As yet another deadline – March 31 – is being set by world powers for a deal to de-nuke Iran, moves are also underway to scuttle the talks aimed at finding a solution.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a group of US Congressmen who are beholden to the powerful Israeli lobby, the America-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) known for its campaign donations and other inducements, are trying to shift the goal posts once again when Iran is willing to strike a deal with P5+1 nations. They are hell bent on punishing Iran with new economic sanctions on the grounds that Iran was not transparent enough to share information with the International Atomic Energy Agency.
They seem to be unperturbed by revelations by Al Jazeera this week that Israel’s very own spy agency, Mossad, had disagreed with Netanyahu over Iran’s nuclear programme. There was overwhelming evidence in the Al-Jazeera revelations that Iran was not working on a nuclear bomb but it could not swerve Netanyahu and his US friends from their policy of economically impoverishing Iran first, and then bringing about a regime change through mass-scale public protests by the Iranian people. They want fresh sanctions on Iran.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a news conference in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Maale Adumim, near Jerusalem on Wednesday. Netanyahu rebuffed criticism in Washington of his plans to speak in Congress, accusing world powers of forsaking a pledge to prevent Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Reuters
The Al-Jazeera exposé was only a passing story in the Zionist-controlled global media, whereas it should have created a global uproar and shamed Netanyahu for misleading the world community. Addressing the august assembly of the United Nations during its annual session in September 2012, Netanyahu showing a diagram of a nuclear bomb and the stage of Iran’s nuclear enrichment claimed that Teheran was on the verge of making a nuclear bomb and called on the world powers to prevent a Middle Eastern apocalypse. He said Iran with its nuclear programme was posing an existential threat to Israel and to world peace. But according to the leaked spy cables which were exchanges between Mossad and its South African counterpart weeks after Netanyahu read out his fiction at the UN said Iran was “not performing the activity necessary to produce weapons.”
The leaked spy cables have confirmed what Iran has been saying since the West raised a big hue and cry over Iran’s nuclear programme, which incidentally was a project started by the United States in the 1970s during the Shah’s regime. Iran insists that its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes such as electricity generation and medical research. The Al-Jazeera expose also confirms that the troublemaker in the Middle East is not Iran but Israel. Israel’s claims loaded with political skullduggery have only heightened military tension in the region -- with a frightened Saudi Arabia urging the United States to “cut off the snake’s head” -- snake being a reference to Iran.
Imagine what would have been the consequences if the Americans had listened to the Israelis and the Saudis and taken military action against Iran. The region would have erupted in a major war of a sectarian nature. That the United States did not resort to military action indicates that the Barack Obama administration is more than convinced that Iran has no nuclear weapons programme. Hats off to Obama for being prudent despite pressure from Israel, its pro-Israeli Congressmen and its Middle Eastern ally Saudi Arabia! Unlike his predecessor George W. Bush, Obama did not go to war based on half-baked or deliberately distorted intelligence reports. Bush sold the Iraq war to the Americans, who were still suffering from the shock of the 9/11 terror attacks, telling them that he had received solid information that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and posed a threat to the United States. But Obama is not unaware of his country’s own intelligence agencies’ assessment of Iran’s nuclear programme. They are of the view that Iran had long abandoned its nuclear weapons programme.
Much to the chagrin of Israel and Saudi Arabia, Obama’s strategy appears to be one of engaging Iran – and this strategy together with economic sanctions appears to be bearing fruit. Of late, Iran, reeling under the crippling sanctions, has been showing a willingness to compromise and work out a win-win solution at talks with the P5+1 nations comprising the five permanent security council members – the US, Britain, France, Russia and China – and Germany.
But undeterred, Netanyahu and the pro-Israeli congressmen have redoubled their efforts at triggering a US-led war with Iran. As part of these efforts, the hardline Israeli prime minister will address the US Congress next week, although the move has earned the displeasure of the White House. In another move, the Republican-controlled Congress is seeking to impose fresh sanctions on Iran, but the White House has warned that Obama will use his presidential veto to quash any anti-Iran legislation. The White House has also said the President will not meet Netanyahu. As the public spat between the White House and Israel grew, an angry Netanyahu in response accused the P5+1 of “giving up on their commitment” to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, while the House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Ed Royce told Kerry at a hearing that members of the panel have serious concerns about the direction of the Iran talks.
Meanwhile, Israeli media reports claimed that Saudi Arabia had agreed to allow Israeli warplanes to use its airspace for an attack on Iran’s nuclear sites. Such media reports are not surfacing for the first time. In the past, Saudis had dismissed such reports.
However, Israeli and Saudi policies converge on Iran. Both are alarmed at the growing influence of Iran in the Middle East. Iran is playing a major role in the war against Islamic State terrorists in Iraq and propping up the Bashar al-Assad regime with military support, while many believe that Iran is behind the Houthi rebels who have captured power in Yemen.
But the Obama administration has realised that there is more to gain from talks for the US and the rest of the world -- perhaps with the exception of Israel and Saudi Arabia -- than from a military confrontation with Iran.