Will Atomic Agency’s Censuring of Iran Be Sufficient To Curb Tehran’s Alarming Aims?

A veteran Israeli politician, Avigdor Liberman, warns that Tehran is planning a ‘holocaust’ of Jews in their state.

AP/Heinz-Peter Bader, file
The flag of the International Atomic Energy Agency flies in front of its headquarters during an IAEA Board of Governors meeting at Vienna, Austria, on February 6, 2023. AP/Heinz-Peter Bader, file

The United Nations nuclear watchdog’s decision to censure the Iranian Islamic Republic is a start, yet will it suffice to confront Tehran’s global strategy, including what a veteran Israeli politician, Avigdor Liberman, calls a planned “holocaust” of Jews in their state?

Ever so reluctantly, Washington joined three European powers in censuring Iran at the Wednesday meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s board of governors. America was among 20 board members who voted for a censure resolution initiated by Britain, France, and Germany.

Earlier, Biden administration officials reportedly objected to the censuring of Iran and initially threatened to abstain in the IAEA vote, preferring quiet diplomatic initiatives instead. America nevertheless ended up supporting the resolution because “Iran’s nuclear program poses such a serious challenge to international security,” the American ambassador to the IAEA, Laura Holgate, told the board.  

“The three Europeans are right to pursue the resolution, and I think it was pretty embarrassing that the U.S. was so hesitant,” the policy director of United Against Nuclear Iran, Jason Brodsky, tells the Sun. In itself, he says, a censure at Vienna might not mean much, but it “sets the table for a snapback” at the UN Security Council, which could be more serious. 

In endorsing the 2015 nuclear deal, the UN Security Council set a timeline for gradually removing mandated global sanctions against Iran while the Iranians phased out their nuclear program. The council resolution also allowed each of the deal’s six parties to cancel it and snap back all sanctions. That option, though, is set to expire in October next year.

Unless the Security Council’s resolution is snapped back before then, Iran would be able to legally become a nuclear-armed state by the end of this decade. Any snapback process, though, is unlikely to be initiated prior to America’s presidential election. The slow pace of diplomacy and politics, though, contrasts with Iran’s rapid nuclearization, and is most worrisome for Israelis and their supporters.    

Iran is “planning a holocaust for us in the next two years,” Mr. Liberman told the Israel Defense Force radio Wednesday. Were the Islamic Republic to get a “nuclear umbrella,” its “extermination programs” would accelerate,  the hawkish former defense minister and current chairman of the opposition Israel our Home party said.  

The Moldova-born politician was a rare voice in Israel in consistently predicting a Hamas attack from Gaza before it materialized on October 7. Top security officials minimized the threat, “and we got what we got,” a member of Mr. Liberman’s party, Yulia Malinovsky, told Israel’s N-12 news Wednesday. “In our region you can’t show weakness,” she said.  

As the Islamic Republic races to become a nuclear-armed power, it increasingly says the Jewish state will crumble as Iranian proxies, known as the “ring of fire,” endlessly attack and demoralize Israeli citizens. “This is the beginning of the end of the Zionist regime,” Supreme Leader Khamenei wrote on X Monday.   

“Today, there is a large front in our region called the Resistance Front,” Mr. Khamenei said Wednesday on X, adding that Israel’s “army that claimed to be one of the strongest in the world has been defeated, & not by a powerful govt. but by Resistance groups like Hamas & Hezbollah.”

Ten Israelis were injured Wednesday during Hezbollah drone attacks, as calls in the country are growing for a muscular response to the Lebanese-based terrorist organization’s aggression. The IDF, though, is operating in the south against Hamas, and security officials indicate it would be difficult to fight on two fronts at once. 

Iran’s strategy hinges on surrounding Israel with militant proxies in Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza, Iraq, and Yemen, where the Houthis are also blocking a busy shipping lane to Europe from Asia. Iran is also supporting Islamists inside America’s ally Jordan, hoping they could join the anti-Israel terror ring.  

Once the Islamic Republic becomes a nuclear-capable power, Mr. Liberman says, Israel “will be attacked with the aim of destroying it from several fronts with tens of thousands of missiles at the same time.”

Israel is yet to devise a holistic strategy against the growing Iranian threat. Instead it, for one, prefers to conduct pinpoint attacks like the Monday killing in Syria of an Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps commander, Saeid Abiar. Israel will “pay the price” for that attack, the IRGC commander, Hossein Salami, said Wednesday. 

Israel is not the only target in Iran’s crosshairs. After censuring Tehran at the IAEA, Britain, France, and Germany “will face our country’s serious and effective reaction,” Mr. Khamenei wrote on X Wednesday.

Vowing “never again” following a long and bloody history, Israelis can hardly afford to ignore the mullahs’ increasingly eliminationist talk. Will the Americans or Europeans tune it out?

The New York Sun

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