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July 7, 2016 2

The Iran Nuclear Deal: One Year Later

By Jonathan Green­blatt
CEO of the Anti-Defamation League

This blog orig­i­nally appeared on Medium

As we approach the first anniver­sary of the Joint Com­pre­hen­sive Plan of Action (JCPOA) it is an appro­pri­ate time to reassess the mer­its of the deal. ADL was among the nuclear deal’s crit­ics.

Beyond the nuclear restraints it would impose on Iran, our con­cern it is that it would nor­mal­ize an expan­sion­ist, mil­i­tant regime whose unre­pen­tant and fun­da­men­tal­ist ide­ol­ogy was not tamed by the deal.

Unlike pre­vi­ous major arms con­trol treaties in our country’s past that sig­naled a strate­gic turn in rela­tion with his­toric adver­saries, the Iran nuclear deal promised no such realign­ment. That is why we felt the sun­set of the JCPOA’s most impor­tant con­straints posed such a trou­bling prob­lem. That is ulti­mately why we could not abide by it.

Iran Deal-condensed

Dur­ing the past year, Iran has taken key steps out­lined in the JCPOA to limit its nuclear pro­gram, includ­ing ship­ping the vast major­ity of its enriched ura­nium out of the coun­try and dis­man­tling cen­trifuges. In this sense, the Admin­is­tra­tion has deliv­ered on its imme­di­ate term objec­tives of sig­nif­i­cantly length­en­ing the break­out time for Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon. Fur­ther­more, the inter­na­tional com­mu­nity suc­cess­fully has imple­mented a far reach­ing ver­i­fi­ca­tion sys­tem across the entire sup­ply chain of the pro­duc­tion of ura­nium, mak­ing it far less likely for Iran to suc­cess­fully main­tain a covert ura­nium enrich­ment capac­ity. Indeed, as retired Israeli gen­eral and for­mer direc­tor of Mil­i­tary Intel­li­gence, Amos Yadlin has pointed out, if Iran remains fully com­pli­ant with the terms of the JCPOA, the deal will sig­nif­i­cantly reduce the imme­di­ate threat of a nuclear con­flict in the Mid­dle East.

Any rea­son­able observers must acknowl­edge this impor­tant reduc­tion of nuclear risk in the short term. How­ever, it would be fool­ish not to con­sider the wider effects of the JCPOA in the region — as well the chal­lenges the deal will present over the long term. Iran reached an accom­mo­da­tion with the inter­na­tional com­mu­nity due to the tremen­dous eco­nomic dam­age it suf­fered under the unprece­dented sanc­tions regime. Together with the pre­cip­i­tous drop in oil prices, the Islamic Repub­lic of Iran essen­tially made a deal to post­pone its nuclear options for 10–15 years.

But even before Iran is — under the terms of the deal — allowed to engage in research and devel­op­ment on advanced cen­trifuges, we can eval­u­ate its behav­ior to deter­mine whether early com­pli­ance was a good mea­sure of the long term effec­tive­ness of the JCPOA in terms of help­ing to facil­i­tate Iran’s reen­try into the com­mu­nity of nations. The­o­ret­i­cally there is much we can learn by look­ing at the early warn­ing signs rather than wait­ing for a decade to deter­mine progress. Indeed, in that time­frame, when sanc­tions are only a dis­tant mem­ory and with busi­ness and for­eign invest­ment likely flow­ing, a regime still com­mit­ted to hos­til­ity could try to vio­late aspects of the agree­ment, test­ing the inter­na­tional com­mu­ni­ties’ will­ing­ness to enforce its pro­vi­sions. Per­haps at first, these vio­la­tions will not be egre­gious. But, slowly, an unre­pen­tant Iran is likely to test the lim­its of enforcement.

So is Iran nor­mal­iz­ing? Does the JCPOA her­ald a new era in its rela­tions with the West? The early signs are not encouraging.

“Today the most impor­tant point for the Islamic world is unity against Israel and who­ever breaks this unity would be a trai­tor. Peo­ple of Iran never aban­don their goal. I hope that a third intifada will lead to the destruc­tion of Israel.”

— Grand Aya­tol­lah Hos­sein Nouri Hamadani

Iran’s con­tin­ued devel­op­ment of bal­lis­tic mis­siles while not included in the terms of the JCPOA, con­tin­ues in clear vio­la­tion of exist­ing UN Secu­rity Coun­cil Res­o­lu­tions. So far it has faced few consequences.

It main­tains the unen­vi­able title of the “fore­most state spon­sor of ter­ror­ism” in the world.

As man­i­fested in recent Quds Day demon­stra­tions, its con­tin­ued geno­ci­dal rant­i­ngs toward Israel — includ­ing threats by Iran’s Supreme Leader that “God will­ing, there will be no such thing as a Zion­ist regime in 25 years. Until then, strug­gling, heroic and jihadi morale will leave no moment of seren­ity for Zion­ists,” — are far out­side the pale, indica­tive of its role as lead­ing fomenter of regional instability.

Indeed, in the eyes of its neigh­bors, the Iran­ian threat has grown, not dimin­ished since the deal was signed. More trou­bling is that few coun­tries have con­fi­dence that Iran­ian expan­sion­ism will be con­tained by reli­able Amer­i­can lead­er­ship are low. Reports indi­cate that it is increas­ing its fund­ing for the Lebanese ter­ror mili­tia Hezbol­lah whose leader recently admit­ted that for his group, “its bud­get, its income, its expenses, every­thing it eats and drinks, its weapons and rock­ets, come from the Islamic Repub­lic of Iran.”

Beyond Lebanon, Iran works to spread its rev­o­lu­tion­ary ide­ol­ogy in order to desta­bi­lize other coun­tries through­out the region includ­ing IraqBahrain,Yemen and oth­ers. The noted Syrian-Palestinian activist Kassem Eid pub­licly described the Islamic Repub­lic as “a reli­gious dic­ta­tor­ship, the Shia face of ISIS” that “uses its resources to estab­lish a sec­tar­ian empire across the Islamic world.”

Iran’s record on human rights at home is deplorable. Dr. Ahmed Sha­heed, UN spe­cial rap­por­teur for human rights in Iran, recently reported that there “is an alarm­ing surge in the rate of unlaw­ful exe­cu­tions in the coun­try, and ongo­ing arbi­trary arrests, deten­tions and pros­e­cu­tions of indi­vid­ual for the exer­cise of their fun­da­men­tal rights.” Eth­nic and reli­gious minori­ties includ­ing Baha’i,Chris­tians, and Sunni Mus­lims con­tinue to suf­fer the cruel whims of the regime. Sim­i­lar sorry fate is what is faced by juve­niles and jour­nal­ists tar­geted by the regime.

One year after it signed the sup­pos­edly his­toric agree­ment with the United States and its part­ners in the P5+1, the Islamic Repub­lic remains the lead­ing exporter of deadly con­spir­acy the­o­ries and hos­tile pro­pa­ganda against the Jew­ish peo­ple and the Jew­ish state. In recent months we have seen a revival of their noto­ri­ous Holo­caust car­toon con­test, which encour­ages Holo­caust revi­sion­ism and out­right denial. The regime is a font of global anti-Semitism. Wild accu­sa­tions of Zion­ist plots abound, such as blam­ing imports of genet­i­cally mod­i­fied prod­ucts to infect Ira­ni­ans with dis­eases on the Zion­istsor accus­ing “Jew­ish actors” of con­spir­ing Saudis to spread Wah­habism. In the last few days when the rest of the world has mourned the loss of noted peace activist Elie Weisel, Iran opted to slan­der the Nobel Lau­re­ate as a “crim­i­nal Zion­ist and fake wit­ness of Holocaust.”

And while the lift­ing of sanc­tions was the trade-off in the deal, it is still trou­bling to see the Islamic Repub­lic land large con­tracts with ven­er­ated West­ern firms, such as Boeing’s $25 bil­lion deal with Iran to build up its air fleet. Not only might some of the planes be used for Iran­ian mil­i­tary activ­i­ties, this sends an unam­bigu­ous mes­sage that Iran has become a fully-accepted mem­ber of the inter­na­tional com­mu­nity, a viable part­ner for busi­ness, with­out chang­ing its extrem­ist course.

All of these signs speak to a real­ity that Iran remains a bel­liger­ent actor whose norms and rhetoric do not line up with those of other nations, save per­haps North Korea. Despite the early ben­e­fits of the JCPOA, the regime appears more inter­ested in hos­til­ity than nor­malcy. It is clear, given its regional behav­ior, that Iran does not suf­fi­ciently fear con­se­quences for its actions. In short, it is unde­terred. This is all the more alarm­ing because as the robust­ness of the pro­vi­sions restrict­ing Iran’s nuclear ambi­tions wane towards the end of the life of the deal, cred­i­ble deter­rence will be the only force keep­ing it from cross­ing the hair-thin thresh­old to nuclear weapons.

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March 27, 2015 1

Arab Media Cartoons Relating to the Israeli Elections and Tensions with the US

Fol­low­ing Israeli Prime Min­is­ter Netanyahu’s elec­tion vic­tory ear­lier this month, and the increas­ing ten­sions in the rela­tion­ship between PM Netanyahu and Pres­i­dent Obama, news­pa­pers across the Arab world pub­lished a num­ber of related anti-Israel and anti-Semitic car­toons. Some rep­re­sent unhap­pi­ness within the Arab world over PM Netanyahu’s vic­tory, por­tray­ing him and the Israeli vot­ers as inher­ently vio­lent and racist, while oth­ers resort to the anti-Semitic stereo­type of Jews and Israel con­trol­ling Pres­i­dent Obama and the US government.

The car­toons reflect a wide­spread view within the Arab world that Israeli elec­tion results rep­re­sent a shift towards a more extreme right-wing stance on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, which will ulti­mately result in dam­age to the Pales­tin­ian cause. They also high­light a belief that the rift in US-Israel rela­tions will ulti­mately fail to alter over­all US sup­port of and per­ceived bias towards Israel and its policies.

The fol­low­ing are some exam­ples of the car­toons published:

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January 9, 2015 57

Anti-Semitic Conspiracies Predictably Surface After Paris Attacks

Update –Jan­u­ary, 15, 2015: For more exam­ples, see also: Anti-Semitic Con­spir­a­cies Con­tinue In After­math Of Paris Attacks

In the after­math of the ter­ror attack in Paris at the Char­lie Hebdo office, con­spir­acy the­o­ries blam­ing Jews and Israel for the attack imme­di­ately sur­faced in the U.S and abroad.

Image accompanying Kevin Barrett's Veterans Today article

Image accom­pa­ny­ing Kevin Barrett’s Vet­er­ans Today article

The sub­se­quent hostage sit­u­a­tion at a Kosher super­mar­ket in Paris, where at least four hostages were killed, will undoubt­edly feed into the con­spir­acy the­o­ries as they con­tinue to spread, as they often do after a ter­ri­ble tragedy.

In the U.S., anti-Semitic con­spir­acy the­o­rists, who never miss an oppor­tu­nity to exploit tragedies to pro­mote their anti-Jewish hatred, and two anti-Israel activists blamed Jews or Israel for the attacks:

  • Mark Glenn, a vir­u­lently anti-Semitic con­spir­acy the­o­rist, wrote on his blog The Ugly Truth that “The mas­sacre in Paris as [sic] yet another False Flag event aimed at re-igniting and re-invigorating Judea’s declared war against Islam.” The state­ment is accom­pa­nied by an image of Israeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Netanyahu with the cap­tion “…It will gen­er­ate imme­di­ate sym­pa­thy for Israel.”
  • On Vet­er­ans Today, a U.S.-based web­site that presents anti-Semitic con­spir­acy the­o­ries as news, Gilad Atz­mon, an Israeli-born anti-Semite based in Lon­don, claimed that France some­how deserved these attacks due to actions he claims were pushed for by “the Jew­ish lobby group CRIF.” He also chas­tises France for “fol­low­ing the whims of The Lobby.” He posited, “It is quite prob­a­bly that this was another false flag oper­a­tion. Who could be behind it? Use your imagination…”
  • Kevin Bar­rett, an anti-Semitic con­spir­acy the­o­rist and fre­quent con­trib­u­tor to Iran’s Eng­lish lan­guage pro­pa­ganda news net­work, Press TV, wrote an arti­cle in Vet­er­ans Today titled “Paris ‘Char­lie Hebdo Attack’: Another Zion­ist False Flag?” In the arti­cle Bar­rett describes the attack as Zion­ist “orches­trated” ret­ri­bu­tion for French for­eign pol­icy on Israel and the Pales­tini­ans. Bar­rett also implies that Israel is behind “Malaysian planes…falling out of the sky” as pun­ish­ment for Malaysian for­eign pol­icy on Israel, and that the 2011 attacks in Nor­way that killed 77 peo­ple were per­pe­trated by Israel against Norway’s Labor Party for its poli­cies on Israel.
  • Greta Berlin and Mary Hughes-Thompson, anti-Israel activists who co-founded the Free Gaza Move­ment (FGM), have also alleged Israel is behind the attack. Greta Berlin wrote on Face­book that “MOSSAD just hit the Paris offices of Char­lie Hebdo in a clumsy false flag designed to dam­age the accord between Pales­tine and France…Here’s hop­ing the French police will be able to tell a well exe­cuted hit by a well trained Israeli intel­li­gence ser­vice and not assume the Mus­lims would be likely to attack France when France is their freind [sic.] Israel did tell France there would be grave con­se­quences if they voted with Pales­tine. A four year old could see who is respon­si­ble for this ter­ri­ble attack.” Mary Hughes-Thompson posted on Twit­ter that “#Hebdo killings inde­fen­si­ble. Can’t help think­ing #JSIL Mossad false flag though….” JSIL is the acronym for “Jew­ish State in the Lev­ant,” a term being used by anti-Israel activists to equate Israel with ISIS.

Inter­na­tion­ally, such con­spir­acy the­o­ries have entered into more main­stream media and been pro­moted by var­i­ous individuals:

  • India: Mother Jones reported that Inter­na­tional Busi­ness Times India pub­lished an arti­cle that posited that the Mossad, Israel’s national intel­li­gence ser­vice, was to blame. “Although there is no way to ver­ify the claims that Mossad was involved, the back­drop in which the attack took place seems to indi­cate that they might be involved, many con­spir­acy the­o­rists have noted. Mossad is respon­si­ble for intel­li­gence col­lec­tion and has under­taken many covert oper­a­tions for Israel in Europe that aim to fur­ther their Jew­ish cause.” The arti­cle has since been replaced with an editor’s note stat­ing that the arti­cle alleg­ing this link “should never have been published.”
  • Tunisia: Tunisia Times posted an arti­cle on Jan­u­ary 9 on its web­site titled “Amer­i­can Resources: The Mossad is behind Char­lie Hebdo oper­a­tion in France” Accord­ing to the report, “Even­tu­ally, the Mossad hired Mus­lims from Ara­bic ori­gins to carry the attack to increase hos­til­ity towards Mus­lims worldwide.”

    charlie-hebdo-al-dostor-egypt

    Image from arti­cle in Egypt’s Al Dos­tor news­pa­per describ­ing the Mossad as car­ry­ing out the attack.

  • Egypt: Cairo-based daily news­pa­per, Al Dos­tor, pub­lished a report on its web­site yes­ter­day titled “Sur­prise… Accus­ing the Mossad of car­ry­ing out the oper­a­tion against the French news­pa­per Char­lie Hebdo.” Accord­ing to the news­pa­per, the Berlin-based Free Gaza move­ment accused the Mossad of exe­cut­ing the attack which tar­geted the head­quar­ters of the French satir­i­cal news­pa­per Char­lie Hebdo, and not any other ter­ror­ist group as it was reported.
  • Jor­dan: Rawafed News web­site pub­lished an arti­cle by Assad Al Azony on Jan­u­ary 8 titled” The tragedy of satir­i­cal Char­lie Hebdo… Search for Jews and the extreme French right wing [to be behind it]. Accord­ing to the arti­cle, “One must be cer­tain that Jews and the French extreme right wing exe­cuted this ter­ror­ist attack.”
  • Lebanon: Mid­dle East Panorama Media and News Agency pub­lished an arti­cle today on its web­site by Ahmed Al Shar­qawy titled “Char­lie Hebdo… Oh Arabs, be aware of the Zion­ist trap.” Al Shar­qawy claimed in his arti­cle that a pro-Palestinian Jew­ish friend who lives in France con­tacted him in the past warn­ing that the same news­pa­per is suf­fer­ing from a finan­cial cri­sis and that “Zion­ist Jews advised the news­pa­per to fab­ri­cate a bar­baric attack against the free­dom of expres­sion to increase its sales.”
  • Turkey: Coor­di­na­tor  of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood affil­i­ated orga­ni­za­tion Inter­na­tional Rabia Plat­form, Turk­ish jour­nal­ist Cihangir İşbilir, posted a com­ment on his Twit­ter account on Jan­u­ary 7, stat­ing “Alter­na­tive sce­nario: France angered Israel, because it would sup­port Pales­tine in the UN secu­rity Coun­cil. Mossad com­mit­ted the ter­ror­ist attack.
  • West Bank: Mazin Qum­siyeh, a con­spir­a­to­r­ial anti-Israel activist who has a his­tory of mak­ing anti-Semitic state­ments, sent an e-mail on Jan­u­ary 9 to his list­serv sug­gest­ing that the attacks in France may have been per­pe­trated by a state intel­li­gence ser­vice. He stated, “Whether this was yet another false flag oper­a­tion or by rogue ter­ror­ists not left alive to be ques­tioned, Zion­ists are milk­ing it to the best of their (very large) media abilities.”

Anti-Semites have pro­moted such absurd the­o­ries to explain events in Syria, the Boston Marathon bomb­ing, the Sandy Hook Mas­sacre, and the 9/11 ter­ror­ist attacks. In the Mid­dle East, there are those that claim that ISIS and the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood have secret alliances with the Jews or that the Jews cre­ated such ter­ror­ist groups for nefar­i­ous purposes.

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