Ephraim Halevy, the former head of Israel intelligence agency the Mossad explains to PBS why he believes that the current Iran nuclear deal is acceptable. He also talks about the side deal between the IAEA and Iran.
The interview below with Yossi Alpher who was the Mossad’s former Iran desk officer reveals how the Mossad turned down a request by former Iranian Prime Minister Shapour Bakhtiyar to assassinate Ayatollah Khomeini.
He also talks about how if the current regime in Iran changes its stance towards Israel, there would be a very long line of Israelis willing to reestablish ties and to do business with the regime in Tehran, and the sense of betrayal which some Israelis feel towards president Obama.
You can watch the interview here:
Yesterday Amir Oren published a piece in Haaretz about the Iran deal and the view of some of Iran analysts working for the Israeli military intelligence. Among other things, in the article he states:
“There are those in the Intelligence Corps, including those in the research division dealing with Iran, who have a very positive view of the nuclear agreement. “
Last night I was interviewed alongside Amir for the i24 news program, where Amir discussed his article in more details. He also mentioned an unprecedented intelligence sharing offer being made by the U.S which would give Israel access to raw intelligence material which no one else except the US would have. Netanyahu has not accepted this offer.
And how some in the military intelligence community are very concerned about the damage being caused to the Israel – US relations.
You can watch interview here:
Will the removal of sanctions make much difference to Iran’s economy? What are the other obstacles which Iran’s economy faces?
These questions are addressed in the panel discussion below.
Two days ago, The Foreign Press Association in Israel (FPA) invited Dr Dore Gold, the Director General of the Israel Foreign Ministry and the former head of the Conservative Think Tank JCPA to present the Israeli government’s position on Iran and the nuclear talks.
The FPA then gave me the floor to comment on the official Israeli government’s position, as presented by Dr Gold.
The summary of both of our comments was published in this report by the Jerusalem Post.
Just one correction: where it says “Iran’s ethnic cleansing of Sunnis ” is wrong. I stated “Iran regime Shiite allies ethnic cleansing of Sunnis”
Here is a summary of my points.
Meir Javedanfar, an Iranian- born analyst who now lives in Tel Aviv and lectures at the IDC Herzliya, took issue with some of Gold’s statements Because Iran is obliged to allow inspection of undeclared sites, it cannot hide nuclear activity, he insisted.
“Nuclear material is extremely difficult to remove from air, land, or water,” he said, and therefore no matter what Iran might do, it would not succeed in hiding its nuclear operations.
The deal is not about trusting the Iranian regime, he insisted. “When it’s not in their interests they don’t keep deals. When it is in their interests they keep deals that others would throw away. Nobody trusts the Iranian regime, but you have to look at their political eco system. It’s not a question about trust. It’s a question about mistrust and verification.”
Javedanfar also made the point that if the Iranians had wanted to make a nuclear weapon, they would have done so before the agreement.
He suggested that what the West does not understand is that “in Iran there is a regime and there is a government, and we have to make that distinction.”
President Hassan Rouhani does not make any decisions without the instructions or approval of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said Javedanfar, who remarked that Khamenei is now distancing himself from Rouhani and letting him take the blame for anything that looks like compromise on Iran’s part in the agreement.
“If you want a moderate Iran, you have to worry about Rouhani,” he said.
Javedanfar left room for hope by saying that “Iran’s image in the region is starting to nosedive.” Iran’s ethnic cleansing of Sunnis is impacting on the region and is contributing to a strong anti-Iran coalition, said Javedanfar.
Talking peace with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas would make Israel’s position more acceptable in the region, he added.
As an Iranian who knows the language and the mentality of his former fellow countrymen, Javedanfar was adamant that “the Iranian regime is not an existential threat to Israel. It is a strategic threat.”
A prominent reason given by those who believe that the current Iran deal is a bad deal is one that says the current deal does not force Iran to completely dismantle its nuclear program.
As someone who follows Iranian domestic politics closely, looking at this reason from a domestic Iranian political angle, in my opinion it is extremely unlikely that Iran’s leadership, with Ayatollah Khamenei at its helm, would agree to such a demand. There are numerous reasons why I believe this to be true, the extremely, almost unbearable high domestic political cost of adhering to such a demand being one of them.
Therefore, I disagree with the argument that says Iran’s leadership, through the continuation of the current negotiations can be forced to dismantle its entire nuclear program.
I would like to invite an expert from the other side of the argument who specializes in domestic Iranian politics to debate me on-line on this topic.
To make this a specialist level debate for our audience, I believe that the opposite side of the debate should also be a Persian speaker who can also read Persian fluently and to have published at least 1 article on a subject concerning domestic Iranian politics, for a news site or for an academic journal.
Do you know of anyone who would like to take part in such a debate?