The Iranian


email us

US Transcom
US Transcom

Sehaty Foreign Exchange

    News & views

Barak looks for detente with Iran

By Aluf Benn
Ha'aretz Diplomatic Correspondent
July 7, 1999

Prime Minister Ehud Barak intends to try a new approach toward Iran, long regarded as Israel's enemy number one: a detente.

Iran's military power and ballistic advances, together with her steadily rising favor with the U.S., have convinced Barak that it may be time to stop branding Iran an evil, terrorist nation and start falling in line by recognizing it as an unchangeable factor that can be dealt with.

Barak has never considered Iran Israel's worst threat. As Chief of Staff, he expressed the opinion that Iraq, which had proven its belligerence against Israel in previous wars, was far more troublesome than Iran, who was on Israel's side throughout those conflicts. He pointed out the natural common interest between the two countries as two of the three non-Arab states in the region.

A diplomatic source in Jerusalem said yesterday that no steps will be taken with Iran so long as 13 Jews are still imprisoned on charges of espionage.

Military Intelligence, however, has taken a hard line against what it sees as a threatening state, bent on developing long-range surface-to-surface missiles that can reach Israel, and acquiring nuclear weapons. Intelligence officials interpreted an Iranian missile attack on Iraq as an indication that Iran viewed the use of such missiles as perfectly legitimate.

Military Intelligence further objected that Iran has maintained a hostile attitude toward Israel and the peace process, and supports many terrorist groups, including Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad. They insist that the election of President Mohammed Khatami has not precipitated any change in Iranian policy toward Israel.

The attitude military Intelligence expresses is only the latest voice in a tradition of anti-Iranian sentiment that echoes from Rabin's, Peres's and Netanyahu's recent governments. Peres went so far as to blame Iran for the wave of terror that struck Israel in '96, calling it an attempt to sabotage the peace process. Netanyahu, meanwhile, pressured the U.S. to impose sanctions against Russia for her involvement in the Iranian missile development program, and has considered that involvement the foremost problem in Israeli-Russian relations.

Movement over the past year in the long-frozen relations between the U.S. and Iran has Israelis worried, however, that they could be the last voice left damning Iran when others, including the American one, die down. In previous discussions with U.S. officials, Israel suggested cooperation and sharing of information on Iran in order to coordinate diplomatic efforts toward Tehran, but the U.S. has not yet responded. Barak will raise the issue in his upcoming visit to Washington.


Copyright ©Abadan Publishing Co. All Rights Reserved. May not be duplicated or distributed in any form

 MIS Internet Services

Web Site Design by
Multimedia Internet Services, Inc

 GPG Internet server

Internet server by
Global Publishing Group.