By Tarek Fatah
07 April 2015
By any account the news was good.
An interim agreement was unveiled in Lausanne, Switzerland last week that would see Iran suspend nuclear enrichment and open itself to inspections in exchange for sanctions relief.
The “joint comprehensive plan of action,” had the backing of Russia, China, Britain, France, Germany and the United States, with additional support from India, South Africa and Japan among other democratic nations.
Opposing the Iranian nuclear deal was the bizarre alliance of U.S. Republicans and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, alongside Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and Qatar of the Arab world.
The coming together of Arab countries and Israel against Iran has little to do with the details of the deal and more to do with irrational hostility towards Tehran.
A quick glance at the “plan of action” agreed upon in Lausanne should convince any objective observer of its merits.
As part of the deal, Iran has made commitments that include:
Reducing the number of installed centrifuges by two-thirds.
Reducing its stockpile of enriched uranium by 97%.
Removing all advanced centrifuges (those that can enrich uranium at a much faster rate) and placing them in internationally monitored storage.
Destroying the core of the Arak heavy-water reactor, which could produce a plutonium bomb.
Shipping all its spent fuel out of the country, and forgoing additional reprocessing.
Critics of the deal cite the supposedly evil intentions of the Iranian ayatollahs.
Israelis and their supporters in the West invoke the raving mad speeches of former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his vow to wipe Israel from the map of the earth.
They have a valid point.
After all, Israel has lived most of its life with the omnipresent imminent specter of annihilation at the hands of its neighbours.
Despite having treaties with Egypt, Jordan and a stalemate with Syria and Lebanon, the moment Jerusalem lowers its guard its enemies will not shy away from trying to finish what Hitler started.
However, Israel’s leadership seems to be singularly obsessed with Iran for two reasons.
Those are the Jew-hating rhetoric of the ayatollahs and the possibility of Iran acquiring nuclear bombs.
But on both counts, Israel isolating Iran alone for having these attitudes does not withstand scrutiny.
If Ahmadinejad’s speech calling for the eviscerating of the Jewish state is reason to worry, then the weekly prayer in Saudi mosques for Israel’s destruction should also be cause for concern.
And if Iran’s future nukes are cause for concern, then Israel’s silence on Pakistan’s nukes that have the range to hit Tel Aviv is also questionable.
In addition, Saudi Arabia is said to have bought nukes off the shelf from Islamabad.
Yet to date, there has been silence from the Israeli government against Saudi Arabia or its client state, Pakistan.
Finally if Ahmedinejad’s words carry such significance, then the words of Iran’s current president, Hassan Rouhani, should matter too.
In 2006 when Rouhani was an outspoken critic of Ahmadinejad, he wrote a letter to the editor in TIME magazine:
“A nuclear-weaponized Iran destabilizes the region, prompts a regional arms race, and wastes the scarce resources in the region … An Iranian bomb will accord Iran no security dividends.”
It’s time for Israel to trust the world community.
Nations ranging from India to South Africa, Japan to China and France to Germany can’t all be wrong.
Saudi Arabia is the problem, not the solution.