by Dan Raviv
The head of Iran’s delegation at the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna is boasting that Iran “sometimes” gives “false information” to the IAEA.
In the logic of Fereydoun Abbasi Davani (see Haaretz’s story at http://bit.ly/PCTLMR), the U.N. agency shares intelligence with spies from Israel, the United States, Britain, and other nations — and one result was the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists in Tehran. Therefore, Iran started lying, “to protect our nuclear sites and our interests.”
Now, on the one hand, a cynic could point out that the history of Israel’s unacknowledged nuclear arsenal — told, in unique detail, in our book — included plenty of untruths and half-truths. As we write, after Richard Nixon became president in 1969, the United States more-or-less stopped asking Israel what it had built at the French-provided Dimona nuclear reactor.
Still, the fact is that the Middle East accustomed itself to the general belief that Israel has a potent nuclear force. While no one seems to know precisely why Israel has it — or, as a more precise question — when the Israelis might possibly use nuclear weapons — the region does not seem to fear that “the Jews” will drop an A-bomb on anyone on some sort of whim.
Israel’s leaders, on the other hand, study the official and religious declarations of the Islamic Republic of Iran; and they fear that Iran might feel moved one day to destroy the Jewish state. Really? Even though the blast and the fallout would surely kill many, many Muslims — Palestinians and others?
Most Israeli strategists conclude: Probably not. Iran would more likely use a nuclear arsenal for blackmail purposes — or as a kind of “umbrella” for aggressive political initiatives and support for terrorism and upheavals in various countries.
Yet Israelis don’t seem willing to take that chance, to base their lives or deaths on the whim — or religious doctrines — of Iranian leaders. All Israelis? Some Israelis? Most Israelis? It’s hard to tell, and Israel is the kind of country where 100 average citizens hold at least 125 contradictory opinions.
The decision, on whether to tolerate an Iranian drive to create nuclear bombs or instead go to war, rests with the prime minister in Jerusalem. Right now, that is Benjamin Netanyahu. He won’t choose to tolerate a nuclear-armed Iran.
And when Iran boasts that it is lying about the nuclear program, while that is no surprise to Israel and its intelligence services, the prevarications and inventions provide further justification for a hard line by Israel.