Raisi takes office with a bang as Israel tries to rally the world against Iran – .

Raisi takes office with a bang as Israel tries to rally the world against Iran – .

The change of president in Iran shouldn’t make much of a difference to Israel. Whether it’s Hassan Rouhani, who has been president since 2013, or Ebrahim Raisi, who will take office on Thursday, they aren’t really making the decisions that matter to Israel.

When it comes to the things that matter to Israel – Iran’s nuclear program, its development of other advanced weapons, its proxies around the Middle East and more – the person who takes the lead is the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. “Hardliner” or “reformer,” as many commentators call the various sides of the narrow political field Khamenei allows, no president has much say in the Supreme Leader calls for genocide against Israel and the bombing moves. .
However, with the Iranian attack on an Israel-run ship near Oman on Friday killing the ship’s Romanian captain and a British crew member, Raisi takes office with a bang – literally – and Israel is using all its diplomatic clout. , and more, in response.

Additionally, Khamenei uses Raisi’s presidency as a reason to delay, and possibly even withdraw altogether, negotiations with the United States to join the 2015 nuclear deal.

Raisi, known as the “Butcher of Tehran,” is the former Iranian chief justice responsible for thousands of executions in 1988 and the violent crackdown on protests in 2009. As a result, the United States has put him down. under sanctions for human rights violations in 2019, and Sweden has an ongoing war crimes trial against him. Raisi was elected president in a vote in which Khamenei pruned and approved the candidates and in which the turnout was below 50%.

A senior Israeli official pointed the finger at Raisi in the aftermath of the Mercer Street drone bombing: “The Iranian attack took place a few days before the swearing-in of the new President Raisi, a confidant of the Supreme Leader Iranian, who was responsible for the mass executions of dissidents. The masks are coming off and no one can pretend they don’t know the nature of the Iranian regime.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid have publicly stated that Iran is behind the attack, and Bennett said Israel has the intelligence to prove it.

Bennett said he expects the world to end Iranian aggression, but that Israel knows “how to send a message to Iran in its own way”, alluding to covert Israeli action against the Islamic Republic.

Israel considers Iran killing British and EU nationals in attack to be a costly regime mistake that could bring other countries to Israel’s side, at least when it comes to responding to this specific incident. .

Lapid went all out, telling his counterparts in the US, UK and Romania that Israel believed the attack came from Iran. Ambassadors in London, Washington and New York have already started letting relevant leaders in capitals and the UN know that Iran is threatening international trade with its repeated attacks on ships.

Israel has also started to press for the UN Security Council to condemn the Iranian attack. The UNSC, like the rest of the UN, is not a very friendly forum for Israel, and while it is possible that such a resolution will happen, its chances are not great. Still, Raisi could start his tenure with a drama in Turtle Bay, forcing Iranian Ambassador to the UN Majid Takht-Ravanchi to attempt to push back international pressure.

Even before this weekend, Raisi’s impending presidency has already had an impact on nuclear talks.

He has long been skeptical of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers that the United States left in 2018 and now seeks to return to. Raisi was Khamenei’s favorite candidate, which has already told us something about how the Supreme Leader sees the deal.

Iran’s new president tempered his old outright opposition to the JCPOA ahead of the election, but called for far greater concessions from the United States, including a guarantee that future U.S. administrations will not walk away from the deal. This is something the United States cannot legally offer Iran.

In July, nearly a month after Raisi’s election to the presidency and a month after the end of the sixth round of indirect negotiations between the United States and Iran to return to the JCPOA, his reservations about the deal collapsed. are turned into action on Iran’s part. Tehran’s chief negotiator and deputy foreign minister Seyed Abbas Araghchi announced that the month-long hiatus in talks would continue until Raisi takes office. Abbas Araghchi cynically declared that the break would allow a “democratic transfer of power”.

In recent weeks, Israel has expressed concern to its allies in the JCPOA process – the US, UK, France and Germany – that Iran was using its time away from the negotiating table to do advancing its nuclear program dangerously close to producing military-grade uranium.

Diplomatic sources said Iran could use the “state of limbo” to reduce a weapon’s release time from about seven to two or three months, while the International Atomic Energy Agency is in an “awkward position,” as General Manager Rafael Grossi called it, of being unable to properly inspect the situation.

And what we do know is not reassuring: Iran told the IAEA in July that it had taken steps to produce 20% enriched uranium metal for use as reactor fuel, the bringing it to a more advanced state than any country without nuclear weapons.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the JCPOA negotiations “cannot go on indefinitely” and that a return to the deal will be impossible if Iran’s nuclear advances continue. But Israel urges the United States to draw a firm line on when it will be ready to resume talks.

Meanwhile, it seems Iran is leaning towards letting the United States’ patience run out. Last week, Khamenei publicly advised Raisi to learn from Rouhani, in which “it has become clear that trusting the West is not helpful … Administrations should absolutely avoid tying their negotiating plans with the West, because they will certainly fail ”. Americans have taken a “stubborn stance” in recent talks, the Supreme Leader added.

Israel continues to oppose the JCPOA, as it did when Benjamin Netanyahu was prime minister, stressing that the constraints of Iran’s nuclear program – which it is currently violating – expire in 2030, and that the agreement does not address not Iranian malicious behavior, as by proxy. war and the sponsorship of terrorist groups throughout the region, or its ballistic missile program.

Unlike Netanyahu, the “change of government” has chosen to work with the United States to mitigate the damage of the deal as long as Washington insists on trying to return to it.

However, if Khamenei and Raisi get their way and kill the JCPOA for good, the US-Israel talks on Iran will have to shift from making the Iran deal “longer and stronger” to more dramatic means. to try to stop nuclear power in the Islamic Republic. program.


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