Opting for war with Iran would be sheer stupidity

1 May 2018

Opting for war with Iran would be sheer stupidity

While there have been positive developments in recent weeks in the relationship between North and South Korea, tensions surrounding Iran have at the same time been intensifying in rapid tempo. This is an extremely worrying development which could lead to an eruption of violence. That must be prevented.

Last Monday there was an attack on Iranian targets in Syria, where the Iranian government supports the Assad regime. No-one claimed responsibility, but the suspected perpetrator in many people's view was Israel, a country which has launched many air-raids against its neighbour. In common with last month's US/French/British attack, such an action is in conflict with international law. More than twenty Iranians are believed to have died in the attack.

Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu tightened the screw on Monday evening. During a presentation, which he said was based on 10,000 secret documents regarding the Iranian nuclear programme which the Israeli secret service had managed to lay its hands on, he claimed that the Iran nuclear deal wasn't working. The country could not be trusted and in the past it had had a nuclear weapons programme. Even now this programme might, on paper, be continuing. This has always been denied by Iran.

These developments are taking place against a background of a rapidly approaching American deadline on the Iran nuclear accord. By 12th May at the latest, President Trump must decide whether the US will hold to the agreement or violate it, restoring sanctions. EU countries are warning the US not to break up the deal.

This warning is justified. The agreement with Iran is the best guarantee that the Iranians will not expand their nuclear programme. If the US turns its back on diplomacy in this instance, the chances are enormous that tensions will rise still further, which could possibly result in yet another war. Hawks in the US and Israel are already crying out for just that. Following the wars against Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, all three of which were fiascos, it should not be necessary to explain why opting for war would be completely stupid.

This does not of course mean that Iran, which has kept its side of the deal up to now, has a free hand. If the Iranians were truly working on developing a nuclear bomb, then the international community would be obliged to take action and impose measures.

In this context it's striking that the EU High Representative on Foreign Policy, Federica Mogherini, has stated that she did not find Netanyahu's presentation convincing. It could well be that the background to this is that the Israeli premier has already lied in the past, for example in 2002 when he claimed with a straight face that Saddam Hussein was developing nuclear weapons, one of the many lies which gave us the Iraq war, as well as, indirectly, ISIS.

In any case, far-reaching allegations such as Netanyahu's should be independently examined. The best people to perform such an investigation are the inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency, who, precisely as a result of the Iran deal have greater access to the country.

Moreover, the effect on North Korea of American duplicity over Iran should not be underestimated. What will Kim Jong-un think if during the negotiations the US promises not to attack his country if he renounces nuclear weapons?


Sadet Karabulut is the SP's parliamentary spokeswoman on foreign policy. This article first appeared, in the original Dutch, on joop.nl

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