Iran Isn’t Eager to Reject the Nuclear Deal

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and other senior figures in the Islamic Republic repeatedly threatened that, were America to withdraw from the nuclear agreement, their country would immediately do likewise and resume the activities the deal proscribed. In truth, write Yigal Carmon and A. Savyon, this threat has proved an empty one:

The Iranian supreme leader Ali Khamenei, . . . in a speech following the U.S. withdrawal from the deal, did not announce that Iran was [itself] withdrawing, as he had stated in the past that he would if the U.S. did. Furthermore, he has given President Rouhani increasing room to maneuver in reaching new agreements with the Europeans. This was also Khamenei’s modus operandi when the agreement was accepted—he spoke against it at the same time as he approved it. Iran has no real tools to deal with the U.S.’s withdrawal from the agreement, or with the Europeans’ anticipated withdrawal from it as well, which may happen because they have no option. . . .

There has also been a shift in Iran’s position concerning its nuclear program and the resumption of its uranium enrichment in excess of the percentage permitted it by the nuclear deal. While prior to President Trump’s announcement [of American withdrawal], Iranian regime spokesmen had threatened to renew uranium enrichment, since the announcement the regime has taken no steps aimed at doing so, or at resuming activity in any other areas of its nuclear program.

Carmon and Savyon see similar timidity when it comes to tensions with Israel over Syria:

Iran is not ready for a widescale confrontation with Israel, and the steps it is taking in the hostilities are minimal. It has announced a policy of restraint, and has responded in measured fashion, one time only, to the serial Israeli attacks that caused Iranian loss of life and damage to Iranian battle arrays in Syria.

As on previous occasions, Iran is, for the time being, refraining from publishing any reports on the May 10 widescale Israeli attacks that struck as many as 50 Iranian targets in Syria. The Iranian media’s reports on the hail of Iranian rockets on Israeli military targets in the Golan Heights depict this as an operation carried out by the Syrian army, not by Iran, and in response to an Israeli attack that preceded it. Iran also is refraining, in its media, from presenting the Israeli attacks as a direct Israel-Iran confrontation. As far as Iran is concerned, any postponement of all-out confrontation with Israel is preferable, because Iran has not yet completed all steps of its deployment in the region, and U.S. forces still remain in Syria.

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More about: Ali Khamenei, Iran, Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Syria, U.S. Foreign policy

 

To Israel’s Leading Strategist, Strength, Not Concessions, Has Brought a Measure of Calm

Aug. 14 2018

Following a long and distinguished career in the IDF, Yaakov Amidror served as Israel’s national-security adviser from 2011 to 2013. He speaks with Armin Rosen about the threats from Gaza, Hizballah, and Iran:

For Israel’s entire existence, would-be peacemakers have argued that the key to regional harmony is the reduction of the Jewish state’s hard power through territorial withdrawals and/or the legitimization of the country’s non-state enemies. In Amidror’s view, reality has thoroughly debunked this line of reasoning.

Amidror believes peace—or calm, at least—came as a result of Israeli muscle. Israel proved to its former enemies in the Sunni Arab world that it’s powerful enough to fill the vacuum left by America’s exit from the region and to stand up to Iran on the rest of the Middle East’s behalf. “The stronger Israel is, the more the ability of Arab countries to cooperate [with it] grows,” Amidror explained. On the whole, Amidror said he’s “very optimistic. I remember the threat that we faced when we were young. We fought the Six-Day War and I remember the Yom Kippur War, and I see what we are facing today. We have only one-and-a-half problems. One problem is Iran, and the half-problem is Hizballah.” . . .

In all likelihood the next Israeli-Iranian confrontation will be a clash with Amidror’s half-threat: the Lebanese Shiite militant group Hizballah, Iran’s most effective proxy in the Middle East and perhaps the best armed non-state military force on earth. . . . “We should neutralize the military capability of Hizballah,” [in the event of war], he said. “We should not destroy the organization as a political tool. If the Shiites want these people to represent them, it’s their problem.” . . .

“It will be a very nasty war,” Amidror said. “A very, very nasty war.” Hizballah will fire “thousands and thousands” of long-range missiles of improved precision, speed, and range at Israeli population centers, a bombardment larger than Israel’s various layers of missile defense will be able to neutralize in full. . . . This will, [however], be a blow Israel can withstand. “Israelis will be killed, no question,” Amidror said. “But it’s not going to be catastrophic.”

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More about: Hizballah, Iran, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Lebanon