Institute for Contemporary Affairs
Founded jointly with the Wechsler Family Foundation
The Iranian threat to Israel over the last number of years has been measured either by looking at the capabilities the Iranian armed forces have and are able to employ in any future conflict, and by the intentions that Iran harbors with respect to Israel’s future and its security.
Back in May 2016, the chief strategist for the previous administration, who marketed the Iran agreement to the American public, was Ben Rhodes. He explained that in order to make this agreement palatable in the United States and internationally, he needed to present Iran as a country that was moving in a much more moderate direction. He used the opportunity of the Iranian elections to make this argument. But was it true?
We’ve all seen evidence that Iran’s behavior in the Middle East has become far more dangerous and severe. The Iranian navy is regularly moving throughout the Middle East region, from the Persian Gulf to the Red Sea, and has even visited the Mediterranean. Iran is testing new generations of missiles, despite the fact that the UN Security Council prohibited this type of activity.
But where we have gotten a real reminder that this analysis of Iranian moderation is completely false is from the statements of Iranian leaders in just the last few months. In fact, we received a reminder that Iranian intentions are unchanged. On February 21, the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khomenei, once again referred to Israel as a cancerous tumor in the Middle East that had to be removed. He spoke about the complete liberation of Palestine – which means the complete destruction of Israel. And he called for a holy jihad.