Opinion

Might It Be That Netanyahu Is Right?

A new accord is needed, one that will prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons forever. Our survival depends on it

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presents material on Iranian nuclear weapons development during a press conference in Tel Aviv, Monday, April 30 2018.
Sebastian Scheiner/AP

This week Morocco announced that it was cutting off its diplomatic ties with Iran. This came due to Iranian involvement in the supply of weapons to the Polisario Front, an organization that is trying to undermine the government of Morocco and disrupt the entire Western Sahara region.

To really understand Israel and the Middle East - subscribe to Haaretz

That’s the nature of Iran. An evil empire embracing terror and aggression, sending out its tentacles everywhere, like an octopus. Its fundamentalist leaders want to not only take over the Middle East and the Islamic world, but to become a global power that threatens the entire world, including Europe and the United States. A nuclear bomb is their personal insurance policy.

This is an extremist Shi’ite regime that finances attacks and terror around the globe, supplying arms to underground movements and organizations in many Muslim states such as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the Gulf States, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Morocco, Egypt and Jordan. Whereas in these countries Iran wishes to install an extremist Shi’ite regime like its own, with Israel the goal is its destruction, as its leaders have declared on numerous occasions. It wishes to do so with a nuclear weapon or through conventional means.

The conventional path is well-known. Iran is trying to surround us on all sides. It is constructing an independent missile system in Syria, supplying missiles to Hezbollah in Lebanon and giving support to Hamas in Gaza. The nuclear path is also clear. As soon as Iran obtains a nuclear weapon the very threat of its using one will paralyze Israel, rendering it unable to act in Syria, Lebanon or Gaza. The economy will also come to a standstill. Who would want to do business with a country that’s under nuclear threat?

That is why on the Iranian issue, Netanyahu is completely right. He was the only one to place this issue on the world’s agenda. Without him there would be no sanctions on Iran, measures that caused it serious economic harm, proving that the West has significant clout against terrorist states.

>> Despite Iran's threats, Israeli army pushes aggressive line against Tehran in Syria | Analysis

Even with that, he failed in preventing the signing of the dangerous nuclear accord of 2015. It was difficult to overcome the boundless conciliatory spirit of Barack Obama and European leaders who wanted peace and quiet, with the deluge to follow after their departure. This deluge is near at hand, only seven years away. One may debate whether Netanyahu did the right thing this week in presenting to the world, in dramatic fashion, Iran’s nuclear archive. On one hand, this is one way of showing the world who we are contending with – a regime that lied in claiming it never intended to develop nuclear weapons. On the other hand, it disclosed intelligence secrets that reveal our capabilities to the enemy, who are now changing their assessments accordingly.

In any event, the Europeans were not impressed. They want to maintain the accord, making do with some light amendments. That’s human nature – it’s quiet now, and in the meantime we can make big money in selling equipment and products to Iran.

The Europeans also figure that Iran will not attack them, only Israel, and they can live with that. They’re not bothered by the fact that the accord will expire in seven years and Iran will be permitted to enrich uranium at full speed. This is reminiscent of the appeasement policy adopted by European leaders in confronting Hitler in 1938, which led to the infamous Munich agreement. Obama in 2015 was the Chamberlain of 1938.

>> Israel's double front against Iran: Military strike in the morning, press conference at night | Analysis

This is why it’s not enough to amend the accord in one clause or another. One must hope that Donald Trump withdraws from it and that sanctions are reinstated, so that the grave economic conditions in Iran deteriorate further until the fundamentalist regime falls. It is unacceptable that in seven years, when the accord expires, Iran will be able to advance freely towards obtaining a nuclear weapon. A new accord is needed, one that will prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons forever. Our survival depends on it.