Israel Barouk
Israel Barouk

Who Will be the Major Beneficiary of the Iran Deal in the Region?

Everybody knows and understands why Jewish Americans and the State of Israel oppose Obama’s Deal on Iran. If Congress allows Iran to become a threshold nuclear state, those that Iran considers as enemies, as well as the friends of those enemies, will by Iranian leaders’ own declarations face the highest level of existential threat possible in this world.

The question of what this Deal really means for the United States remains unanswered, and intentions are certainly suspect. However murky America’s part, the global dynamic reveals specific patterns and an unnerving degree of logic at play in regions bordering Iran. Regional critics like Israel and America’s Arab allies oppose the Deal. No matter the politics, these nations within close quarters of Iran understand the certain and unmanageable threat that will come should the Deal succeed.

However, bordering the north-west of Iran, Armenia stands in contrast to her neighbors and wholeheartedly supports and has helped usher international momentum toward the Deal, pushing the world to back off on sanctions in exchange for the supposed promise that Iran will refrain from developing weapons of mass destruction. At the same time, Iranian leadership calls for the mass destruction of its neighbors, arguably a straightforward contradiction of their promises. With Iran literally next door, why would Armenia support such an obvious and bleak threat, as neighboring free nations beg the world to look deeper before signing any sort of deal? Surely, Israel has reasons to be scared. Why would the Christian nation of Armenia support Iran and a critically volatile scenario in her own neighborhood?

In 2008, Wikileaks exposed to the entire world that Armenia secretly transferred weapons to Iran, which were later used by terrorists in Iraq to kill and wound American soldiers.  However overlooked, the Wikileaks scandal indicates a shakiness around Armenia – something happening above and beyond any commonplace narrative on it.

Armenia has enjoyed a strong alliance with the Islamic Republic of Iran since the very beginning of her independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Since then, Iran has helped Armenia in every way it could making her the bastion of Iranian interests in the Caucasus, and to this day Iran supplies Armenia with the majority of her natural gas and other essential materials.

Armenia is also counting on increased investments in trade and development to come out of the Deal, and whatever benefits to be realized from advancing the geographical flexibility and opportunity for their mutual friend, Bashar Asad’s Syria. Very disturbing.

Since Iran and Armenia are acknowledged partners, in commerce and politics, their connection raises significant questions as to the actual relationships between Armenia, the United States and Israel. Although Armenia claims to be a “staunch American friend” and even appeared to support the U.S. war in Iraq, it simultaneously supplied Iran with the weaponry to fight and kill American soldiers in that very war. At the same time, Armenia supplies Iran with electricity and even worse, has allowed Iran to skirt U.S and international banking sanctions. Armenia’s help also comes handy as Iran uses her territory for money laundering as well as drug trafficking to Europe. It is fair to say that Armenia is playing both sides… by double crossing us behind the scenes, and using Armenian American special interest groups to cover up her alliance with Iran and continue receiving annually millions of dollars in American taxpayer money from U.S. Congress… So in fact thanks to the efforts by the Armenian lobby and the astounding myopia of American politicians, our Congress is funding a regime that is the strongest ally of Iran, Syria and even Russia (Armenia hosts the largest Russian military base in the world) in the entire region.

Evaluating who benefits in the Iran Deal shines a wider light on the broader story of Armenia, the implications of their historical and current role in the region, and explains the most obvious and immediate benefits Armenia will realize from an empowered Iran. The Iran Deal will allow Armenia to further expand its alliance with Iran, not fearing anymore U.S. or any other sanctions.

Although hardly known for it, research conducted in 2014 by the Anti-Defamation League revealed Armenia as one of the most anti-Semitic countries in the world. This might explain Armenia’s apparent comfort levels with Iranian attitudes and policy toward Jews.  Fundamentally, the role of Armenia speaks to the level of convolution at play in the Iranian discussions and how that is processed and served at the American dinner table.

Iran poses a real and existential threat to some of the United States’ most trusted allies in the entire world. It is all fairly sticky, but far from impossible to wade through the bloated narratives and begin to understand the instability in these less obvious but extremely important connections to Iran and this Deal.

As Iran holds mass demonstrations against the existence of Israel and simultaneously demands and the world considers expedited removals of sanctions, the United States should evaluate the exhaustive logic of the Deal, the intentions of those nations that support it, and ask them tough questions before signing away our global security.

About the Author
Raised in Jerusalem, New York City and Paris, Rabbi Barouk completed Smicha and Dayanas at Yeshivat Or Elchonon. Currently residing in Los Angeles, Rabbi Barouk frequently visits New York and has close family in Jerusalem and Paris.
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