Political analysts are predicting a growing rift between Israel and the US over Iran.
Just two weeks before the next round of talks is scheduled to begin in Geneva between Iran and the six world powers – the US, Russia, China, France, Great Britain plus Germany – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is warning the free world against easing economic sanctions against Iran unless its nuclear program is completely dismantled and its enriched uranium removed from the country.
“We must not forget that the Iranian regime has systematically misled the international community,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared at his weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday.
The next round of talks is set for November 7. While details of last week’s discussions in Geneva have remained largely secret, what is clear is that the P5 +1 powers are negotiating with Iran, which reportedly has offered to reduce – but not cease – its nuclear activity.
History is relevant, and the history of the years leading up to World War II is particularly relevant,” said Dr. Rafael Medoff, founding director of the Washington-based David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, in discussion with United with Israel. “Secretary of State Kerry recently called the crisis over Syria’s chemical weapons ‘our Munich moment’ – the moment when the world had to decide whether it would appease, or confront, a dangerous dictator.
Likewise, Prime Minister Netanyahu has compared those who want to appease Iran to those who tried to appease Hitler. “It’s important to learn from the mistakes of the 1930s so that our generation doesn’t repeat them.”
Netanyahu, in an interview broadcast Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” urged against acceptance of a “partial” agreement. “[Iran’s] assets were frozen for three reasons: one, Iran’s terrorist actions; two, its aggressive actions, particularly in the Gulf; and three, its continued refusal to stop the production of weapons of mass production. You know, if you get all three done and they stop doing it, well then I suppose you could unfreeze them,” Netanyahu reasoned.
US Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew, on the same program, acknowledged that it would be “premature” to discuss easing the sanctions, but he did not fully endorse Netanyahu’s conditions.
“I think the sanctions were working and that’s why the discussions have started,” he said on the program. “But we need to see what they’re going to actually do. We need to see [them] rolling back their nuclear program. And I can tell you that when the time comes, when those movements come, any changes will have to be proportionate.”
Netanyahu is scheduled to meet with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Rome on Wednesday to discuss this issue.
Yuval Steinitz, Israeli minister for Strategic Affairs, en route to Washington, made a stopover in Canada on Monday to meet with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Foreign Minister John Baird. Canada, under the Harper administration, has stood solidly behind Israel on security issues.
“Canada is very influential and can exercise its influence – in Europe, in China, in America, in Russia, and elsewhere,” Steinitz was quoted as saying in The Globe and Mail, a Canadian daily.” It’s very important. And I know that the Canadian government is already doing so.”
It must become “impossible for Iran to produce the bomb or even have the capacity to produce the bomb in the future,” the Israeli minister stated. “There can be no bargaining over Israel’s existence. While dialogue is a virtue, there can be no virtuous discussion with anyone wedded to Israel’s destruction. Today, the Jewish people are masters of their own fate, like other nations, in their own sovereign Jewish state. Like other nations, Israel has the right to defend itself, by itself.”