Culture, Global, Israel

Israel cracking Iran's nuts

How did I miss this?? Last month, Israel was caught red-handed propping up Ahmadinejad’s regime! America demanded that Israel respect international sanctions against Iran and Israel, shamefacedly, crowed that it would of course cease immediately. Apparently, Israel is the world’s largest importer of pistachio nuts whereas Iran is the world’s largest exporter, and Israel’s imports from Turkey were revealed to be funneled through from — you guessed it — the Jew-haters of Tehran. Dun dun dun!
That was a month ago. This is now. Trita Parsi, president of the National Iranian American Council and author of a new book on U.S.-Israel-Iran secret relations, writes in this week’s Forward that Israel better join the Iranian cold war thaw or find herself left behind in an American-Iranian deal. Apparently, Iran is not only poised to find common cause with Israel but proposed so already in 2003:

The Iranians recognize that no sustainable shift in American-Iranian relations can be achieved without significant changes to Iran’s posture toward Israel. This was made clear in an offer Iran made to the United States in 2003 in which the Iranians indicated a readiness to end all support for Islamic Jihad and Hamas, pressure the Palestinian groups to stop using violence against Israel, turn Hezbollah into a solely political organization, and sign onto the Saudi peace initiative first floated in 2002. In return, Tehran wanted recognition of Iran’s security interests in the region and an end to American efforts to isolate Iran.

And again later:

The proposal was communicated to Israelis by Iranians on numerous occasions, including at a Pentagon-funded conference in Europe in early 2003. At the conference Mohsen Rezai, the former head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, engaged in a question-and-answer session with Israelis and discussed a strategic realignment of American-Iranian relations. The gist of Rezai’s plan was to work out a modus vivendi regarding the Israeli-Iranian standoff.

This is a fascinating fact considering this was the very same year that the recently released intelligence estimate said Iran stopped enriching uranium. Did we really miss the boat in making peace with Iran in 2003? Still, without that knowledge, the fact that the U.S. and Israel didn’t move on this offer earlier is outrageous — particularly if one understands that we thought Iran was enriching uranium and needed to be persuaded otherwise! Of course the reasons for that is not surprising because I’m sure our Administration thought dialogue was a great, shiny new idea to try. And by dialogue I mean saber rattling. Or, likely it had bigger fish to fry.
Israel could get all the nuts she wants — nuts being both literal pistachios and metaphorical for a whole cache of regional diplomatic, economic and security victories — if they tossed out the now-discredited “isolate Iran” policy and built an win-win agreement that met everyone’s needs.
(Hat tip to JCarrot for the nuts article.)

7 thoughts on “Israel cracking Iran's nuts

  1. I’m sure there is something to the story, but I would not just uncritically accept the National Iran American Council’s narrative of events. Of course, I would not uncritically accept Israel’s or AIPAC’s narrative either. While this sounds good, as it would represent a turn around for Iran, and would bring them back from isolation, I don’t buy it yet. If they have been working on some kind of mutual understanding since 2003, why all the bluster about whipping Israel off the map? I’m not a big fan of the saber rattling against Iran, but I find it unlikely that they have been playing for peace this whole time.

  2. The rest of the article really explains the saber rattling — in short, Iran talks an ideological talk and walks a policy walk, but rarely do the two match. Only recently has Ahmadinejad’s words matched the policy (saying they’d wipe out Israel with funding Hamas) and his article argues we should create policy that takes the walk from the talk.
    Also, I saw him on a panel last Tuesday with Daniel Levy, the head Olso negotiator for the Israelis and now a chief Middle East policy wonk, and the two mostly agreed on this analysis.

  3. The facts are not checked. There are some fale “facts” there. Iran never suggested that kind of political solution and the people who talk on her name were not authorized to do so. Self-expression of fragments and fractures of the Iranian society are not in the name of the leader of Iran. I dare to think that you’re too naive.

  4. Chorus of Apes- Trita Parsi was actually directly involved in the delivery of the Iranian offer via the Swiss, so his ‘narrative of events’ doesn’t belong to the NIAC, but is a factual record of events. There is some corroboration of this through a few other folks directly involved….

  5. PBS’ Frontline covered this Iranian peace offer in their report “Showdown with Iran” that aired back in October. Remember that in 2003, Iran had a more moderate regime that had already been covertly working with the U.S. in Afghanistan; the U.S. was at its apex of power in the Middle East as this was right after the Ba’athist regime had been toppled in Iraq, and Israel had advised the U.S. against going to war in Iraq.
    The point is that the Bush administration once again missed an opportunity to actually work towards peace in the Middle East.

  6. Umm, isn’t this the same Iran that promised to wipe Israel off the map? The same Iran that hosted a Holocaust denial conference? I’m all for peace, but Iran has a lot to fix first.

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