On Monday, April 30, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented evidence to the international community that Iran has been deceptive from the get-go in order to get the nuclear deal approval from President Obama and other partnering nations. In addition to the United States, other world powers that are parties to the agreement are the European Union, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China. The Iranians pushed for this deal in order to provide relief from crippling sanctions that were devastating the country, in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program. As part of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the official name for the agreement, Iran must redesign, convert, and reduce its nuclear facilities in order to lift all nuclear-related economic sanctions against the country, thus freeing up tens of billions of dollars in oil revenue and frozen assets. To do otherwise would be a violation of the agreement.
I, like most of you, have been suspicious of the Iranian mullahs all along, and have always believed that Iran was testing and preparing to have nuclear weapons despite their assurances to the contrary. Netanyahu declared, “Iran lied – big time.” He said that, despite assurances by the leaders that Iran did not have nukes, the Iranians have actually been busy intensifying their efforts, waiting for the appropriate time to release the arms, and even moved its cache of weapons to a “highly secret location” disguised as a dilapidated warehouse in Teheran last year. Bibi told the world that documents show that Iran has plans to produce five warheads that, he said, was the equivalent of five Hiroshima bombs to be placed on ballistic missiles.
Bibi said that documents show that Iran has plans to produce five warheads that are equivalent to five Hiroshima bombs to be placed on ballistic missiles
Netanyahu fought hard against the deal, while President Obama was negotiating it, arguing that it did not provide sufficient safeguards to prevent Teheran from becoming a nuclear power. At the time, critics declared that Netanyahu was exaggerating the danger. Then, US Secretary of State John Kerry assured the world that the US had “absolute knowledge” of Iran’s nuclear program. But a great deal of information was deliberately kept from the US. Through the documents that Israel discovered, it is obvious that “Iran had every intention to eventually build a nuclear weapon” and that the Iranians had deceived inspectors for years. Now it is rather apparent that Bibi was correct all along.
The Prime Minister’s elaborate PowerPoint presentation was geared to President Trump, who must make a decision about renewing the agreement by Saturday, May 12. Trump has called the deal “insane” and “the worst deal ever.” He has signaled that he may pull out of it unless it is revised or, as Netanyahu put it, “It must be fixed or nixed.”
Many critics out to get the Prime Minister said that his presentation contained nothing new, and that it didn’t show any violations since the 2015 deal. But what was stunning was the display of half a ton of documents and computer files that Mossad managed to confiscate in one day. The evidence presented is proof that Iran has been obfuscating the entire time. It never gave the IAEA, charged with inspecting its compliance with the deal, a full accounting of past nuclear activities. Also, when inspectors attempted to visit the sites, Iran allowed them only very limited access, obviously having something to hide.
The European allies, who have lucrative trade deals with Iran, don’t want President Trump to cancel the deal. There has been tremendous pressure put upon Trump. Europe’s economy would be greatly affected if President Trump does not renew the agreement. Trade between Europe and Iran has seen significant rise after the implementation of the deal in January 2016. Iran’s exports to EU’s 28 nations exceed five billion dollars. Petroleum products and related materials account for a majority of Iran’s exports to the EU. Italy was the biggest importer with 1.54 billion dollars’ worth of Iranian goods. France, Greece, and Spain are also benefiting. Germany tops the list of exporters to Iran, shipping 1.39 billion dollars’ worth of goods to the Islamic Republic. Italy and France are next.
European leaders have been coming to convince President Trump to stay the course. French President Emmanuel Macron is desperately trying to save the deal and address some of the gaping holes, along with British and German leaders. The biggest problem in the agreement is that it only holds back Iran’s nuclear weapons’ aspirations for about a decade. This so-called sunset provision is one of the most worrisome flaws of the deal.
Trump and Netanyahu both said a revised deal must address Iran’s support for militants and its development of ballistic missiles, as well as to eliminate provisions that expire in the next decade.
According to Netanyahu, “The archive shows conclusively that Iran lied when it denied ever having a nuclear weapons program. Israel has good reason to fear that Iran, which has pledged many times to destroy Israel, could actually do so if, G-d forbid, it developed nuclear weapons and used them to attack her. This can never be allowed to happen. As an answer to our prayers, Hashem will see to it that it won’t. In the meantime, the world should heed Netanyahu’s warnings. The document trove that Israel now possesses is proof positive of Iran’s treachery and deceit.
Cynthia Zalisky is the Executive Director of the Queens Jewish Community. She can be contacted at email@example.com