Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer warned of the danger of the growing Iranian military presence in Syria. Speaking at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s annual conference in Washington D.C. on Sunday, Dermer termed Iran’s foothold along Israel’s northern border a “terror front”, Israel National News reports.
“The situation is very volatile because Iran continues on its mission to establish permanent military bases in Syria, to establish another terror front to attack Israel from Syria, and also to build factories for precision-guided munitions in Syria and Lebanon. [Prime Minister Netanyahu] has been very clear about his red lines in Syria; and unfortunately, he’s had to repeatedly enforce those red lines repeatedly,” Ambassador Dermer warned.
Despite the UN’s current inaction, Danon expressed confidence that “Israel and the United States will succeed in stopping the Iranians and halt the expansion of their regime from the Gulf to the Mediterranean.” He warned that Iran threatens the entire Western world and not just Israel.
“Iran already has missiles that can hit Israel – so the new weapons it is building aren’t for us. They’re for all of Europe and ultimately for the United States.”
The ambassador called the breach of Israeli airspace by an Iranian drone last month a “brazen violation of Israel’s sovereignty and security.”
“We’re just not going to allow Iran to advance its aims in Syria. The more the world backs Israel’s right to defend itself and to enforce those red lines, the less likely you’re going to see an escalation,” he declared.
He said that the Iran nuclear deal “puts us all on cruise control, heading over a cliff, because the restrictions that the deal puts in place are automatically removed after a few years… Iran does not need to change its behavior at all. All they have to do is wait for the calendar to move. They can continue to be committed to Israel’s destruction. They can continue to be the foremost sponsor of terrorism in the world, and at the date that is approaching, year after year, all of these nuclear restrictions are removed.
Dermer noted that the deal did not even freeze the Iranian nuclear program.
“Iran is advancing its nuclear weapons program under this agreement… Right now, as we speak, Iran is doing research & development into advanced centrifuges.”
He called for the removal of the sunset clauses in the nuclear agreement, the imposition of “crippling sanctions” on Iran’s ballistic missile program, and the imposition of a true inspection regime which will ensure Iranian compliance with its obligations under the deal.
“There is no doubt whatsoever that U.S. President Donald Trump is prepared to walk away from the Iran nuclear deal if it cannot be fixed to ensure Tehran will not attain nuclear weapons,” Israel’s Ambassador to the United States said on Sunday.
Dermer said the 2015 pact, as it stands, “puts us all on cruise control heading over a cliff.” That is because the accord’s so-called “sunset clauses” will expire in eight to 13 years, he said, meaning that Iran can simply wait out those restrictions and then complete its nuclear program unless the accord, negotiated under the Obama administration, is not fixed.
Furthermore, said Dermer, within the terms of the agreement, Iran is already advancing its nuclear program by doing research and development work on advanced centrifuges for uranium enrichment.
“People think, ‘Well, at least we’ve frozen Iran’s nuclear program and we’ll have to deal with this issue in another decade,’” said Dermer. “That’s not true.”
Rather, the deal does give Iran permission to do R&D work on its advanced centrifuges. The deal specifies that Iran can only work on its IR-2, IR-4, IR-6 and IR-8 centrifuges, Dermer scoffed, quipping that it was like saying Apple can only do R&D on its iPhone 11, 12, 13 and 14.
To fix the deal, Dermer said the sunset clauses would have to be removed. Furthermore, “crippling sanctions” should be imposed on Iran’s oil and financial sector’s against its program to develop a ballistic missile that can be used to deliver nuclear weapons. The deal’s inspections provisions, he added, must be amended so that Iran’s military sites are subject to inspection.
“The world must internalize that the U.S. is prepared to walk away from the deal if the changes sought by the Trump administration are not instituted. If those changes are not made, I have no doubt whatsoever that this president is prepared to walk away from the deal,” said Dermer.