JCPA Iran Moderation Principles

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Published on Feb 23, 2017 via the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs Youtube channel – The Iranian threat to Israel over the last number of years has been measured either by looking at the capabilities the Iranian armed forces have and are able to employ in any future conflict, and by the intentions that Iran harbors with respect to Israel’s future and its security.

Back in May 2016, the chief strategist for the previous administration, who marketed the Iran agreement to the American public, was Ben Rhodes. He explained that in order to make this agreement palatable in the United States and internationally, he needed to present Iran as a country that was moving in a much more moderate direction. He used the opportunity of the Iranian elections to make this argument. But was it true?

We’ve all seen evidence that Iran’s behavior in the Middle East has become far more dangerous and severe. The Iranian navy is regularly moving throughout the Middle East region, from the Persian Gulf to the Red Sea, and has even visited the Mediterranean. Iran is testing new generations of missiles, despite the fact that the UN Security Council prohibited this type of activity.

But where we have gotten a real reminder that this analysis of Iranian moderation is completely false is from the statements of Iranian leaders in just the last few months. In fact, we received a reminder that Iranian intentions are unchanged. On February 21, the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khomenei, once again referred to Israel as a cancerous tumor in the Middle East that had to be removed. He spoke about the complete liberation of Palestine – which means the complete destruction of Israel. And he called for a holy jihad.

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That is not the voice of moderation. That is the voice of continuing conflict and escalation. When one considers the future of sanctions on Iran and whether the Iranian budget should be enriched so that it can procure more weapons, one has to take into account that Iran is not moving in the direction that we were promised and that Iran remains a very dangerous state.

Ambassador Dore Gold has served as President of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs since 2000. From June 2015 until October 2016 he served as Director-General of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Previously he served as Foreign Policy Advisor to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN (1997-1999), and as an advisor to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

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