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.”