Sunday, December 1, 2013

From Munich to Geneva = Lesson Unlearned

by Joseph Puder

Over the weekend of November 23-24, 2013, a deal was struck between the 5+1 powers and Iran. The deal was consummated following secret negotiations in Amman Jordan, between US and Iranian diplomats. The Obama administration’s eagerness to embrace the deal with Iran and its new president Hassan Rouhani, is transparent. Sadly, it is reminiscent of an earlier negotiation that took place between Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany and the western powers of Britain and France, in September,1938, known as the Munich Agreement. Now, as then, regime change was not the goal. The western powers have considered easing tensions in the region, and will get instead a nuclearized Middle East. In 1938, they sought to appease a rogue nation in order to prevent a war, and received instead a World War.

It is interesting to note that the talking heads appearing on ABC, CBS, CNN, and Fox, (to name a few), have discussed the variables of the agreement. Some supported it, yet others felt it was shortcoming and would enable Iran to continue to enrich uranium, and add centrifuges, and ultimately build a nuclear bomb. Few if any however, discussed the need for a regime change in Iran. What the White House and media have done in addition to the flawed interim agreement, is to legitimize the Islamic Republic, a regime that oppresses its own people, persecutes Sunni-Muslims and other minorities, such as the Baha’is, Christians and Jews. In addition, the Tehran regime is a global sponsor of terrorism.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called the deal with Iran “an historic mistake,” and added that it “makes the world a much more dangerous place.” Netanyahu said that Israel will not be bound by it. He pointed out that the sanctions imposed on Iran offered the “best chance for a peaceful solution.” He told the Knesset that, “Israel has the right to defend itself by itself, and emphasized that Israel will not allow Iran to develop a military nuclear capability. For Israel, it signifies mortal danger and an existential threat.

On a previous weekend, Netanyahu asserted that “easing the sanctions would endanger the whole sanctions regime that took years to make.” In an interview with CNN’s State of the Union program he added, “You are going to get investors, companies, and countries scrambling one after the other to try to get deals with Iran, because economies and prices work on future expectations.” Netanyahu has proposed that Iran surrender some of its uranium stockpiles, which it has already been enriched, so that Tehran won’t have the fissile material needed for a nuclear weapon. He also declared that Israel does not trust Iran to cooperate in subsequent negotiations.

Recently, President Rouhani proposed that Iran will end its uranium enrichment at the 20% level in exchange for receiving fuel for its nuclear reactor, allegedly to manufacture medical drugs. Israel views Rouhani’s proposal as a cheap ploy. Jerusalem contends that isotopes needed for medical drugs could be obtained in the free market, and do not require a nuclear reactor. In his charm offensive towards the west, Rouhani has promised that Iran would never develop a nuclear weapon, but at the same time he insisted that Iran must retain the right to enrich uranium. And, while PM Netanyahu called Rouhani’s claims “fraudulent,” others might call him a “taqiyyah artist,” which Encyclopedia Britannica explains as “the practice of concealing one’s belief,” or simply put, lying and deceiving the enemy.

The Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei stated on Wednesday, November 20, 2013, that Iran will not give up the right to enrich uranium. Speaking to the Basij force which is controlled by the Revolutionary Guard, Khamenei declared “There are red lines. There are limits. These limits must be observed.” He declared that Israel is doomed to fail and characterized the “Zionist regime” as the “sinister, unclean rabid dog of the region” and added that “Israelis cannot be called human beings.” The last regime to charge that Jews were not human beings was Nazi Germany. The world ignored it then and it helped facilitate the Holocaust.  Once again, the US and the European powers have chosen to ignore the leader’s vulgar statements, and signed a deal with his regime.

Iran’s Islamic Republic has a pretty murky record on trust. It has cheated the international community, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) regarding its nuclear facilities. It took Iranian defectors and opposition leaders to reveal the truth about Iran’s nuclear program, and the existence of hidden nuclear facilities in Arak (heavy water facility) and a uranium enrichment plant in Natanz. The IAEA also revealed Iran’s policy of deception and lies, and in October, 2003, it served Iran with an ultimatum to come clean on its nuclear program. Another ultimatum in 2004 ordered Iran to cease its uranium enrichment. All of these ultimatums had little effect on Iran, which was aided by the Egyptian head of the IAEA, Muhammad el-Baradei. IAEA warnings were not followed by sanctions, and it encouraged Tehran to continue with its tactics of revealing one facility while hiding two others from the international community.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal (11/19/2013), Claudia Rosett pointed out that “Mr. Kerry and his team have yet to address one of the biggest challenges: the example set by North Korea, which over the past two decades has shown the world – Iran, not least – how a rogue state can exploit over-eager western diplomacy to haggle and cheat its way to the nuclear bomb.” The Tehran regime is just as much a rogue state as North Korea. It is the premier terror-sponsoring state in the world, with a doomsday ideology that believes in order to usher in the coming of the Mehdi (Shiite messiah), “hidden imam,” an Armageddon must occur, which will wipe out the non-believers, first and foremost the big and little Satan, namely the US and Israel. While America is too big, too far, and too strong for Iran to tackle, Israel is close, small, and perceived as weak. Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahamdinejad declared his vision of a world without Zionism and stated on October 27, 2005, “that Israel must be wiped off the map.”

The Tehran regime may or may not adhere to the interim agreement. Regardless, it continues to be a dangerous regime that threatens genocide and fosters instability in the region. The only way to regain peace and stability in the region is by affecting a regime change in Iran. The majority of Iran’s population would welcome it, and the Sunni minorities (Kurds, Baluchis, and Ahwazi Arabs) who are locked in combat with the regime, would opt for peace. The Arab Gulf states would be relieved, and cancel their plans to nuclearize. Active support for opposition groups in Iran and tough sanctions might very well bring down the regime. This should be the goal of the Western governments. The interim agreement does the opposite. It strengthens the regime’s grip on the Iranian people.

The Obama administration’s efforts to disengage the US from conflict by appeasing dangerous foes such as Iran will surely bring consequences that cannot be imagined. The Obama administration’s failure to act on the Red Line it presented to Assad of Syria on his use of chemical weapons, served to encourage Iranian President Rouhani. It has emboldened his negotiators to demand relief from western sanctions while Tehran refuses to refrain from uranium enrichment. Iran continues to develop its strategic nuclear weapons. In short, we are living through a repeat of the 1938 Munich Agreement, which sacrificed Czechoslovakia on the altar of “peace in our time” as proclaimed by Neville Chamberlain. It cost humanity 60 million dead souls. Nazi Germany was unrestrained by western weakness, and so is Iran.

Joseph Puder


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