China Values Its Ties with Iran More Than Its Ties with Israel

July 31 2020

Beijing and Tehran are reportedly on the cusp of concluding a massive agreement that would involve military cooperation and $400 billion of Chinese investment in the Iranian economy over the next 25 years. While Israel has for some time enjoyed growing and beneficial economic relations with China, Jacob Nagel and Mark Dubowitz contend that these do not offset the dangers of the world’s second-most powerful country siding with Israel’s most dangerous enemy:

For Israel, this is a clear sign that it is time to pivot from Beijing. . . . The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is also the most dangerous adversary of the United States—Israel’s most valuable ally. The Chinese Communists are serial proliferators of nuclear and missile technology to rogue regimes like Iran, North Korea, and Pakistan. They threaten Hong Kong and Taiwan. They are militarizing the South China Sea, weaponizing data, stealing intellectual property on a massive scale and committing shocking human-rights abuses, including forcing more than one million Uighur Muslims into concentration camps.

But for Israel, decoupling won’t be simple. China is one of Israel’s largest trading partners and sources of foreign investment, alongside the United States and Europe. . . . Beijing sees Israeli critical infrastructure as part of its Belt and Road Initiative (a trillion-dollar global land, sea, and communications program spanning more than 100 countries). This includes the Haifa port (where the U.S. Sixth Fleet docks), the port of Ashdod, underground tunnels and control systems in the northern Carmel mountains, and Tel Aviv’s subway system. The strategic importance of this infrastructure is clear, given that some of it runs alongside key military installations, major businesses, food suppliers, and other essential Israeli military and civilian services.

Israeli strategic planners may be tempted by the idea that China-Israel economic ties could offset Beijing’s growing partnership with Tehran. That is a delusion. The CCP will acquire everything it can from both Israel and Iran without fear or favor. And, if forced to choose, it will choose the Islamic Republic. Iran provides critical energy supplies to China that Israel cannot match. Its population is eight times larger. Its land mass is 75 times greater. It occupies a much more strategic territory for the Belt and Road. And the Islamic Republic is an American enemy, which Beijing can leverage in its global contest with the U.S.

Read more at FDD

More about: China, Iran, Israel diplomacy, Israel-China relations

The Assassination of a Nuclear Scientist Is a Reminder That Iran Has Been Breaking the Rules for Years

Nov. 30 2020

On Friday, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the chief scientist behind the Islamic Republic’s nuclear-weapons program, was killed in what appears to have been a carefully planned and executed operation—widely thought to have been Israel’s doing. In 2011, Fakhrizadeh was given a new position as head of the Organization for Defensive Innovation and Research (known by its Persian acronym SPND), which was a front for Tehran’s illegal nuclear activities. Richard Goldberg explains:

Last year, the State Department revealed that SPND has employed as many as 1,500 individuals, including nuclear-weapons scientists [who] “continue to carry out dual-use research and development activities, of which aspects are potentially useful for nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons-delivery systems.”

How could Fakhrizadeh and SPND continue to operate during the 2015 Iran nuclear deal when the deal was premised on Iran’s commitment to an exclusively peaceful nuclear program? Indeed, the existence of SPND and the discovery of Iran’s nuclear archive [by the Mossad in 2018] paints a picture of regime that never truly halted its nuclear-weapons program—but instead separated its pieces, keeping its personnel fresh and ready for a time of Iran’s choosing.

That reality was deliberately obfuscated to sell the Iran nuclear deal. Iran-deal supporters wanted the world to believe that the ayatollahs had left their nuclear ambitions in the past. . . . We now know Iran lied to the International Atomic Energy Agency, [which is charged with policing Tehran’s compliance], and to the participants of the nuclear deal. Today, the IAEA is again investigating Iran’s concealment of undeclared nuclear material, activities, and sites.

President-elect Joe Biden can no longer pretend that the Iran deal prevented the Islamic Republic’s nuclear advancement. It did not. Nor can Biden’s incoming secretary of state or national security adviser—both of whom were instrumental players in putting the deal together—pretend that Iran can return to compliance with that flawed deal without addressing all outstanding questions about the archive, SPND, and its undeclared activities.

Read more at New York Post

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy