Paul Alster
Israel-based print and broadcast journalist

World falling for Iranian three-card trick

All the signs are that Iran is tantalisingly close to convincing the U.S. and the other members of the P5+1 that they are genuine in their wish to reach an agreement for the easing of international sanctions against their rogue state in return for suspending their nuclear weapons program.

The deal isn’t done yet, but the prospect of it should ring alarm bells loud and clear around the world, not only here in Israel.

Everything about the governing regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran suggests they are pulling a toxic version of the old three-card trick. You look one way and think you’re focusing on the genuine article, but instead they’ve ‘pulled a fast one’ on you, right in front of your eyes!

Well-intentioned but stunningly naïve international politicians including U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and British Foreign Minister William Hague,have been mesmerised by the new Iranian President, the seemingly benign Hassan Rouhani. His charm and easy smile appears to have entranced the international community who are falling over themselves at the possibility of clinching a deal, regardless of all the evidence around them that suggests this is at best a stalling tactic on the part of the Iranians, and at worst a cynical ruse to reach their goal of nuclear weapons capability by subterfuge.

While apparently earnest discussions were taking place earlier this month between the parties, Iranian state TV brazenly screened a snazzy five-minute video mock-up of how their missiles are set to take apart major targets in Tel Aviv and at other sites around Israel. The anti-Israeli, anti-Zionist, and anti-Semitic rhetoric from Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei – the real power in Iran – has also shown no sign of letting up.

Indeed, only yesterday he referred to Israel as “rabid dogs”, adding that Israel is a country “doomed to collapse”. All this while his audience gleefully chanted, “Death to America”. Shouldn’t this be ringing a few alarm bells?

Then last night, news broke that yet another attempt by Iranian agents to attack an Israeli target had been foiled. This time, (for the third time within a year), a member of an Iranian elite unit was apprehended in Azerbaijan. Documents relating to the targeting of the Israeli embassy in Baku and the embassy workers were reportedly found at the scene.

Iran, the paymasters and spiritual guides of Hezballah and a huge influence on the brutal Hamas regime in Gaza, should be given no relief from sanctions of any kind until not only is their nuclear aspiration to “remove Israel from the face of the map” thwarted, but also their sponsorship of their proxy terror militias ended once and for all.

Tehran’s direct interference in the Syrian conflict has cost tens of thousands of lives over the last two years as they continue to side with Bashar al-Assad and show no concern for human life, be it Muslim or Christian. If the western negotiators seriously believe that Iran would forego the opportunity to inflict similar suffering on the Jewish State of Israel, they clearly are looking through rose tinted glasses as the three-card tick unfolds before them.

And let’s not forget that while the U.S and the Europeans may eventually pay the price in any manner of ways for reviving Iranian fortunes by easing the sanctions that have brought them to their knees, it is Israel, not the U.S. or the Europeans, who are directly in the firing line.

Should Israel feel it is left with no option other than to take matters into its own hands – as it did in Iraq in the 1980’s and allegedly in Syria more recently when removing the potential nuclear capability from the two rogue states – then it will be those who have undone the status quo by easing the sanctions grip on Iran who will bear the ultimate responsibility for the consequences.

While they rush to forge a deal with Iran the P5+1 would do very well to remember that ‘the road to hell is paved with good intentions’.


About the Author
Paul Alster is an Israel-based broadcast journalist with a special interest in the Israel/Palestinian conflict and Middle East politics. He is a regular contributor to a variety of international news websites including The Jerusalem Report, and was formerly's main Middle East correspondent. He can be followed on Twitter @paul_alster or at
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