It is far from unusual for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to make outlandish claims about Iran, many of which have come in an effort to squander any move toward diplomatic relations between the Islamic Republic and the United States.
Not only does Netanyahu not want the US and Iran to form a relationship which has been broken since the Iranian Revolution of 1979, he has repeatedly beaten the war drums, threatening military action at every opportunity.
And he is far from the only one.
It is difficult to count the number of Republican politicians who have suggested, in no uncertain terms, that the best solution to the “nuclear issue” in Iran is military action.
In the eloquent words of John Bolton: “To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran.”
I mean, what could go wrong, right?
Bolton’s line has since been adopted by many other American politicians, from Ted Cruz to Tom Cotton to John McCain; but the frantic desire to attack Iran comes most powerfully from Mr. Netanyahu himself, who has been warning (fearmongering) anyone who would listen that Iran is dangerously close to developing a nuclear weapon, which he believes would be used to attack Israel.
To support his contention, Netanyahu has relied on various childish visuals, all of which serve the purpose of making his assertions increasingly ridiculous.
Putting the silly visuals aside, there’s the pesky fact that his claims have repeatedly been shown to be false, even by Israel’s own intelligence agencies.
Today, Netanyahu and hardliners within the United States have been dragged, kicking and screaming, to a point where an agreement between Iran and the United States, among other world powers, “may be imminent.”
Diplomacy is prevailing over military fanaticism, and the warmongers can’t contain themselves.
So Netanyahu, sensing defeat, brought out the big guns in a recent speech:
Iran, the leading patron of terrorism in the world, blackmails the world powers for further concessions. Iran is the biggest threat to world peace. The concessions agreement Iran is about to receive from the world powers paves its way to acquiring nuclear weapons and for the rapid proliferation of those weapons with the missiles it continues to develop, and of course will allow it continue to spread terrorism, through its network that covers more than 30 countries to date.
Iran’s increasing aggression is more dangerous than that of ISIS, which is dangerous enough by itself. And this aggression will reach every corner of the world because Iran’s ultimate goal is to take over the world. – Benjamin Netanyahu
Whether Israeli political officials seriously regard Iran as a legitimate, existential threat to Israeli security, or if they just see Iran as a threat to Israel’s hegemony in the region, is not clear.
In reality, Iran would essentially be committing suicide if it even made moves toward direct military action against Israel, taking into account Israel’s stockpile of nuclear weapons and the fact that Israel is backed by the world’s leading superpower.
Needless to say, suicide isn’t a good plan for a country whose “ultimate goal is to take over the world.”
So, as usual, Netanyahu’s frantic claims are hot air, meant to instill fear and war hysteria while obscuring reality. But, from creating a Persian Twitter account to releasing cartoons comparing Iran to ISIS, Netanyahu seems to be determined to not let facts deter him.
I expect nothing less than an escalation of these antics if a deal is reached, and while the potential deal is being reviewed by Congress; and it’s terrifying to think that many members of Congress match, perhaps even exceed, Netanyahu’s extremism.