Iran deal: Echo chamber is getting louder to rejoin the deal - opinion

The hard Left is revving its engines in support of a soft nuclear deal with Iran mainly by attacks on Netanyahu

Iranians shout slogans during a protest against President Donald Trump's decision to walk out of a 2015 nuclear deal, in Tehran, Iran, May 11, 2018. (photo credit: REUTERS/TASNIM NEWS AGENCY)
Iranians shout slogans during a protest against President Donald Trump's decision to walk out of a 2015 nuclear deal, in Tehran, Iran, May 11, 2018.
 It is not too early to discern the “echo chamber” messaging in support of a repeat nuclear deal with Iran. This must be debunked and emphatically so, before it becomes predominant in Washington and Tel Aviv.
Indeed, the hard Left in the US and Israel is revving its engines in support of a soft deal with Iran, mainly by attacks on Netanyahu. Their emerging points are: 1. Iran can not be blocked from building a nuclear bomb by military means. 2. Nevertheless, Israel’s prime minister is sabotaging US President Biden’s diplomatic negotiations with Iran to force the US into war with Iran. 3. This is due partially/mainly for his own narrow political purposes to manufacture a security crisis to benefit him at the polls.
Each of these arguments is wrong, and perversely so; meaning that the people making these arguments must be considered propagandists who have an ax to grind because they are intentionally making outrageous and unsubstantiated statements.
After last week’s American “outing” of a supposedly Israeli commando strike on an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps intelligence ship in the Red Sea, there was an avalanche of “expert” punditry in the US accusing Israel of causing trouble while nuclear peace talks with Iran were underway. The crescendo of criticism grew after somebody blew up the Natanz nuclear facility, and Iran responded by announcing its intention to begin enriching uranium to 60% purity – which is very close to bomb-grade material.
Sen. Chris Murphy (D.-Connecticut), immediately tweeted “It should go without saying that there is no viable military path to divorcing Iran from a nuclear weapon. Only a diplomatic path. And now, the diplomatic road is more difficult.”
Trita Parsi, perhaps Iran’s top Washington lobbyist, tweeted that “Given Israel’s aggression against Iran, the next Iranian President – particularly a conservative one – will feel compelled to strike back against Israel to dispel any notion in the West that Iran’s restraint has been due to desperation or lack of options. Iran’s retaliation will then either spark a larger conflict or at a minimum further undermine prospects for talks, blocking the outcome Israel fears the most: A US-Iran deal that reduces their tensions and paves the way for the US to shift its focus away from the Mideast. As Bibi’s supporters in DC have made clear, Israel is clearly willing to boldly undermine Biden if he seeks to advance the interest of the United States. Biden’s failure to exact a cost on Bibi for undermining him is precisely why Bibi will continue to do it.”
Parsi and other Iran shills went further arguing that none of the assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists imputed to Israel, none of the cyberattacks (like Stuxnet) and strikes attributed to Israel and the US, have succeeded in changing the trajectory of the Iranian nuclear program or its timeline in significantly.
There are fallacies embedded in these statements. At their core is the fake trinity that Iran cannot be stopped militarily; that Iran can be “bought” with cash concessions (ending sanctions) to the point of halting nuclear weapons development; and that Iranian aggression (including its stated desire to destroy Israel and its hegemonic advances across the Middle East) aren’t the source problem, but rather that “Israeli aggression” is.
Additional speciousness in Murphy and Parsi’s arguments is:
1. If you oppose military solutions to Iran’s illegal nuclear program, you should support clandestine solutions without casualties. If you oppose that (like the sabotage of Natanz), then basically you support Iran’s nuclear program. As Haviv Gur tweeted this week, “Just be honest about it. Tell us why Khamenei should have a nuke program.”
2. It is simply false that sabotage and sanctions have not effectively prevented Iran from attaining a nuclear bomb. As Maj. Gen. (res.) Giora Eiland this week told Israel Radio, in 2001 IDF Military Intelligence thought Iran would have nuclear weapons within four years. Twenty years later, it still doesn’t – and not because the Iranians haven’t tried. Moreover, the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” policy essentially wiped out Iran’s foreign exchange reserves, which plunged to $4 billion in 2020 from $123b. in 2018, according to the International Monetary Fund. This forced Iran to massively cut support of Hezbollah and other Shi’ite militias across the region, and probably slow its nuclear program, according to IDF Military Intelligence.
3. It makes no sense to move from a policy of maximum pressure on Iran to maximum concessions, and then believe the US will have leverage to negotiate a “longer, stronger, broader” deal to tame Iran’s ballistic missiles, overseas terrorism, human rights violations, etc. Tehran will have zero incentive to relent.
As Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies wrote this week, “Iran will simply take the patient pathway to nuclear weapons, while immunizing its economy against the use of sanctions in the future and building up its regional dominance. Therefore, containment of Iran (through all forms of pressure) is the right policy. Billions of dollars should not be transferred to Iran for a short, weak, and narrow nuclear deal. Mass slaughter, nuclear blackmail, and terrorism shouldn’t be rewarded.”
FURTHER, THE Israeli Left is chiming in with the insinuation that Netanyahu is exacerbating the long-simmering conflict with Iran, specifically now, to bring about political change or to thwart his rivals from forming a government.
If a sharp military crisis doesn’t (again) bring Alternative Prime Minister Benny Gantz into a Netanyahu-led government, perhaps it will persuade Bezalel Smotrich’s Religious Zionist Party to join Netanyahu’s government that relies on support from the Islamists of the United Arab List. Friction with the US government might also appeal to Smotrich’s party, Haaretz’s defense analyst has suggested.
In a similar vein, Amos Yadlin, who was the Labor Party’s candidate for defense minister two elections ago, has accused Netanyahu of approving attacks on Iran “without the necessary legal authority.”
“Sensitive operations, with diplomatic and security significance that include the potential for escalation, require government approval,” Yadlin wrote in a series of tweets. “The cabinet can authorize the [security] cabinet to decide, and the cabinet [can authorize] the prime minister and defense minister. All these processes did not happen.”
And in case his readers were not impressed by such legal nitpicking, Yadlin added the calumny that “It is doubtful whether we are not witnessing a political timing that influences the initiation of a security crisis with the goal of making it easier for Netanyahu to form another government under his leadership.”
Such smears are contemptible. Every security and intelligence official I know who has worked closely with Netanyahu, including some who have become fierce public critics of him today, avows that Netanyahu takes his responsibility to protect Israel with the utmost seriousness. Netanyahu believes that cutting Iran down to size is his ultimate strategic task. He does not play politics on this issue, not versus the president of the US nor facing the Israeli electorate.
The spurious allegations, fibs, slanders and canards already being applied to the campaign to sell another sell-out accord with Iran repulse me.
The writer is vice president of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security, His personal site is