Israel Must Continue to Fight the Iran Deal in Congress

Ingratiating themselves with realistic radical Islam has become the lifeblood of democratic liberalism in the U.S., and of course in Europe.

Yossi Kuperwasser
Yossi Kuperwasser
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Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), April 23, 2015.
Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), April 23, 2015.Credit: Bloomberg
Yossi Kuperwasser
Yossi Kuperwasser

During a visit to Hiroshima, I was exposed to the horrors of the bomb dropped on the city 70 years ago, and to the amazing human ability to shake off memory. The same world that is meticulous about being shocked once a year by the terrible damage is now energetically working to remove all the obstacles from the path of the radical Iranian regime on its way to attaining a nuclear arsenal.

As a result of the agreement, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, or his successors, will be able within 10-15 years, with certainty, without economic difficulties, legitimately and without any need to change their extremist policy, to reach a situation in which the comprehensive nuclear infrastructure at their disposal will enable them to be so close to having weapons that even a threat of a military attack won’t be able to stop them.

This as opposed to the present situation, in which an attempt to expand the nuclear infrastructure is not legitimate and involves strong economic pressures, and it is clear to Iran that any attempt to achieve breakout capability would be stopped by military means. The agreement also enables the Iranians to obtain nuclear weapons with relative ease even earlier.

The United States administration is optimistic, happy to place Iran in this dangerous position because it believes that it is doing business with the realistic component of the radical leadership in Iran, those who are willing to temporarily postpone achievement of the goal of “Death to America” and meanwhile help in the battle against Islamic State. But in effect the nuclear weapons will fall into the hands of the ultra-extremists in Iran, and then the realistic extremists will join them as well.

A series of Democratic senators including Bob Casey, who always objected strongly to concessions to Iran and does not belong to the party’s left wing, are now supporting the agreement, even though the Iranians don’t hesitate to release statements to the media on a daily basis. Every one of these utterances should deter the senators from standing behind this dangerous agreement.

According to the Iranians, hostility toward the U.S. will continue, as will the commitment to eliminating Israel. They won’t allow inspections at suspicious sites, and especially not at military sites, will violate the prohibition against the purchase of advanced weaponry during the first five years of the agreement, and will continue to develop long-range missiles and conceal information about their past nuclear activity. Amazingly, the administration and the senators are managing to ignore these declarations entirely.

U.S. President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and the senators repeatedly claim that they understand the opposition to the agreement on the part of Israel and those who have a special connection to Israel in light of Iran’s declared threat against it, and that they themselves are more committed to our security than were their predecessors. And still they support the agreement, which they themselves admit will place Iran intolerably close to attaining nuclear weapons within 10-15 years. Does that mean that for them ensuring Israel’s survival is not enough of a reason to prevent Iran from possessing nuclear weapons, and that Israel can be compensated for the creation of a serious threat to its existence by means of a few military capabilities that are not relevant to the real problem?

The former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency inspection system declared that the agreements between the IAEA and Iran are dangerous and should be publicized in full. But that doesn’t bother Obama, Kerry and the senators who support the agreement.

Prominent members of the American team that conducted the nuclear agreement negotiations during Obama’s first term, before the present team led the campaign of submission to Iran – people like Dennis Ross and Robert Einhorn – are careful not to criticize their colleagues and are making ineffective suggestions for improving the agreement. Among other things, they say that the U.S. must make it clear that it will take military action if Iran tries to attain nuclear weapons in another 10 to 15 years. The problem is that at that stage military action will no longer be relevant.

What are the actors in this theater of the absurd thinking? Maybe it’s a political sense, which assumes that ingratiating themselves with realistic radical Islam has become the lifeblood of democratic liberalism in the U.S., and of course in Europe? Maybe it’s the blind commitment to the incumbent president? Maybe it’s a result of the combined, successful and intensive activity of the president’s men and the Iranian lobby in Washington, which emphasizes the short-term advantages of the agreement and conceals the intermediate and long-term risks (at least that’s how Casey explained his decision)? Perhaps it’s a reflection of the hostility toward the sober world view represented by the Republicans and Israel, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in particular?

One thing is clear: There is room for concern about the fact that no lesson from the past has been learned, despite the shortcomings of the agreement it is receiving sufficient support in Congress, and the opportune moment is passing without the leading Democratic presidential candidate, who in the past expressed opinions that are totally opposed to the spirit of the agreement, mustering the courage to lead the battle against it. In any case, Israel must continue to fight against the implementation of the agreement, and to explain its serious implications to the members of Congress. The compensation deals can wait for now.

The writer, who heads a project in the Jerusalem Institute for Public Affairs, previously served as head of IDF Military Intelligence’s research division and director general of the Strategic Affairs Ministry.

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