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Some Iranians and Israelis in full agreement on wanting to stop Iran nuclear deal

Hawks in Iran and Israel agree: Biden’s bid to salvage nuclear deal must not succeed, Guardian, Simon Tisdall     21 Feb 21 With elections looming in both states, and hardliners out to ensure the collapse of the 2015 deal, time is running short for the US president to save it

or sworn enemies, Iran and Israel have much in common. Both are regional powers, projecting their interests beyond their borders. Both are beholden, in different ways, to shifting US policy. Both have secretive nuclear programmes. And both are heading towards national elections – in Israel next month, in Iran in June – that could decide whether cold-hearted enmity turns into hot-blooded war.

The stand-off over Iran’s alleged attempts, which are always denied, to acquire atomic bomb-making capacity has gone on for so long that its dangers are often underestimated. Yet the coming days are crucial. Iran has set 21 February as a deadline for an easing of unilateral US sanctions. If it is ignored, Tehran is threatening to ban snap UN inspections of its nuclear facilities and further ramp up proscribed atomic activities……….

The escalating crisis has brought a flurry of diplomatic activity in recent days, involving Germany and Qatar who are acting as go-betweens. Crucially, the US accepted an EU invitation to join talks with Iran on returning to mutual compliance with the deal. In its response on Friday, Iran’s foreign ministry stuck to its previous position that all sanctions must be lifted before talks can begin

This will not be the last word. But it is a reminder of the sobering – and alarming – reality that powerful individuals and factions on both sides are doing all they can to ensure the 2015 deal definitively collapses. In Iran, hardline candidates and members of the Majlis (parliament), focused on June’s presidential poll, oppose any kind of rapprochement with America.

They include leading presidential hopeful Hossein Dehghan. He reportedly has the backing of Iran’s ultra-conservative supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has sworn never to talk to America. Dehghan accuses Biden of bad faith. “We still see the same policies … as we did from the Trump team: not lifting the oppressive sanctions against the Iranian people,” he told the Guardian

Such scepticism reflects genuine distrust, and fear of another Trump-style stab in the back. But it is also the result of calculation, suggested analyst Saeid Jafari . “Biden’s victory [over Trump] came as a big disappointment to hardliners seeking to undermine Rouhani’s last-ditch effort to save the nuclear accord,” he wrote. They may try to scupper any talks……..

Strong opposition to the deal, however Biden plays it, is evident in Israel, where the hard-right prime minister and close Trump ally, Benjamin Netanyahu, is fighting for his political life. Netanyahu encouraged Trump to ditch the pact, even as Israel has expanded its own nuclear facilities. He vehemently warns against resurrecting it as he woos Jewish supremacist parties in Israel’s fourth election in two years……..

Against all this must be set common sense. Trump’s maximum pressure policy failed miserably. It did not mitigate regional tensions or reduce proxy attacks. Rather, illegal US and Israeli assassinations of high-profile figures increased them. Sanctions have hurt Iranians, but did not topple the regime or change its behaviour. Iran is closer now to a nuclear weapon than in 2016.

Biden’s instinct to try to break this impasse and find a diplomatic way through – supported by the UK, Germany and France – is the right one. But words are not enough. As a sign of good faith, he should swiftly relax some sanctions and unfreeze Iran’s Covid-related $5bn IMF loan request.

Time is short. Proving peace works may be the only way to halt the fatal advance of warmongers in Israel and Iran.  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/feb/21/hawks-in-iran-and-israel-agree-bidens-bid-to-salvage-nuclear-deal-must-not-succeed

February 23, 2021 - Posted by | Iran, Israel, politics international

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