August 18: The Iran sanctions

It is no wonder the Swiss are the first to jump on the bandwagon in lifting sanctions against Iran.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Iran sanctions
The analysis “Embracing Iran: The Swiss cheese sanctions policy” (August 16) is nothing new.
Switzerland dealt with the Nazis, opening its vaults to store looted treasures and gold. It is no wonder the Swiss are the first to jump on the bandwagon in lifting sanctions against Iran.
For neutral Switzerland, it is first and foremost the banks and government. The hell with the rest of the world.
Kiryat Motzkin
The core problem of the Iran deal is this: In 15 years’ time, the US will not be able to legitimately impose sanctions in response to intensive enrichment because such enrichment is legitimized by the deal. At that point, the only practical option for stopping Iran from moving rapidly to the bomb would be a surgical strike – and one that would be considered completely unjust given that Tehran was merely fulfilling its contractual rights.
Let us assume a perfect monitoring scorecard (a very generous assumption, given the truly astounding idea that Iran gets to send its own samples from Parchin). Yet in 15 years and 9 months, Iran will legitimately be right back to being three months from the bomb. In fact, contractually, it would be entitled to enrich all the way up to one month or even one week from the bomb.
If the deal is rejected, the US has the opportunity to continue to impose sanctions to get Iran to completely give up its nuclear program, or sign a much more long-term agreement. The notion that such a deal is unattainable is rubbish – Iran’s economy is in tatters and its incentive to reenter the world economy is enormous.
Let’s call a spade a spade. If the US and the world powers failed to get Iran to give up its nuclear program, it was because the military benefit of that program was too valuable. In that case, the US should have doubled the sanctions and brought Iran to its knees.
The road of sanctions was not traversed long enough. In 15 years, that option will no longer be on the table and the legitimacy of a surgical strike will be seriously undermined.
The writer is an economist.
Fundamental belief
Regarding “Thousands of haredim protest J’lem multiplex operating on Shabbat” (August 16), your reporter states that before the opening, Moshe Greidinger, CEO of parent company Cineworld PLC, exclaimed: “I believe in live-and-let-live, anytime it doesn’t hurt someone else.”
I am that “someone else,” and I, as well as many other residents of this city who are not necessarily haredi, know that Jerusalem is uniquely holy. We are truly hurt by this complex’s desecration of Shabbat, which is fundamental to this holiness.
Greidinger would be hurt if someone broke into his home and stole his money – which, after all, is fundamental to his beliefs. It’s the same thing with us.
Obama’s bullying
There are several Israeli journalists whose dislike of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is so intense that they will criticize him whatever he does or says.
Among them is Ben Caspit, who, in “Netanyahu versus Obama: Who will win?” (Observations, August 14), accuses the prime minister of placing Israel at risk of losing the support of America.
The agreement with Iran, which US President Barack Obama claims provides Israel with protection from a hostile enemy, is regarded by many notable authorities as enabling Iran to develop a nuclear bomb.
It does not require much imagination to realize that in 10 to 15 years, that country will indeed be able to destroy Israel.
It is vital for our own interests that Netanyahu does the most to obtain the approval of enough American legislators to overrule an Obama veto. If he antagonizes the president, so be it – in less than a year and a half there will be a new one, and all indications are that it will be someone who agrees with, and will maintain support for, Israel.
Bowing down to Obama’s bullying is not acceptable to me and probably the majority of Israeli citizens.
Tel Mond
Income inequality
Peter Georgescu’s “Capitalists, arise: We need to deal with income inequality” (Comment & Features, August 12) is very encouraging. It shows that there is concern among at least some of the economic elite about the growing inequality of wealth in the United States and much of the rest of the world.
Georgescu states that we are creating a caste system in which 40 percent of the population is permanently under water, another 40% is barely able to cover monthly expenses, and only 20% is relatively comfortable economically. He accurately diagnosis the situation as unsustainable and describes the prognosis as increasing social unrest and/or increasing government encroachment on the autonomy of the individual.
Where he falls short, however, is in his prescription. He proposes that the government provide tax incentives for private companies to raise the salaries of everyone making $80,000 per year or less. Aside from the many imprecisions of the idea, adopting it would simply create another government entitlement, this time paid through the private sector. It would also reach almost none of the lower 40% and only a portion of the middle 40%.
To address the cause of the problem rather than some of the symptoms, wealth must be distributed more equally through such mechanisms as cooperatives, employee stock ownership plans and community investment trusts. There are many successful examples of these mechanisms in North and South America, as well as in Europe.
Only in this way can the otherwise inevitable consequences of increasing inequality of wealth be avoided and the phenomenon itself reversed.
Zichron Ya’acov
The writer is a professor of economics and national security at the University of Haifa’s National Security Studies Center, and was for many years a director of the Center for Economic and Social Justice, a think tank that promotes the expansion of capital ownership.
That’s hot
The current heat wave afflicting Israel and many other countries is another wake-up call to the urgency of addressing climate change. Here are several reasons why we should be concerned: • 97% of climate scientists and 99.9% of peer-reviewed papers in respected scientific journals argue that climate change is real, is largely caused by human activities and poses great threats to humanity.
• Every decade since the 1970s has been warmer than the previous decade, and the 16 warmest years since temperature records were kept starting in 1880 have been since 1998.
• Polar icecaps and glaciers worldwide have been melting faster than scientific projections.
• There has been an increase in the number and severity of droughts, wildfires, storms and floods.
• Climate experts believe that we are close to a tipping point when climate change will spiral out of control.
• The Pentagon believes that climate change will increase the potential for world instability by reducing access to food and clean water.
The Israel Union for Environmental Defense has projected that unless major changes soon occur, climate change in Israel will cause an average temperature rise of up to five degrees Celsius, a 20-30 percent decrease in precipitation and a possible inundation of the coastal plain, where most Israelis live, due to a rising Mediterranean Sea.
New York