In the major newspapers on July 29th (the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal), and in the New York Daily News on the 30th, a trio of voices have arose in criticism of what is known by shorthand as "the Iran Deal": lifting the sanctions on the Iranian economy in exchange for a verified ten-plus years away from any possibility of Tehran developing nuclear weapons.
Starting with the Daily News, an editorial by one Ido Aharoni, who is identified as the consul general of Israel in New York, wants us to be afraid of this deal since it would not touch Iran's ability to seek regional hegemony:
"Iran's ayatollah-led regime has been, by far, the biggest destabilizing force in the Middle East and the leader producer of state-sponsored terrorism in the world. ... The mullahs' goals are Islamic rule and regional domination."
Meanwhile, in the Journal on Wednesday, an op-ed by the famously irascible Norman Podhoretz, who declares that "if the objective remains preventing Iran from getting the bomb, the only way to do so is to bomb Iran." Further, "in allowing Iran to get the bomb, [President Obama] is not averting war. What he is doing is setting the stage for a nuclear war between Iran and Israel." Podhoretz looks at this problem like the hammer looks at a nail, and it must be noted that Aharoni did not even go this far. But what about the moderates, like Thomas Friedman?
For him, American history with Iran began in 1979, when "the Islamic Revolution in Iran ... led to a break in relations with the U.S. -- and shifted Iran from a tacit ally of Israel's to a country wishing 'death to Israel.'" Given that nothing happened between the US and Iran beforehand, "the U.S.-Iran nuclear deal marks a big change -- but because it will lead to an end to economic sanctions on Iran, it could turbocharge 1979 as easily as end it." The hard-liners are in charge in Tehran, Friedman writes, which presents the core problem, one that appears to be quite intractable. Incidentally, both the Revolutionary Guard Corps and the GOP are united in their opposition to the deal.
Podhoretz authoritatively asserts that "with hardly an exception, all of Israel believes that the Iranians are deadly serious when they proclaim that they are bound and determined to wipe the Jewish state off the map." Bombing Iran will not only guarantee a response, but will convince even the most moderate elements of the regime that they have no choice but to develop a nuclear deterrent -- and that says nothing of the assumption that Tehran is so suicidal as to risk total annihilation if they attacked Israel, much less with a nuclear weapon they do not have, and still likely will not have ten years or so down the road.
Of the three warmongers, at least Podhoretz is being honest about where he stands. Friedman is a sophisticated type of war advocate, couching his proscriptions in comfortable historical narratives that distract the reader from the core of his argument: There is no guarantee that Iran will not eventually go for a nuclear weapon. A point on which they all seem to agree is that were Iran to obtain a nuke, the mullahs would not hesitate to use it. It is a mystery why they are so sure.