Photo: AFP
Iranian Preisdent Hassan Rouhani. 'Iran is not Iraq'
Photo: AFP
Ben-Dror Yemini
Igal Sarna

Head to Head: Should Israel oppose Iran deal?

Two veteran journalists present different position on the agreement with Iran being drafted by world powers, led by the United States.

It will lead to war

Ben-Dror Yemini 


Neville Chamberlain was neither anti-European nor anti-Semitic. He signed the Munich Agreement with Adolf Hitler firmly believing that it was the best thing for Europe. Barack Obama isn't Chamberlain. He also isn't anti-Israeli and he certainly isn't anti-Semitic.



But from the outset, he has chosen a path of appeasement in the face of radical Islam, Sunni and Shia alike. His fawning address in Cairo, early on in his presidency, didn't help. At the height of the recent crisis in Gaza, when we witnessed the emergence of two axes – the Turkey-Qatar pro-Hamas axis, and the slightly more moderate Egypt-Saudi Arabia axis – the US administration chose the pro-Hamas one. John Kerry was almost kicked out of Cairo at the time.


The situation is no different when it comes to the regime of the ayatollahs in Iran. Iran is in control, to some degree or other, of four Arab states - Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and, more recently, Yemen. The flag of the Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen includes the words "Death to America" – and "Death to Israel" too of course. And anti-US demonstrations with chants of "Death to America" have continued in Iran this part year. Yet Obama refuses to get the message.


Iran blowing up a replica US warship during a military drill. 'Obama doesn't get it' (Photo: AP)  (Photo: AP)
Iran blowing up a replica US warship during a military drill. 'Obama doesn't get it' (Photo: AP)


The US has suffered repeated failures in the Middle East in recent years. Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia are either furious with or despise Washington, and not for the same reasons. Only Qatar, which has become a base for radical Jihadism over the past few years, gets along well with the American administration. And when this same administration prohibits its officials from voicing the words, "Islamic terror," then I guess there's no such thing as Shia radicalism either.


There's no need to push the US into a war or conflict. On the contrary. Because the sanctions have helped. The sanctions have caused Iran to make concessions. But as soon as it emerged that Obama is opposed to the continuation of the sanctions, Tehran dug its feet in more firmly. The result is an agreement that is an absolute disgrace and nothing more than capitulation.


The problem isn't the bomb that will be dropped on Israel. The problem is that Iran will become a regional power. Following the Munich Agreement, Winston Churchill said that England "has chosen shame, and will get war." The US has chosen shame. One can only hope and pray that it won't lead to war.


Iran is not Iraq

Igal Sarna


A year or so ago, one of the most honest individuals ever to have served in the Likud said to me: "This squabbling with America is insane. We don't have and never will have an ally like the United States. The government is handling things atrociously."


Mordechai Zippori, who served as deputy defense minister under Ezer Weizman and Menachem Begin, spoke about Benjamin Netanyahu's conduct vis-à-vis Iran long before anyone even dreamed of a scenario like the one we are facing now with the address to Congress.


I also spoke to him, as the man who was responsible for the defense establishment under Begin at the time of the attack on the Iraqi nuclear reactor, about the option of an air strike on Iran.


"What was right for Iraq isn't at all right for Iran," Zippori said. "Its expanse, Iran's strength, its depth, won't allow Israel to wipe out its nuclear capabilities in an attack." He reminded, too, of what no one is talking about – Israel's role in the development of Iran's initial nuclear and missile capabilities under the shah.


A nuclear framework agreement with Iran is now just around the corner. The agreement talks of 10-15 years of strict supervision over the centrifuges, a word spoke in terror today in every Israeli kindergarten. The country has never before been as frightened and shaky as now, in the days on Netanyahu.


"We've been spared a war with Iran," Zippori said to me with relief, adding that he hopes "we will again become full partners with the country we helped with everything." And by everything, he meant really everything.


I'm all for the way of the honest Likudnik, Zippori. The threat of the Iranian bomb has been hanging over us as the reason not to run this country properly for some 30 years now. In fact, we've already experienced the fallout from the bomb during the days of Netanyahu. Just look around at the destruction of the health system, public housing and moral values.


The 15 years of supervision offered by the agreement carry us safely through to 2030 – in a world as surprising as ever, when Iranian passenger planes will land at the rate of four a day in Israel, which will be a religious state like Iran, or perhaps Iran will become Westernized. Whichever comes first.


פרסום ראשון: 03.01.15, 23:56
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