms to Iran will be possible, under the conditions of the relevant procedures, notification and verification by the U.N. Security Council,” he said.

..

Some deals are already in place.

Russia agreed last November to build two more nuclear reactors in Iran, with the possibility of a further six, after years of cooperation over the construction of Iran’s Bushehr nuclear plant.

Moscow also said in April that it had started an oil-for-goods swap with Tehran under which it would buy up to 500,000 barrels of Iranian oil a day in return for cash, Russian goods and services.

Another area where Russia sees good prospects for trade is in arms. Soon after world powers and Iran reached an interim nuclear deal in April, Putin signed a decree lifting a ban on the delivery of S-300 anti-missile rocket systems to Iran.

Interfax news agency quoted a source “familiar with the situation” who made clear Moscow would go ahead with the S-300 sales even though the arms embargo remains.

None of this is good news for Israel. The S-300 anti-rocket system will make it much more difficult if not impossible for Israel to attack Iran’s nuclear installations. However Israel does retain some leverage since the Russians are eyeing Israel’s natural gas supply. A quid pro quo from Russia must be demanded by Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) meets with Canadian Foreign Minister Robert Nicholson in Jerusalem on June 3, 2015. (Emil Salman/POOL)

The one and only צדיק בסדום – righteous man in Sodom – is Canada, which announced that the deal notwithstanding, they are keeping their sanctions on Iran in place:

Canada’s Foreign Minister Rob Nicholson came out strongly in favor of Israel over the new Iran nuclear deal on Wednesday, saying that his country would maintain a policy of economic sanctions against Iran in spite of the accord signed Tuesday by Tehran and world powers.

“We will continue to judge Iran by its actions, not its words,” Nicholson said. “We will examine this deal further before taking any specific Canadian action.”

“Iran continues to be a significant threat to international peace and security owing to the regime’s nuclear ambitions, its continuing support for terrorism, its repeated calls for the destruction of Israel, and its disregard for basic human rights,” Nicholson said.

“Canada will continue to support the efforts of the International Atomic Energy Agency to monitor Iran’s compliance with its commitments,” he added.

Although Harper is caught in between two of his close allies — Israel and the US — on the Iran issue, it appears that he will stick beside the Jewish state in the short term, Canadian daily The Globe and Mail reported Tuesday, even though continued Canadian sanctions on Tehran will have little economic effect on the Iranian economy in any case.

Kol hakavod to Canada’s PM Harper, and FM Nicholson. At this stage their retaining sanctions becomes a matter of principle rather than effect, but nevertheless it is hugely appreciated by us in Israel. Would that all the world’s leaders would learn a lesson or two from Canada.

And now to David Horovitz’s brilliant rebuttal, not only of Philip Hammond’s disgusting insinuations about Israel preferring war to a deal, but also to Obama’s similar claim that there is no other possible deal. He writes “No, we don’t want war, and yes, there is a better deal”:

Three months ago, defending what he called the “historic” framework understandings reached with Iran …  US President Barack Obama planted a false and highly unpleasant insinuation. “It’s no secret,” the president declared in an April 2 address, “that the Israeli prime minister and I don’t agree about whether the United States should move forward with a peaceful resolution to the Iranian issue.” The nasty implication? That while America favors diplomacy to thwart Iran’s march to the bomb, Benjamin Netanyahu wants war.

In the House of Commons on Wednesday … Britain’s Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond escalated that false narrative by another few degrees. “The question you have to ask yourself is what kind of a deal would have been welcomed in Tel Aviv,” Hammond said in Parliament, and then continued, despicably, “The answer of course is that Israel doesn’t want any deal with Iran.”

Finally, later Wednesday, Obama cemented the foul misrepresentation of Israel’s stance. “There really are only two alternatives here,” the president correctly asserted at a press conference. “Either the issue of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon is resolved diplomatically through a negotiation, or it’s resolved through force, through war. Those are the options.” So far, true enough. But he went on to claim that the accord signed Tuesday was the best that could have been achieved — and that critics such as Netanyahu had failed to present viable alternative conditions. “What I haven’t heard is, what is your preferred alternative?” claimed the president, his voice full of injured good intention.

Well, here’s the truth.

First, Israel certainly does not favor the option of war over diplomacy in thwarting the ayatollahs’ patient march to the bomb. The last thing this country, this little sliver of decency on the edge of the brutal Middle East, wants or needs is more conflict. What it wanted, what it wants, is diplomacy that would effectively halt and reverse that Iranian nuclear march.

And second, of course there was a better deal to be done, and of course Netanyahu and Israel offered alternatives. Three prime examples:

Despite being slapped down intermittently by Secretary Kerry when it criticized the emerging deal, despite being told that it didn’t know what it was talking about and that specific objections to various clauses were based on inaccurate information, Israel most certainly did highlight these and other gaping holes in a deal that actually turned out to be still more flawed than anticipated. Israel most certainly did detail key changes that would render a deal more effective. (In April, the Israeli government made publicly available a document highlighting key areas of vital focus. Doubtless a great deal more Israeli input — all too evidently discarded input — was delivered in private.)

So, Secretary Hammond, it is simply false to claim that there was no deal that would have been acceptable to Israel. And, President Obama, it is false to claim that there was no viable better deal and that Israel did not detail viable alternatives.

Horovitz’s conclusion is scary and depressing:

Obama acknowledged on Wednesday that he couldn’t be sure his outreach to the ayatollahs was going to work. “My hope is that, building on this deal, we can continue to have conversations with Iran that incentivize them to behave differently in the region, to be less aggressive, less hostile, more cooperative, to operate the way we expect nations in the international community to behave,” he said. “But we’re not counting on it. So this deal is not contingent on Iran changing its behavior.”

That, of course, is the tragedy of this unconscionable, wrongheaded agreement. It is an act of unwarranted accommodation with a dark, dangerous and unreformable regime, and it is going to cost the free world dearly. To see ourselves being misrepresented and unjustly criticized by disingenuous leaders as this tragedy plays out, while we in Israel brace to battle against the repercussions of their insistent incompetence, is a contemptible case of adding insult to looming injury.

We haven’t heard the last of this pathetic deal as ti now has to fight its way through Congress. Let’s pray for a miracle that enough votes will be garnered for a Presidential veto override.

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5 Responses to Foreign reactions to the Iran deal

  1. JudyPt says:

    Why did our PM meet with the despicable FM Hammond he should have been declared persona non grata and not even allowed into Israel at all.Have we no pride ,we dont have to welcome such nasty speculaters in to our country.He only came to insult us on our home turf.

    • anneinpt says:

      He insulted us first in his home turf, in Parliament. And then hopped on a plane almost immediately, so there really wasn’t time to tell him not to come. Though I agree, he should have been turned back at the airport.

      On the hand I got a great deal of schadenfreude watching Bibi wipe the floor with him at the press conference.

  2. Earl says:

    Canada has a direct interest in constraining and sanctioning the mullahs: Canadian Zarah Kazemi was raped and murdered in Evan prison by the IRG. And mahdaviat nutters infuriate Canadian conservatives annually with their Judenhass-suffused “Quds” Day in Toronto.

    So, to his credit, PM Stephen Harper’s principled stand is to be lauded- and distinguished by the craven and feckless Brits and French in their obscene haste to sell out Western civilization through commerce with a Dark Ages, totalitarian regime.

    /agree with JudyPt- Hammond should not have been permitted entry to IL

    • anneinpt says:

      But the truth is EVERYONE has a direct interest in constraining the mullahs. Just looking at the evil they perpetrate throughout the world should be enough. There is an American journalist still imprisoned in Iran as well as a pastor. I’m sure other countries have nationals held hostage/imprisoned there too, if not in Iran then by their proxies.

      But it’s only Canada that took it on board and voted with principle, which only shows their courage even more boldly.

  3. Pingback: Britain’s rush to warm up relations with Iran | Anne's Opinions

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