Tensions are high in Israel, as it is felt that once again the most disastrous of deals, the Iran nuclear deal, is being rushed to conclusion, its timing coinciding with the uncertain political situation in Israel. Despite persistent warnings from Israel and the region’s moderate Arab countries, the deal’s signatories, the P5+1 — namely Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom, the United States and Germany — are insisting on hurtling into an agreement that in just a few years will legitimize the very nuclear activity that the deal is meant to be preventing. Moreover, with Iran all but having achieved nuclear capabilities, the Iran nuclear deal, which was supposed to grant Iran sanctions relief in return for a tight rein on its nuclear program, is now futile.
What makes it even more disastrous in 2022 is that not only is it a shorter and weaker deal than ever before, but all known violations by the Iranian regime are being brushed aside. The deal also entirely ignores Iran’s obsession with terror and its funding of terror proxies in the region and turns a blind eye to Iran’s development of long-range ballistic missiles. Iran is the world’s largest state sponsor of terror, funding regional terror groups such as Hezbollah, Hamas and (Palestinian) Islamic Jihad. Just this August, Iran was instrumental in training, smuggling weapons and sponsoring the most recent attack on Israel by Islamic Jihad when more than 1,000 rockets rained down from Gaza.
All this will be conveniently whitewashed by the deal’s signatories.
It now also appears that the P5+1 will bow to a further demand of the Iranian regime, namely the closure of outstanding IAEA investigative files on undeclared nuclear sites in Iran. The EU has already stated that if Iran provides “credible responses” as to the origin of those traces by the time a nuclear deal is signed, then it will stand aside and close the investigation.
Most worryingly, and to make a disastrous deal even more horrifying, the Iranian terrorist regime will be presented with billions of dollars, estimated to be in the region of more than $200 billion, that will undoubtedly be plowed into subsequent terror attacks region-wide. In essence, this illogical agreement will enrich and empower Iran and unshackle it to continue its export of terror and step up its atrocities.
The current situation has left Israel with little choice but to review its strategy. Israel is only too aware of Iran’s notorious hatred for the West and the repeated calls for the destruction of America and Israel — which it calls the Big Satan and the Little Satan. A fanatical Iranian regime such as this is not an imaginary threat. It is a very real and existential threat, particularly for Israel and the Middle East, and subsequently for the rest of the world. The regime will be an even greater threat should this deal be signed.
The only real way to combat the hardline Iranian regime is through isolation, strong and unyielding sanctions and the threat of military action, none of which are forthcoming from the U.S. administration or the remaining signatories. The risk to them is distant and obscure at this time, mainly due to Iran’s distance from their borders. Israel and the moderate Arab countries in the region are very much on the frontlines and will take the hit if Iran decides to progress its nefarious activities.
As such, in light of the continuing indulgence of Iran by the P5+1, combined with their weakness and repeated mistakes when facing the Iranian regime, as well as their complete disregard of the recurrent warnings from Israel and regional countries, it is crucial that Israel and its Arab neighbors unite more firmly and robustly than ever before. The Abraham Accords between them have been an overwhelming achievement and success for all the peace partners. It has clearly demonstrated that Israel and the Arab world can work together in trust and friendship.
It is now vital that we continue to develop these links and build stronger, more powerful connections between our nations, not only through trade and investment, but with a particular focus on the areas of defense and security. If signed, the senseless Iran nuclear deal should be used as a platform to create a strong collaborative and operational regional defense network against the imminent threat of Iran. Together, Israel and its Arab neighbors will have a far greater chance of success against the radical militant regime of Iran which, without rhyme or reason, the deal’s signatories seem to be intent on appeasing. Testing times require specialized solutions and we need to be ahead of the curve. PJC
Ambassador Danny Danon served as Israel’s 17th permanent representative to the United Nations. He is currently chairman of the World Likud, and a candidate for the Knesset, running with the Likud party. This first appeared on The Times of Israel.