Former Spanish Prime Minister Aznar Says Western Confrontation With Iran Inevitable
A Western confrontation with Iran is inevitable with or without the nuclear agreement struck by world powers and negotiators from Tehran said former Spanish prime minister and chairman of the Friends of Israel Initiative Jose Maria Aznar in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece on Thursday.
However, Aznar, who was prime minister of Spain as head of the conservative People’s Party from 1996 to 2004 (about the time when Iran reportedly began making overtures to the West), cautioned that an “evil” Iranian regime confronted under the parameters of the nuclear deal would be “emboldened, better prepared, modernized and richer” and reaching to “attain the goals we’ve always tried to prevent.”
He reaffirmed the argument that a “bad deal is worse than no deal,” and although he recognized Russia and China — both parties to the negotiations — would likely have slackened sanctions on Iran anyway, he said Western countries should maintain economic pressure.
While Aznar commended the Obama administration for negotiating a diplomatic arrangement with the Iranians in good faith, he questioned the White House’s optimism that the deal — he called it a “terrible one” — would moderate Iran’s regional destabilization efforts and global scare-mongering, such as when it threatens to close the Straits of Hormuz or finances Hezbollah terrorist rings in Cyprus and Bulgaria.
That argument, he said, “is based in idle hope.”
“It runs against all we know about the Islamic Republic since its founding in 1979, as well as our experience with other tyrannical regimes, like North Korea’s. Dictators do not dissolve when they are showered in money,” wrote the former Spanish prime minister.
Aznar founded the Friends of Israel Initiative as an international effort to counter attempts to delegitimize the State of Israel and its right to peace in defensible borders; its members include former leaders of Italy, the Czech Republic and Peru, among others.