Monday, December 5th | 11 Kislev 5783

May 13, 2018 11:29 am

Iran Only Understands the Language of Force

avatar by Eyal Zisser / Israel Hayom /


Iranian President Hasan Rouhani attending Army Day ceremonies in Tehran on April 18. Photo: Tasnim News Agency via Reuters. – For all those who doubted the logic behind President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the nuclear deal with Iran, Tuesday night’s reports about Tehran’s attempt to fire rockets at the Golan Heights yet again highlighted the Islamic republic’s true nature and ambitions. They also crystallized the fact that Tehran only understands the language of force.

In the wake of Trump’s announcement, one could have expected Iran to project the facade of a peace-seeking country, with the aim of rallying the international community to its side. Instead, the Iranians chose the moment to try hitting Israel. After a preemptive Israeli strike thwarted that attempt, they then waited less than 48 hours to try attacking again, firing 20 missiles at IDF positions on the Golan Heights overnight on Wednesday.

Until now, Iran’s belligerent behavior has borne fruit, but someone in Washington or Jerusalem decided to show the Iranians the red line before they could establish a military presence in Syria that could truly threaten Israel.

Trump’s decision to pull out of the nuclear deal, along with the blows that Iran and its proxies have sustained in recent days in Syria, have been received with unveiled glee by many in the Arab world, who sense that Washington is defending its allies and blocking Iran’s expansionist endeavors.

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After all, unlike European countries, which fear losing business deals and believe conciliation and infirmity can appease the aggressor, in the Middle East no one has any illusions about Iran and its intentions — particularly those who have already felt the effects of Iran’s ever-expanding reach.

For instance, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Kuwait have all fallen prey to terrorism perpetrated by Iranian proxies in recent years. Saudi Arabia is fighting with all its might to counter Iran’s efforts to establish a presence in Yemen, which Tehran uses as a springboard to threaten the Saudi home front. Iran’s shadow has even spread as far as Morocco, which last week severed its diplomatic ties with the Islamic republic due to its seditious activities.

These Arab countries were abandoned to their fates under the administration of Barack Obama, who sought to placate Iran and buy its friendship at the expense of his Arab allies.

Trump, on the other hand, assumed an aggressive posture against Iran the moment he entered office and now his threats are being buttressed by action. More importantly, unlike his predecessor, he has made it clear that Iran’s sedition and belligerence, as well as its threats against Washington’s allies, could very well be taken into account during negotiations over any future deal.

Washington’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal and the pummeling Iran is taking in Syria are steps in the right direction.

Eyal Zisser is a lecturer in the Middle East History Department at Tel Aviv University.

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