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Why Should the President Pretend that Iran Is Complying with the Nuclear Agreement?

Oct. 11 2017

According to a report by the German government, Iranian agents made 32 illegal attempts in 2016 to purchase materials necessary for the country’s ballistic-missile and nuclear-weapons programs; meanwhile, Tehran has not allowed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to carry out the inspections mandated by the 2015 nuclear deal (JCPOA). Thus, argues Abe Greenwald, there is little reason for the president to certify Iran’s compliance with the agreement by the October 15 deadline:

If Trump were not to decertify the deal, he would be lying about one of the gravest matters of American national security. He’d be declaring, against the testimony of the IAEA, that Iran is allowing for certain crucial inspections when, in fact, it’s not. The United States would become Iran’s duplicitous representative to international bodies.

Why do that? Well, the thinking goes, Iran has already received tens of billions of dollars as a result of the deal. Killing the deal wouldn’t help us recoup those losses; it would only further limit our ability to keep tabs on Iran. This is a compelling argument but only because there are always compelling reasons to let bad actors have their way. Those reasons boil down to the idea that confronting dangerous parties is riskier than appeasing them.

It is this very thinking that has for decades guided our mistaken policy on Iran and North Korea. While institutional inertia ensures no change in bad American policy, the countries we try to deter strengthen their hands and become effectively undeterrable. That’s how the world’s worst problems—North Korea’s nuclear program, for example—become unsolvable. . . .

Is there a better deal to be had? I doubt it, but it could be worth trying. . . . [And] what if the JCPOA is dismantled and there’s no better deal to be had? . . . Iran wants to dictate to or destroy the United States or its allies by possessing a deliverable nuclear weapon. If that doesn’t warrant consideration of a bombing run, nothing does.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Donald Trump, Iran nuclear program, Politics & Current Affairs, U.S. Foreign policy

Europe Has a Chance to Change Its Attitude toward Israel

Dec. 15 2017

In Europe earlier this week, Benjamin Netanyahu met with several officials and heads of state. Ahead of his visit, the former Italian parliamentarian Fiamma Nirenstein addressed a letter to these European leaders, urging them to reevaluate their attitudes toward the status of Jerusalem and the West Bank, the Israel-Palestinian peace process, the gravity of European anti-Semitism, and the threat posed by Hamas and Hizballah. In it she writes:

For years, the relationship between Europe and Israel has been strained. Europe tends to criticize Israel for simply defending itself against the continual threats and terrorist attacks it faces on all its borders and inside its cities. Europe too often disregards not only Israel’s most evident attempts to bring about peace—such as its disengagement from Gaza—but also chides it for its cautiousness when considering what solutions are risky and which will truly ensure the security of its citizens.

The EU has never recognized the dangers posed by Hamas and Hizballah, as well as by many other jihadist groups—some of which are backed by [the allegedly moderate] Fatah. The EU constantly blames Israel in its decisions, resolutions, papers and “non-papers,” letters, and appeals. Some of Europe’s most important figures insist that sanctions against the “territories” are necessary—a political stance that will certainly not bring about a solution to this conflict that . . . the Israelis would sincerely like to resolve. Israel has repeated many times that it is ready for direct negotiation without preconditions with the Palestinians. No answer has been received.

The European Union continues to put forth unrealistic solutions to the Israel-Palestinian issue, and the results have only aggravated the situation further. Such was the case in 2015 when it sanctioned Israeli companies and businesses in the territories over the Green Line, forcing them to close industrial centers that provided work to hundreds of Palestinians. The Europeans promoted the harmful idea that delegitimizing Israel can be accomplished through international pressure and that negotiations and direct talks with Israel can be avoided. . . .

[Meanwhile], Iran’s imperialist designs now touch all of Israel’s borders and put the entire world at risk of a disastrous war while Iran’s closest proxy, Hizballah, armed with hundreds of thousands of missiles, proudly presents the most explicit terrorist threat. Europe must confront these risks for the benefit of its citizens, first by placing Hizballah on its list of terrorist organizations and secondly, by reconsidering and revising its relationship with Iran.

Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Europe and Israel, European Union, Hizballah, Israel & Zionism, Israel diplomacy