The agreement concluded yesterday between the P5 + 1 and Iran grants Iran two essentials for its nuclear program: time and money. While it calls for Iran to stop or slow various activities, it weakens sanctions without requiring Iran to dismantle any of its facilities. Israeli PM Netanyahu calls it a “historic mistake,” and says that Iran has “taken a significant step toward attaining the most dangerous weapon in the world.” Yuval Steinitz, Israel’s Minister of Intelligence said that it was based on “Iranian deception and [Western] self-delusion.”
Netanyahu has also said that Israel does not consider itself bound by the agreement. Israel was not a party to it (as Czechoslovakia was not a party to the Munich pact), and what he means is that Israel reserves the right to take action if Iran appears to be about to obtain nuclear capability.
This is strong talk, but quite sincere. Israel is not interested in further damaging its relationship with the US, and there is no reason for it to oppose the agreement other than the belief that it will bring Iran closer to achieving its goal. My guess is that the 6-month period of the interim agreement will not elapse without either Iran obtaining weapons capability, or Israel striking its nuclear facilities — despite the near-universal international condemnation this will evoke.
If Israel does hit Iran, many of her traditional enemies — the Sunni Arab bloc — will be pleased as punch. Of course, they won’t express their joy publicly nor will they become more reconciled to Israel’s continued existence, once the head is off the (Iranian) snake.
What is interesting to me is the depth of deception and betrayal of its Israeli ally by the Obama Administration. An AP report describes the process leading up to the deal:
The United States and Iran secretly engaged in a series of high-level, face-to-face talks over the past year, in a high-stakes diplomatic gamble by the Obama administration that paved the way for the historic deal sealed early Sunday in Geneva aimed at slowing Tehran’s nuclear program, The Associated Press has learned.
The discussions were kept hidden even from America’s closest friends, including its negotiating partners and Israel, until two months ago, and that may explain how the nuclear accord appeared to come together so quickly after years of stalemate and fierce hostility between Iran and the West. …
The talks were held in the Middle Eastern nation of Oman and elsewhere with only a tight circle of people in the know, the AP learned. Since March, Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and Jake Sullivan, Vice President Joe Biden’s top foreign policy adviser, have met at least five times with Iranian officials. …
Two secret meetings were organized immediately after Rouhani took office in August, with the specific goal of advancing the stalled nuclear talks with world powers. Another pair of meetings took place in October. …
As negotiators continued to talk behind the scenes, public speculation swirled over a possible meeting between Obama and Rouhani on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, which both attended in September in New York. Burns and Sullivan sought to arrange face-to-face talks, but the meeting never happened largely due to Iranian concerns, the officials said. Two days later, though, Obama and Rouhani spoke by phone — the first direct contact between a U.S. and Iranian leader in more than 30 years.
It was only after that Obama-Rouhani phone call that the U.S. began informing allies of the secret talks with Iran, the U.S. officials said.
Obama handled the most sensitive conversation himself, briefing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a Sept. 30 meeting at the White House. He informed Netanyahu only about the two summer meetings, not the March talks, in keeping with the White House’s promise only to tell allies about any discussions with Iran that were substantive.
In other words, the Obama Administration negotiated secretly for months with the regime that has called for the destruction of Israel countless times, and whose supreme leader recently called Israel “the rabid dog of the region” and said that Israelis “should not be called humans.” Obama informed his “ally” about it only two months before signing an agreement — an agreement that Israel believes sets the stage for Iran to threaten its existence.
Either the administration thinks the Israelis are wrong about the danger from Iran, or it doesn’t care. Secretary of State Kerry reportedly told members of the Senate Banking Committee to “stop listening to the Israelis on this.” And the White House recently claimed that the alternative to its deal will be a “march to war.” What they don’t say is that the result of appeasement is often also war, just war on worse terms.
I am going with “doesn’t care.” I’ve come to the conclusion that the administration believes that it is impossible to stop Iran — except by military means, which are off the table (despite what they say publicly) — and that it is possible to live with a nuclear Iran in the new ‘friendly’ atmosphere that they believe they have created by appeasing it.
From the start, President Obama and his advisers, almost to a man (or woman), have been unsympathetic to the idea of a Jewish state and to Israel in particular. Israel is, for them, if not an enemy at least an obstacle.
While you can deceive an enemy or obstacle, you can’t betray it. Betrayal is something that happens between friends or partners. And this administration has finally made it 100% clear that there is no such relationship.
Update [24 Nov 2044 PST]
Here is a good, short explanation of what is good and (mostly) bad about the deal.
Update [25 Nov 0844 PST]
Update [25 Nov 2249 PST]
Finally, here is a longer, 2-part discussion by J. E. Dyer, a retired Naval Intelligence officer.