Peace in our time

For those who cared to listen, Iran’s supreme leader wasn’t hiding his cards in his first public remarks about the accord this weekend.

By
July 21, 2015 20:57
3 minute read.
John Kerry and Zarif

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif as he prepares to leave the Austria Center in Vienna, Austria, on July 14, 2015, after the European Union, United States, and the rest of its P5+1 partners reached agreement on a plan to prevent Iran from obtai. (photo credit: STATE DEPARTMENT PHOTO)

 
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"An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last,” Winston Churchill once said.

This wise adage comes to mind listening to the seemingly endless spin and the rose-tinted prognosis Western leaders are putting forward about the Iranian nuclear deal.

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For those who cared to listen, Iran’s supreme leader wasn’t hiding his cards in his first public remarks about the accord this weekend.

“The Americans say they stopped Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon,” Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said at a prayer event marking the end of Ramadan. “They know it’s not true.”

“After 12 years of struggling with the Islamic republic, the result is that they have to bear the turning of thousands of centrifuges in the country,” he said.

Khamenei, who has the final word on Iranian policy, also unequivocally ruled out any regional cooperation with the US or the West.

THE agreement that the United States and other Western countries reached with Iran last week over its nuclear program – a country that openly calls for the destruction of the State of Israel and that tops the US State Department list as chief sponsor of international terrorism – is a dangerous and bad deal.

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Do not be deceived: the choices were not between this deal or war, as some suggest. This deal actually increases the chances of war.

An agreement which leaves Iran with its nuclear infrastructure intact – and on the threshold of becoming a nuclear state – and concomitantly infuses $150 billion into the Iranian economy due to the easing of sanctions is not a good agreement.

An accord which gives up the conventional arms and ballistic missile embargo in nuclear negotiations is not a good accord.

A deal which gives Iran 24 days to allow access to sites deemed suspicious is not a good deal. (So much for “anywhere anytime” inspections.) (Moreover, with cash pouring in, what’s a decade to wait out for the Iranians, who are known as masters of diplomatic sleight of hand and procrastination?) An accord which will set off a nuclear arms race in an already volatile region is not a good accord.

Little wonder the former Saudi intelligence chief and longtime Saudi ambassador to the US Prince Bandar bin Sultan has said that the agreement will “wreak havoc” in the Middle East.

OVER the years of negotiations, it has often seemed that the US administration wanted an agreement more than Iran.

Ironically, it was Iran – with its economy devastated by the economic sanctions put in place step by step over years and years – which stood its ground and the US which was constantly pushing back its benchmarks in the negotiation instead of using its leverage, namely the sting of sanctions.

It was as if the US was under the pressure to sign, not Iran.

How ironic that this accord was reached just days after Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani led a march of thousands of Iranians where cries of “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” were chanted and US and Israeli flags were burned.

WE are living in a dangerous region which has just become infinitely more dangerous. Seventy years after the end of World War II, more than six million Jews are now living in Israel. We are determined not to let history repeat itself – at all costs. We will defend ourselves.

It is our right. It is our duty. It is our moral obligation.

Newsflash: appeasement isn’t going to work; it never has.

The writer is Israel’s Minister for Social Equality.

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