With the deal between the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – the United States, Russia, China, Britain, and France – plus Germany (the P5+1) and Iran that was signed in Geneva last month, the Iranian regime stands on the verge of getting exactly what it wants, thanks to nuclear blackmail: regional hegemony.
Though this agreement achieves a partial, temporary delay of the Iranian nuclear project, it is very important to understand what it does not include on Iran’s part:
•Stopping production of long-range ballistic missiles.
•Ceasing support and financing of terror organizations such as Hezbollah.
•Stopping the brutal repression of the Iranian people and minority nationalities (Azeris, Kurds, Baluchis, Arabs).
Accordingly, the P5+1 seems ready to give to the ayatollah’s regime not only a comprehensive insurance policy for its survival, but also a license for its imperial ambitions and a permit to use the blackmail leverages of missiles and terror to undermine governments in the Persian Gulf and Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, and the Palestinian territories.
Moreover, as a consequence of the agreement, the domestic Iranian opposition could be stifled and tortured with the silent acquiescence of the Western democracies. Thus Israel, which continues to face an estimated 70,000 rockets and missiles from Hezbollah and Hamas targeting its cities, will not be the only victim of the deal.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s harsh criticism of the deal is correct. The eagerness on the part of the P5+1 to strike a deal with the ayatollah’s regime seems to stem not only from an aversion to confronting evil but also from a lack of understanding of the Islamist challenge and from a blurred distinction between allies and foes in the region.
The problem is that Mr. Netanyahu’s keenness to appease the hard-liners in his country renders progress in the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations impossible, thereby thwarting any attempt to build a regional alliance with Arab countries against the Iranian threat.
Now that this deal with Iran is signed, the US may not have the moral authority to exert pressure on any Israeli government regarding a deal with Palestinians. For all its failures against the Iranian threat, this deal also increases the chances that Secretary of State John Kerry’s sincere, tireless efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will fail.
Dr. Ephraim Sneh twice served as Israel’s deputy minister of defense, was a member of several Israeli cabinets, and is chair of the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Strategic Dialogue at Netanya Academic College in Netanya, Israel.