Amidror: Still against deal, but Iran’s recovery slower than expected

"Everyone sees they continue with rocket-testing and sending and assisting terrorists all over the region. So investors worry that due to Iran’s behavior, that the US will do something."

Iran launches missile from undisclosed location (photo credit: REUTERS)
Iran launches missile from undisclosed location
(photo credit: REUTERS)
While former national security adviser Yaakov Amidror still believes the nuclear Iran deal is a bad one, he recently told The Jerusalem Post that Iran has not benefited as quickly from the sanctions relief as he expected.
Amidror, who today serves as a Rosshandler Fellow at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, was addressing the question why the Iranians are complaining so much about not receiving funds set to be unfrozen by the deal, while he and others continue to bash the deal and its sanctions relief as freeing up Iran’s terrorist ambitions and long-term nuclear plans.
He said he “did not realize how much investors are facing two dangers” when it comes to returning to doing business with Iran after the removal of sanctions.
“All of Iran is corrupt and inefficient,” said Amidror, which is one reason why Iran could have the spigot to foreign investment opened by the nuclear deal, but still have investors choosing to wait on the sidelines for now, preventing Iran from fully and immediately benefiting financially.
In that sense, investors’ fears of investing in Iran are not unique.
They are simply a standard fear with any country with wide corruption and predictability issues.
The second reason limiting Iran’s financial renaissance post-deal, which may be even more temporary – Amidror said days before the US elections – is that many investors will jump in only “after the US elections, when the US situation is clear... Investors want to see there will not be a big change.”
“Everyone sees they continue with rocket-testing and sending and assisting terrorists all over the region. So investors worry that due to Iran’s behavior, that the US will do something,” Amidror said. This could again negatively impact the investment picture in Iran.
All of this was in the context of Amidror still considering the deal highly problematic. He noted the Iran-Boeing agreement, which the US approved in September but has been held up due to Iran’s financing issues. Nevertheless, he is confident the Boeing deal will eventually open up business for Iran, because of the rationale that if a top US defense contractor can do business with Iran, anyone can.
He believes the deal has freed Iran to be more aggressive in the region and that, despite any temporary delay, new funds pouring into Iran would eventually only strengthen its ability to make trouble.
Even as he said he expects Iran to observe the terms of the deal for the next six to seven years, this was only a tactical move to maintain sanctions relief.
The big question would be how Israel, the US and others would handle Iran when the deal is near expiration, how sneaking violations would be monitored and how clearly Israel would communicate its security needs, including a need to strike in response to certain events.
He said it is critical to prepare for the worst and that new IDF contingency strike plans would need to be continually drawn up, as Iran’s military capabilities for resisting a strike develops.
Many have noted that on October 13, Iran acquired all of the remaining components from Russia for the S-300 air defense system, which could complicate any Israeli strike.
Others have noted the Islamic Republic’s missile test violations, its continued sponsoring of terrorism and other places where Iran is exploiting the deal’s loopholes.
Addressing the separate intelligence challenge of the Hamas tunnel threat from Gaza, Amidror said there was no simple and unidimensional answer.
Questioned about criticism from some experts that Israel has become too reliant on developing expensive technologies to detect and eliminate the tunnel threat, he said they key is “a combination of using new procedures, operational approaches and technology together.”
While agreeing that technology alone is not enough, he said it is a crucial new part of the ongoing race to quantify and confront Hamas’s tunnel capabilities.
“It is a problem for everyone and there is no easy solution,” he said, adding that just because tunnels have been used in warfare in the past, such as in the Vietnam War, it does not mean that anyone has come up with a perfect solution.