Israel’s opposition to the proposed deal on Iran’s nuclear programme means if the plan backed by Israel’s Western allies goes through, Israel would not honour it. An angry Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made that clear before US Secretary of State John Kerry flew off for Geneva from Tel Aviv.
Netanyahu said: “I understand that the Iranians are walking around very satisfied in Geneva, as well they should be, because they got everything and paid nothing. This is a very bad deal and Israel utterly rejects it.”
Netanyahu is frustrated that the world powers might compromise with Iran, giving it precisely what he said at the UN last year that Tehran must not have: time to enrich more uranium.
Netanyahu spoke of a red line that must not be crossed: “From there it’s only a few months, possibly a few weeks before they get enough enriched uranium for the first bomb.”
Israel wants the P5+1 powers to force Iran to stop all enrichment, fearful of its bomb potential.
From Netanyahu’s point of view, it undermined Israel’s diplomatic drive to neuter Tehran when a new and more moderate Iranian President Rohani took part in goodwill exchanges at the UN and with President Obama.
The two countries were not always arch enemies. Pre-Islamic Revolution, under the West-loving Shah, relations were cordial. Iran was the second Muslim nation to recognise the State of Israel. Enter Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979, that changed. Since then, they have been bitter.
Entente seemed to flutter for an instant in 2005 at ceremonies marking the death of Pope John Paul II; then Israeli President Katsav and Iranian reformer President Khatami even shook hands.
But soon afterwards Ahmadinejad assumed the presidency; he advocated nothing less than wiping Israel off the map; in contempt, he abusively denied the Holocaust. When Rohani became president, he said Ahmadinejad’s anti-Israel “hate rhetoric” had led to the brink of war.
Netanyahu always had those kinds of statements to point to when warning of a threat that Tehran had nuclear weapon ambitions. By contrast he now has Rohani wishing the world’s Jews a happy new year?
Officially, Iran is not anti-Semitic but anti-Zionist – against the occupation of Arab land. A few thousand Jews still live in Iran. There used to be many more, all the way back to biblical times.