The Tragedy of Bibi Netanyahu


The American Conservative
There is something tragic about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The harder he tries, the more he fails. That has been the case with many of his attempts to sabotage diplomacy with Iran and push the US to take military action against the country. And that was certainly the case with his underwhelming powerpoint presentation Monday. What was supposed to be a smoking gun to once and for all nix the Iran nuclear deal, inadvertently made a powerful case as to why the the deal must remain in place.

The Israeli government had promised “significant new revelations” about the nuclear program. Yet Netanyahu offered nothing new. The bulk of his presentation focused on what the world already knew: That between 1999 and 2003, Iran had engaged in activities with possible military dimensions.

As I describe in Losing an Enemy: Obama, Iran and the Triumph of Diplomacythese past Iranian activities constituted a tricky dilemma during the nuclear talks. If it was revealed that the Iranians had indeed engaged in illegal military research, that could jeopardize the entire agreement, as voices would be raised to have it punished for its past violations. Completely disregarding it without allowing the IAEA to complete its investigation—which the Iranians had not been cooperating with—was also not an option. What it came down to was a choice between punishment for Iran’s past violations and guarantees that those violations would never be repeated in the future.

The obvious choice for Obama was the latter: punishing Iran for its past errors was of little value if punishment came at the expense of a deal that would prevent Iran from building a bomb. Politically, however, this choice was feasible only if the IAEA could complete its investigation—with the cooperation of the Iranians—to make a final judgment on the issue and close the file. The P5+1 needed neither an admission of guilt nor a guilty verdict; they just needed Iran’s cooperation to complete the investigation.

The Iranians feared that giving the IAEA more access would only lead to more demands and investigations. To Iran, it was critical that any investigation would be time-limited, so it couldn’t drag on indefinitely, and delinked from the sanctions relief process, so that the decision to lift sanctions couldn’t be held hostage to the PMD investigation.

Eventually, a compromise was reached in which the Iranians would make their documents accessible and their scientists available for interviews for the purposes of producing a time-limited report that would contain both the IAEA’s assessments and Iran’s responses and contributions. The report would essentially include two narratives, which meant that there wouldn’t be an authoritative judgment. More importantly, the sanctions relief process would be linked to the completion of the IAEA investigation and not its conclusion. That is, the IAEA would have to report only that Iran had cooperated with the investigation and that the IAEA’s questions were answered in order for the green light for sanctions reform to be lit.

On July, 2015, the head of the IAEA flew to Tehran and concluded a final agreement that established a timeline for resolving the question of Iran’s past activities whereby Iran would turn over all information requested by the IAEA, and the IAEA would provide its final assessment by December 15 of that year.

The IAEA issued its report on December 2, 2015 concluding that Iran had pursued a nuclear weapons program prior to 2003, but that this organized program ended that year and that there was no evidence that any undeclared activities had taken place since 2009.

Following the report, the 35-member IAEA Board of Governors voted unanimously to conclude the investigation into Iran’s past weaponization work. The case was officially closed.

Now, without presenting any new information – and without even attempting to claim that Iran’s undeclared activities had continued beyond 2009 or 2015 – Bibi wants to convince the world that he has discovered something new.

He hasn’t.

As one former IAEA official publicly commented: “I just saw a lot of pictures I had seen before.”

Iran’s past military activities are precisely why the JCPOA is needed: The deal significantly limited Iran’s program and closed off all of Tehran’s pathways to a bomb. And thanks to the inspections regime, Iran cannot engage in any such clandestine activities without getting caught.

All of these restrictions, limitations and inspections will be lost if Donald Trump follows Netanyahu’s advice and kills the deal on May 12.

And therein lies the tragedy of Netanyahu.

By helping to kill the Iran deal doing so, Netanyahu may advance his own political interest, but only by undermining that of Israel. Bibi may consider himself the biggest political winner of the Iran deal’s collapse. Yet, Israel will count among some of the biggest losers of this diplomatic travesty.

Trita Parsi is the author of Losing an Enemy: Obama, Iran and the Triumph of Diplomacy and president of the National Iranian American Council.

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  1. Adrian2:
    China too is in debt. but not perilously, being one of the more solvent countries in the world. But my point is that there isn’t a developed country that is not in fairly serious debt. Greece went under, Italy, Spain, Denmark and many others are in bad shape when it comes to the financial fundamentals. If US dollar loses its World Reserve Currency status it will be in even worse shape than the current figures suggest.
    The debt is to the global banking system, i.e. to private individuals. These “private individuals” will gain control of any country that cannot pay its debts. Then the slavery will become obvious to all.

  2. At times I day dream about how, (if I were POTUS), would I deal with the Zionist ideological problem, How does one separate the Jew from Zion. To start I need allies. A popular Spec. Ops Generals or, young but popular Colonels or their equivalent from each branch, and the head of the National Guard, all with several thousand loyal troops to globally coordinate arrests and detentions over 72 hours, Tech teams with armed support would take over wall street, the grid, media stations, Hollywood, Federal reserve offices, etc, Our Congress, Senate and, the Supreme Court would all be detained. All Army reserve armories occupied, every Governor detained, every police chief detained to cooperate, all borders, every shipping port and, airport closed. All the while on every TV station a good looking women will softly and, repeatedly broadcast reassurance everything is ok. As necessary every head of government will be contacted ASAP. As you see there’s a lot to do, more than I just listed. Anyway while I’m dreaming, can somebody find out why the Federal Reserve doesn’t pay income tax? .

  3. All countries are in debt. How can this be? You’d reasonably expect some countries in debt and others in credit, but that is not the case. So, the question is, who or what are all the countries indebted to? And burdensome debt is another word for slavery. Who or what are we all enslaved by? These are the real questions. It is not an exclusively American problem – we need to learn to think globally (whilst at the same time withdrawing support from “globalism”). The gap between the rich and the poor in America is reportedly now worse than it was in pre-revolution France in 1789.

  4. any country/ society that extracts the life blood out of their young generations by saddling them with payday loan chains of the student loan debacle deserves the greatest public flogging/ hanging in the history of the cosmos. may the punishment begin. i hate the fuking hollyworlds east and west that all of us fill our evenings and weekends with, feeding our imaginations on their spectacles of entertainment. we deserve greater the afflictions that we’ve wrought on other sovereign nations. (of course, what do the united states citizens know about sovereignity? as we pay only token homage to the both our constitution and declaration of independence. i.e., accepting hook-line-and-sinker what our hollyworlds feed us through their silver screens.)

  5. @wjabbe – I believe more and more Americans are slowly waking up from their sleep and realizing what is happening to our country and the world because of these Zionists. The truth about 9/11 is coming to light. At the end of the day, we Americans will expel every Jew from our land just like other countries have down for thousands of years.

  6. As usual Israel is the biggest hypocrite on the planet doing itself what it criticizes Iran for: Israel has illegal nukes. Israel refuses international inspections. Israel refuses to sign the non proliferation treaty. Israel routinely steals land from others and builds illegal settlements. Israel operates an open air concentration camp for Palestinians and treats them like garbage. Israel gives the world its middle finger every day. Israel, not Muslims, did 9/11/01 but sought to blame it on the Muslims. Israel is an unindicted war criminal of the world. Israel has hi jacked the U.S. while the whores in Congress looked the other way. Israel lover liar Trump has only made a bad situation even worse with his support of these criminals in Israel and wearing that cap while touching the wall as if he were a religious person when he is nothing but a low level gangster from the cesspool New York. End all money and other support to the criminals in Israel. Require AIPAC to register as a foreign agent as the law demands. Stop hiring Israelis to work in our government because they have conflicts of interest. End all dual citizenships. Take our country back! Begin arresting Bush, Cheney and the Four Star generals who sold out our country on 9/11/01. Wake up duped Americans.

    • Do not feel sorry for the unindicted war criminal Netanyahu. He belongs in a jail cell for life. All he and his cronies in Israel learned from Nazi, Germany is how to copy them. Their gross inhumane treatment of Palestinians and others is well documented. Obviously reports that Israeli police plan to arrest him are all fake too. He travels with 40 bodyguards. Evidently his fears something doesn’t he? He evidently fears someone might use the dictum he uses everyday on others, against him: ”
      An eye for an eye. Israel must impeach this monster as soon as possible. The world is getting tired of you big mouth Israel, bully of the planet, running your big mouth every day while drowning out all the other good countries of the planet. How about you SHUT UP?

    • @wjabbe, well spoken scolding to this planet’s blight. keep it up. perhaps a youngster/ savior is reading VT and ingesting/ digesting these morsels, feeding his vision of a future righteous dictator leadership. if the gods will permit such good fortune on this nation to execute a foundational repentance — by that i mean 90 – 180 degree correction to the path presently taken, rather than the scam xtian terminology of falling on one’s knees and begging the unseen/ imagined yahweh of abraham forgiveness for sins. utter nonsense storytelling by the tribe. and they’re damned good storytellers as their ownership if the hollyworlds shows.

  7. So now can someone explain just how our intellectual in the White House can astound the world as to why the Iran deal needs to be fixed short of inviting the dancing Israelis to Tehran to take the country over.

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