Israel says it never promised the United States it would refrain from striking Iran while the latest nuclear talks were underway. However, some experts say the drive to strike Iran has little connection with Tehran’s alleged weapons program.
Ratcheting up the rhetoric, Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak told Israel’s Army Radio diplomatic efforts to reach a compromise with Iran were a waste of “precious time.”
Barak’s position comes in stark contrast to Saturday’s talks in Istanbul between Iran and the five plus one countries – the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany. Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalilil portrayed the talks as “very successful,” with a White House spokesman lauding Tehran’s “positive attitude.”
With the five plus one countries having agreed to meet with Iran again for talks in Baghdad next month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed Iran was given a “freebie” by the international community. US President Barrack Obama shot back, saying the US had not given anything away in the talks.
While Israel insists that it will use force to stop Iran from developing the capability to produce a nuclear weapon, Professor Seyed Mohammad Marandi from the University of Tehran told RT Iran poses a very different type of existential threat to the Jewish state.
“Israel has an inherent hostility towards Iran, and it has really nothing to do with the nuclear program. It began from the very start of the Islamic revolution in Iran. Because the Iranian position has always been that Israel is an apartheid state, and like apartheid South Africa, it must cease to exist in its current state of affairs.”
Marandi says that it is “the idea that Iran promotes that Palestinians should have equal rights that angers Israel so much” – rather than its nuclear program.
Marandi says Israel’s restlessness with the negotiations stems from the possibility “that Western countries may be shifting their positions” when it comes to Iran exercising its rights under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Marandi attributes this shift both to “the fact that oil prices have gone up dramatically and Western economies are hurting,” as well as his belief that “Iran is the only stable country in the region” following the Arab Spring.
While Marandi says Iran will never “give up its right to enrich uranium,” it could be more transparent with the UN nuclear watchdog.
“The Iranians of course have concerns,” he said. “In the past, every time the IAEA met new scientists or saw new places, subsequently we had assassinations and murders of Iranian scientists, including an academic who was a colleague of mine at the University of Tehran.”