Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Israel and the Iran deal

If Israel is the loser from the recently concluded interim deal over Iran's nuclear programme, it is because Benjamin Netanyahu has made it so.

Iran will stop enriching uranium beyond 5% and neutralise its stockpile of more highly enriched uranium, either by diluting it to less than 5% or converting it to a form which cannot be further enriched; leave many of its installed centrifuges inoperable; halt work on the construction of its heavy-water reactor at Arak and not attempt to produce plutonium there. As The New York Times concludes, cited by Hamid Dabashi, the deal means that: "Iran retains the technology and material to produce fuel for a weapon for now, [but] the deal adds time to an Iranian nuclear "breakout", [while] Iran will receive some financial relief, but most sanctions will remain."

And yet Netanyahu calls it a disaster. His claim that other countries in the region take the same view as Israel is largely delusional. Saudi agreement with an: 
"The government of the kingdom sees that if there was goodwill, this agreement could represent a preliminary step towards a comprehensive solution to the Iranian nuclear programme," the cabinet said in a statement.
Channel 4 News had a graphic showing just how isolated Israel is (Photo 2).

No doubt Netanyahu will continue to try to get his allies in the US Congress to block the deal. For the first time, I am glad that Barack Obama is in the White House, not John McCain (as regards foreign policy). A couple of Tweets from him:  My stmt today on negotiations with : ( "We therefore urge the [...] Committee to mark up its bipartisan sanctions legislation as soon as possible.”) Must-read on deal: "Worse Than Munich" (

Even Harry's Place has a reasonably balanced post (Not a bad deal, 25/11, cross-post by Marc Goldberg):
The incentives provided to the Iranians are many and particularly difficult to swallow considering how many tens of thousands of innocent civilians their forces have been murdering in Syria and Iraq right now. But the point is they just agreed not to build nuclear weapons.
It's not clear that the Iranian people are happy about the role their forces are playing in Syria. (And, as far as I can see, it's the al Qaeda franchise, the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham, that's doing most of the murdering in Iraq at the moment.)

24 Nov - From : I'm happy that I voted.. I'm satisfied.. Thank you People.

Or, as Hamid Dabashi puts its:
Agency and confidence for future actions are confirmed among the Iranian people whose ballot box option in June's presidential election put into office a president and a foreign minister who are far closer to their aspirations than the previous government.
Meanwhile, Israel gave the go-ahead for some more settlements in the West Bank, that had previously been put on hold while the Iran talks were ongoing. On Al Jazeera, the construction of the settlements (which involves the demolition of some Palestinian  homes) was described as "payback" for the Iran deal (1). 

The trouble with recent actions and statements by the Israeli government is that it gives so much ammunition to Israel's enemies, to those who would question the basis of its existence. Hamid Dabashi again:
The exceptionalism on which Zionists so adamantly insist, in fact works against them - it proves that they are no legitimate sovereign state - that they are what they are: a settler colony.
So called "peace activists", such as Pam Bailey, speak of "the struggle against war in  and ". Ms. Bailey: I don't think you should conflate "struggle against war in Syria" with "struggle against war with Iran".  And, in case you hadn't noticed the war in Syria is still going on.

Also, from Kate Hudson of CND (19/11): "Just two weeks after a vote in the British parliament derailed a United States attack on Syria, the US and Russia were signing an agreement to destroy Syria's chemical weapons. It took just three days of talks in Geneva, between John Kerry and Sergei Lavrov, to arrive at that agreement." Ditto (the war in Syria is still going on).

(1) Mike Hanna on Al Jazeera English,  Newshour, 26/11 13:40 approx.)  Also, "Children wade through raw sewage in Gaza". 

Update: Israeli settlements expand after Iran deal, Mike Hanna from Qaryut, the West Bank, Al Jazeera, uploaded 28/11 10:35.
BBC WS News, 8:00 - deal  Yes !!! 4:57 PM

BBC News -  agrees to curb nuclear activity at Geneva talks -
BBC News - As it happened:  nuclear deal
BBC News -  nuclear deal 'reached' at Geneva talks, James Reynolds 2:37 GMT
BBC News - Analysis:  deal limited but important, Jonathan Marcus: "Netanyahu sees it as a "historic mistake". Others argue that it changes the face of the Middle East: Hyperbole on both counts."

Shifting focus: Impact of  nuclear deal - nuclear deal sparks war of words - 
US and : Seven questions beyond the nuclear deal, Marwan Bishara
The Arabs'  dilemma, Salah Nasrawi
Diplomats strike deal in  talks, Al Jazeera's Jonah Hull reports from Geneva:

ICG (26/11) The Iran Nuclear Accord: First Step in a Long Journey -

The big deal about the Iran nuclear deal, Hamid Dabashi, , updated: 26 Nov, 09:44
AIPAC no match for the 'sleeping giant'
, Pam Bailey
From Iran to Syria: diplomacy, not war, can bear fruit
, Kate Hudson, (19/11)
Update: 27/11 12:01 'This is Iran. Everyone is happy.' Khosrow Soltani: expressions of joy were reported mostly by reformist and moderate newspapers.
(12:11) What does Saudi Arabia want? Shashank Joshi


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