Reactions to the Iran deal

The reactions to the deal between the P5+1 nations and Iran have been predictable. The most vociferous opponents have been the Republican party who have dutifully brought out the Munich appeasement analogy that seems to be now the standard trope for any foreign policy deal negotiated by the Obama administration. Then of course Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke out in apocalyptic terms, calling the deal a ‘historic mistake’, and this is usually the precursor to him extorting even more aid from the US in order to keep him quiet until he next feels the need for more aid. This was even predicted on July 14, 2015 by the satirical site The Onion.

Following Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s heated objections to the nuclear deal struck between the United States and Iran, American officials announced Tuesday that they were calming the upset head of government by treating him to a nice, big shipment of ballistic missiles. “Bibi always gets a little cranky when he sees us talking to Iran, but a few dozen short-range surface-to-surface missiles usually cheer him right up,” said State Department spokesperson Daniel Goldman, adding that the shipment of MGM-140 ATACMS missiles should be enough to settle the sullen Israeli leader down at least for the deal’s crucial early implementation stages. “Of course, we try not to spoil him by giving him a whole new tactical ballistics delivery system every single time he throws a fit, but our guy’s pretty good at getting his way. At least we’ll have a couple months of peace and quiet around here.” Goldman went on to say that the U.S. was saving its shipment of missile defense system components in case Netanyahu got worked up during Israel-Palestine peace negotiations later this year.

There are already reports that Defense Secretary Ashton Carter made promises of a huge arms shipment on his current visit to Israel, though it will be officially denied for the present and not announced until some time has passed, to avoid revealing the obvious shakedown of the US by Israel that takes place over and over again.

The Israel lobby has swung into action in the US and Philip Weiss rounds up their reactions. But they are facing a tougher sell this time around because the US public is generally in favor of the deal despite some reservations and some of the leaders of the lobby in the Congress such as New York senator Chuck Schumer are wavering. Even California senator Diane Feinstein criticized the negativity of the Israeli reaction, saying:

Well, I’ve been very disappointed in Israel’s position, candidly. I don’t think they have given this agreement even a chance. They have been opposed to any agreement for a long, long time. Secondly, if Israel were to attack Iran, Iran would respond. The Middle East today is the most troubled it’s been in my lifetime, and I have followed this closely. And so the survival of the state of Israel as a Jewish democratic state depends on all of us supporting an Israel that wants to solve problems, not make more problems.

Another unhappy camper is Saudi Arabia because they want to be a major military power in the region and are determined to prevent Iran from gaining more influence and become a rival. So we are likely to see Carter offering some bribes to them too in the form of heavy weaponry, because whatever happens in the world the US solution is to distribute more weapons. It has the benefit of also keeping the massive US arms industry well fed and happy.

It is also amusing how the critics of the deal warn that Iran cannot be trusted to keep their end of the deal and may secretly renege on its agreements. These critics conveniently overlook that fact that the US is hardly the model of trustworthiness in its international dealings and in fact the person often referred to as Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamanei has explicitly warned that some of the P5+1 nations are not to be trusted, mirroring the criticisms of Iran made here. He did not name the nations but given the ugly role that the US and UK have played in undermining democracy in Iran, it is not hard to guess whom he is referring to.

Critics also claim that easing the sanctions on Iran will enable that country to meddle in the affairs on other nations in the region by providing more support to those groups that that are involved in fighting in the region. This is rich given that the US is the nation that is meddling so much, invading and bombing country after country.

But applying logic and principles consistently in international affairs has never been a strong point of establishment discourse in the US where the rule is to first identify your enemy and then paint them as having evil motives and yourself as having good ones.


  1. busterggi says

    I don’t see how our future Iranian overlords will be much different than our present Israeli overlords.

  2. StevoR says

    @ ^ busterggi : We have Isreali overlords now do we?

    The very article you are commenting on here seems disproves that really dubious assertion.

    Also you seem to be missing a number of key points in your “Teh Jooozzz!” line there like the not-so-small fact that Israel is a democracy and Iran is a tyrannical theocracy. Israel doesn’t have overlords, Iran ,well kinda does. Also I very much doubt Iran will ever rule the USA and as noted Israel doesn’t so, wow, in one sentence, you’ve got pretty much everything (except the spelling & maybe grammar I guess) wrong.


    Hmm .. Deja vu? See :

    The Indyk interview linked there makes some good points I think. I’m glad there is a deal but I wish the deal was stronger and better and more wide ranging incl. ending all Iranian support for terrorism, surpise anytime, anywhere inspections and getting it to recognise Israel in exchange for ending the sanctions.

  3. Mano Singham says

    StevoR @#3,

    So in order to get a “stronger and better and more wide ranging” deal, in return for demanding “ending all Iranian support for terrorism, surpise anytime, anywhere inspections and getting it to recognize Israel”, I am sure you would agree that it is only fair for the Iranians to demand that the US end all military involvement in the region, that Israel also agree to anytime, anywhere inspections, and that Israel immediately withdraw to the pre-1967 borders as required by the UN Security Council Resolution 242 and recognize a Palestinian state in the current occupied territories.

  4. StevoR says

    @ ^ Mano Singham : I’m sure you know that I’d disagree with those demands.

    1. US military action legitimately taken along with its allies against Da’esh (IS-IL/S) is not at all equivalent to Iran funding and supporting terrorist groups like Hamas, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad aimed at murdering innocent people. Do you seriously not see what a ridiculous false equivalence you are making there?

    2. a) Israel is not threatening to wipe out any other nation and has repeatedly tried to make peace with its neighbours. They have refused to even accept that the Jewish nation has a right to exist. Iran has at the very least strongly implied that they seek Israel’s complete annihilation.

    b) If it is confirmed that Israel has nuclear weapons then it almost certainly will spark a regional arms race. Ditto if Iran is allowed to gain nuclear WMDs. OTOH, if Iran is visibly stopped from gaining nukes and Israel retains its current nuclear ambiguity there will be a disincentive both for nuclear proliferation and for Arab nations to attack Israel. (Again.)

    c) The deal is about Iran’s nuclear ambitions not Israels and Israelis neither a signatory to the deal nor any part of it. Iran is the problem and subject here, Israel is not.

    3. i) The 1967 boundaries of Israel are not defensible* and won’t be returned to -- because it would be national suicide for Israel to do so and they obviously aren’t suicidal. Israel has previously swapped land for peace -- the Oslo accords in the 1990’s & Gaza hand back in 2000’s -- which sadly failed miserably due to a lack of serious desire for peace and desire to attack Israel from the Arab side.

    ii) Resolution 242 is null and void , outdated and comes from an organisation with a proven and notorious anti-Israeli bias. It was written in 1967 and subsequent events have rendered it a historic footnote. Israel attempted to fulfill its conditions in the Oslo accords which then failed because of Arafat’s refusal to make peace and decision to start another war instead. It was also deliberately worded to avoid demanding a full withdrawal from all land captured in 1967. Note it states “territories” without specifying them or saying “all territories.” According to its wikipedia page :

    Lord Caradon also maintained,

    We didn’t say there should be a withdrawal to the ’67 line; we did not put the ‘the’ in, we did not say all the territories, deliberately.. We all knew -- that the boundaries of ’67 were not drawn as permanent frontiers, they were a cease-fire line of a couple of decades earlier… We did not say that the ’67 boundaries must be forever; it would be insanity.[75]

    So no. Resolution 242 isn’t saying Israel has to return all captured lands or withdraw the 1967 lines even it was still relevant which it isn’t. Even if the UN was a fair arbiter and worth listening to and helpful on this issue which, again, is sadly not the case given its well known anti-Israeli bias and the reality of it being a “dictators debating club”and severely flawed.

    iii) The Palestinians already have two states -Jordan which is essentially Palestinian and composes 2/3rds the former Mandate and was specifically created as the Arab state for them and also Gaza. The reason there is no additional Palestine state is the fact that the Palestinians themselves have repeatedly rejected it in peace talks offering them nearly everything they wanted. It is going to be impossible for a peaceful Palestinian state to exist as long as Hamas and suchlike groups remain in power and continue seeking Israel’s destruction. (See above 3i.)

    It is my view that Egypt should take over Gaza and resume its responsibility for enforcing the law and preventing war from there. Some form of Palestinian state may happen in some areas but only when they show they can be trusted and are not a military (or demographic) threat to Israel and not until all terrorism and enabling and encouraging of terrorism has ceased from the Arab side.

    This is however a separate issue to the one of Iran ending its nuclear program and, if only, its global sponsorship of international terrorism which is the topic here.

    * See : “outstanding Explanation: Why Israel can’t withdraw to its pre ’67 borders line” an excellent summary of the reasons here.

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