Iran’s actions demonstrate that it believes it can deceive the West over its nuclear weapons ambitions, former finance minister and Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid wrote in a piece published in The Atlantic magazine on Wednesday.
Lapid’s piece was written in response to an article published by Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif on Monday.
Zarif’s piece, Lapid wrote, is “so full of lies, distortions, and half-truths that in the end it yields one fundamental truth—it’s not a set of errors, it’s a methodology.”
Iran’s “method,” Lapid wrote, is to make the West believe that it is not, in fact, trying to become a regional nuclear power, when this is precisely the covert goal of the Islamic Republic.
The former minister then went on to list some of the “blatant lies” in Zarif’s article.
Iran is not seeking to improve the accuracy of its missiles to avoid civilian deaths, Lapid wrote, but rather to “intensify the threat and ability to sow destruction.”
Iran is not a democracy, Lapid added, since a democrat “doesn’t hang homosexuals from cranes, doesn’t enshrine in law the right to stone adulterers to death and doesn’t maintain a force like the Basij, an Iranian paramilitary of around 11.5 million people whose role is to enforce Sharia law and prevent Western influence.”
Rather than being a “victim of terror,” as Zarif maintained in his piece, Iran “funds and arms” Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthis in Yemen and other terror groups across the Middle East.
Tehran is not interested in the “promotion of peace, stability, progress and prosperity in the region,” Lapid quoted from Zarif’s piece, citing the fact that earlier this year the Islamic Republic’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei described Israel as a “cancerous tumor” and a “fake entity.”
Lapid noted that despite his own disagreements with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on many issues, ” his description of Rouhani as a ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’ is right on the money.”
After the Washington Post last week reported that US President Donald Trump is considering nullifying the Iran nuclear deal, or at least declaring that it is not in the US’s national interest, Lapid characterized Iran’s reasoning for signing the deal as “the greatest of Zarif’s lies.”
Iran did not sign the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2015 to “prevent further instability in the region,” Lapid wrote, but rather “because the sanctions were threatening to destroy its economy and weaken the Ayatollah’s regime.”
“If Iran had wanted regional stability, then we wouldn’t have discovered in 2002 that Iran built two covert nuclear reactors in Natanz and Arak. We also wouldn’t have been exposed to the 2011 IAEA report which laid out that, in contravention to all the agreements Iran had signed, it continued to enrich uranium and carry out tests whose sole purpose was the development of a nuclear weapon. This may be an uncomfortable truth, but at least it is the truth,” Lapid continued.
According to the Yesh Atid leader, Iran’s foreign minister is lying “because he’s a professional” and mendacity is “Tehran’s method.”
“They say one thing in English and something else in Persian, and in the end do something totally different…. The Ayatollahs always believed in their ability to deceive the West,” Lapid wrote.
In his closing paragraphs, the Yesh Atid leader noted that “President Trump’s argument that Iran is violating ‘the spirit of the deal’ was met with ridicule and contempt in Iran, but it’s accurate.”
Lapid concluded that if the JCPOA enables Iran to threaten America’s allies, like Saudi Arabia and Israel, then “cancelling or at least dramatically strengthening the JCPOA must be the right path.”