David Ignatius: Israel Will Perceive Lifting UN Arms Embargo as ‘Direct Threat’
Israel will perceive the lifting of a U.N. arms embargo against Iran, as part of the nuclear deal now under negotiation, as a “direct threat” to its national security, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius told MSNBC on Monday morning.
Ignatius said the lifting of the arms embargo, passed by the U.N. in 2007 and tightened in 2010, would be “particularly damaging” to the deal because the U.S.’s traditional Middle East allies see this as abject capitulation to Iranian demands, even ones thrown it at the last minute.
He said Israel believed lifting the embargo would “arm the people” the Israel Defense Forces is fighting, such as Iranian-backed Hezbollah — that group’s leader just said support for Iran was crucial to the Palestinian resistance — and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
As Iranian-backed groups have also lit up sectarian conflicts in Yemen, eastern Saudi Arabia and other Gulf regions, “the Sunni Arabs … will [also] see [canceling the international arms embargo] as a major capitulation by the U.S.,” said Ignatius.
Diplomats in Vienna negotiating the nuclear deal with Iran said last week that lifting the arms embargo — Ignatius called the issue a “throwaway added at the last minute by Iran” — remained one of the last major sticking points for reaching an agreement.
Also on Monday, Israeli National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources Minister Yuval Steinitz — who, as close confidant of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has also served more or less as Israel’s point man concerning the Iran deal over recent months — reiterated that Israel would not rule out military action against Tehran if Iran is found to be attacking Israel, or working to obtain a nuclear weapon.
Israeli officials across the board have expressed with confidence that the nuclear agreement now, as it likely stands, will be a “bad deal” for Israel and the region.