Iran and the United Nation’s atomic-energy watchdog reached a surprise agreement this Sunday following a snap visit by the IAEA to Tehran. This agreement is, however, being quickly overshadowed by allegations from Israeli officials over Iranian offensive actions, regionally, and fear mongering concerning nuclear enrichment.
One of the greatest obstacles to an Iran-US re-establishment of the Obama-era Nuclear Agreement has been the US government’s closest Middle-Eastern ally, Israel. Formerly with the government of then-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and now with PM Naftali Bennett, the anti-Iran fear mongering and pressure has been relentless. As part of his Presidential campaign, Joe Biden had pledged that he would see it as a priority to get back into the JCPOA (Iran Deal), but has since failed to make any real steps towards getting it re-implemented.
The number one issue with the US approach to re-entering the deal has been its inability to drop the “maximum pressure” sanctions campaign that was started by former US President Donald Trump. If these sanctions were to be dropped, then Tehran could vow to reciprocate and go back to implementing their corresponding provisions of the agreement. But for the US and its ally Israel, the top items on the agenda when it comes to Iran are stopping their weapons development programs and limiting their relationships with regional allies and militias.
The Iran Nuclear Deal was originally created to stop the Islamic Republic from further enriching uranium, preventing them from acquiring a nuclear weapon, but it seems that at this point the bomb is no longer a top consideration for the West. Yet Western propaganda remains fixated on the issue of Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon.
Perhaps the biggest contradicting factor in the mainstream Western narrative here, is that Iran further enriching Uranium is in reaction to the deal being violated by the Trump era sanctions regime. The way to halt Iran’s alleged pursuit of weapons grade uranium is to implement the JCPOA and to allow monitors to inspect Tehran’s nuclear facilities. Instead, those who are most actively involved in fear-mongering about Iran’s pursuit of the bomb are the same ones blocking the only deal available to stop just that. Now, Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program, but even if it hypothetically didm as its most vocal critics allege, then surely any opportunity to prevent further enrichment would be seized.
With the inauguration of Iran’s newly elected President, Ebrahim Raisi, it has clearly become more difficult to negotiate a re-entry into the JCPOA and US efforts to restore it should have been accelerated during the end of ex-President Hassan Rouhani’s time in office; but even now, the new Iranian government is clearly open to the prospect. After strong criticism was leveled at Iran’s reported stonewalling of the IAEA, the International Atomic Energy Agency’s chief Rafael Grossi managed to obtain a “constructive” meeting in Tehran resulting in solving the issue of the servicing of monitoring equipment.
This positive step taken by Iran has now raised hopes of renewed talks between the Islamic Revolutionary Government and the West. Yet lo and behold, the very same day that such a development takes place, Israeli Minister of War, Benny Gantz, just so happens to reveal alleged smoking gun information about Iranian drone-warfare against the West and its allies.
This Saturday a drone-strike was reported to have hit Erbil International Airport in Northern Iraq, an area which hosts US forces in the country. Although there were no injuries or casualties, the attack has created speculation that the US may seek to retaliate against Iranian-backed groups. Although there is no indication that Iran was involved in this specific attack, the information just revealed by Israel accuses Iran of being behind similar acts. Benny Gantz claimed that “Terrorists from Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon are receiving training on how to operate Iran-made drones in the Kashan Base north of Isfahan. Kashan is leading Iran’s export of aerial terrorism in the region,” he then followed this claim with a call for signatories to the Iran Nuclear Deal to enact sanctions against Iran for its actions.
As usual, Israel never provides any evidence to prove its allegations. Yet if we are to assume Israel is telling the truth, this is completely irrelevant information at this point, as it is well known that Iran has aided its allies in the area of attack drone usage. The fact that Gantz has announced such a thing, only adds to the suspicion voiced by regional pundits that Israel could have been behind some of the drone attacks seen recently inside of Iraq. It is well known that loitering munitions (suicide drones) are an Israeli speciality and Israel has a launching pad in North Eastern Syria for such strikes; it wouldn’t be a stretch of the imagination for one to assume Israel could pull off such an attack. However, there is no proof that Israel has committed any such attacks, recently, and such an allegation is purely speculation, as are the allegations made against Iranian allied groups attached to the Iraqi Popular Mobilisation Units.
Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett also went on the offensive against Iran just days ago, stating that the ‘naive expectation that Iran will change path via negotiations has proven baseless’, urging further action be taken internationally against Tehran.
The reality is that Israel seeks to impoverish Iran through sanctions and is continuing to pursue operations in order to achieve the end goal of regime change. The Israeli Government clearly attaches little concern to the prospect of Iran seeking Nuclear Weapons and instead looks to undermine their international alliances and weapons programs. The US government has no option for war against Iran, so instead sanctions are its weapon of choice, which they use to try and stop Tehran from becoming more powerful. The fact that the Biden administration is being bullied into maintaining Donald Trump’s Iran policy, is ultimately destined to backfire regionally, and this mistake will only be felt harder if Biden chooses to continue his extremist approach.