web analytics
July 6, 2015 / 19 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post


Disregarding Sanctions Push, Iran Elevates Terror Suspect


WASHINGTON – By nominating a suspect in the bombing of an Argentine Jewish center to be his defense minister, the president of Iran has given a boost to the campaign for tougher sanctions against his country.


At least that’s the hope of Jewish groups leading the charge to stop Tehran’s suspected pursuit of nuclear weapons.


Even if the nomination last week of Ahmad Vahidi does not have a significant effect on U.S. strategy for dealing with Iran, it could provide insight into the Iranian regime and the thinking of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.


According to at least one expert on Iran and several Jewish organizational leaders, Ahmadinejad’s move was a demonstration of how little Iranian leaders care about international opinion as well as a signal that hardliners are in control in the Islamic Republic.


Vahidi, who served as deputy defense minister in Ahmadinejad’s first term, is one of five Iranians wanted in connection with the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires, which killed 85 people and is believed to have been carried out by one of Iran’s proxies, the Lebanese-based terrorist group Hizbullah.


Vahidi, a former commander of the Quds Force, an elite unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, is suspected of helping to plan and finance the attack. The international police agency Interpol has issued a “red notice” for Vahidi seeking his arrest and extradition.


The Vahidi appointment comes as the Jewish community gears up for a major effort to press for tougher U.S. sanctions against Iran. Hundreds of Jewish community leaders are slated to visit Washington for meetings with congressional lawmakers and White House officials Sept. 10, and a massive rally is planned outside the United Nations in New York City two weeks later, when Ahmadinejad is scheduled to address the UN General Assembly.


The Obama administration said earlier this month that in September it would reassess its policy of diplomatic engagement toward Iran, around the time of the opening of the General Assembly. Published reports have discussed the introduction of sanctions stopping the export of refined petroleum.


So far, the U.S. administration has been cautious in responding to the nomination of Vahidi. State Department Spokesman Ian Kelly called the nomination “disturbing,” but he also said that he would defer further comment until Vahidi officially takes office.


“He has to go through parliament and get confirmed,” Kelly said at a briefing Monday. “And I think we’ll reserve comment on him, in particular, until after this whole process plays out.”


Israeli and Argentine officials, as well as leaders of U.S. Jewish organizations, are not holding back.


Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said in a statement that the Vahidi appointment “proves yet again the nature of the regime in Iran, and its leaders’ intentions.” He said, “The world must learn from this incident, and look into the intentions of the Iranian government, especially its leader, which has appointed a terrorist as its defense minister.”


Argentine officials also have reacted strongly to the nomination, with the government calling it “an affront to the victims” of the AMIA bombing.


The executive vice-chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Malcolm Hoenlein, whose group is organizing the September events in Washington and New York, said the Vahidi nomination “adds to the cumulative” case against Iran.


“It certainly sends a message that cannot be ignored and hopefully will not be ignored,” he said.


The executive director of the American Jewish Committee, David Harris, said that having a suspected terrorist running the defense ministry of a country pursuing nuclear weapons is akin to a “reality-based horror film.” Harris noted that Vahidi’s involvement in the AMIA bombing demonstrates that the threat of Iran reaches far beyond Israel.


That attack killed “Jews and non-Jews alike,” Harris said. “That’s an important reminder to the world.”


One Iranian expert seconded the view that the appointment demonstrates that Ahmadinejad and Iran’s other leaders “simply don’t care” about the international repercussions of their actions.


The Vahidi selection “underlines their indifference to international opinion on these issues,” said Shaul Bakhash, a Iranian-born professor of Middle East history at George Mason University. “The flaunting of international opinion is part of Ahmadinejad’s style.”


The naming of Vahidi raises the question of whether the Iranian government, consumed with internal struggles, is not ready to engage with the West, seeing any outreach as an indication of “weakness,” he said.


Bakhash noted that such a top appointment could not have been made without the approval of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and said it was also likely a sign that Khamenei is being driven by the increased influence – in the wake of post-election unrest – of hardliners in the security and intelligence services.


Bakhash said the nomination “complicates” Obama’s plans to engage with the Iranian government.


“This clearly gives us an indication of what lies ahead” from the Iranians, said the executive vice-president of B’nai B’rith International, Dan Mariaschin, who called the appointment a slap in the face. “It dispels any doubt as to where this government is going,” on the nuclear program and other issues, he said.


If tougher U.S. sanctions on Iran are to have any real bite, though, everyone agreed that the Europeans, Russia and China must also get on board.


One test on that front will be if, as most defense ministers do, Vahidi tries to travel – and if Interpol member states respect or ignore the Interpol notice.


“If he can blithely land in Europe, that in itself is quite telling,” Harris said. “If he has to stay cloistered,” and can only visit friendly states like North Korea and Venezuela because he’ll be picked up elsewhere, “wouldn’t that be a remarkable global response.”

(JTA)

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Disregarding Sanctions Push, Iran Elevates Terror Suspect”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Haneen Zoabi (L) and Basel Ghattas (R), Arab members of Israel's parliament, both participated in flotillas attempting to break Israel's legal naval blockade of the Gaza strip.
Who Is Damaging Relations Between Arabs and Jews?
Latest News Stories
Firefighting over Ein Yael, Jerusalem

Firefighters fought a large fire in Ein Yael, Jerusalem, located opposite the Biblical Zoo, and up the road from Malcha Mall.

John Kerry says in Vienna today what he said in Switzerland three months ago.

Reporter Laura Rozen: “How many ways can I say significant progress made but important differences remain?”

Future guard? Arab child with Hamas headband aims toy rifle on the Temple Mount after prayers in the Al Aqsa mosque.

CNN put the UNESCO site at the top of the list, implied Israel it to blame for its being “endangered but failed to mention Jordan’s responsibility.

No eating today.

In three weeks, the Fast of the 9th of Av will be on the 10th of Av.

Netanyahu falsely accused Bennett of signing a coalition agreement that returns more power to Hareidim.

US-led talks with Tehran appear to have reached a deal on sanctions relief: but what about access to Iranian nuclear sites?

Arab leaders realize the existential threat posed by ISIS: Tunisia is at a state of emergency; Egypt has declared “war.”

Six terror fugitives were arrested by IDF soldiers overnight in Judea and Samaria.

PM Netanyahu this week identified ISIS and Iran as Israel’s primary threat. It is a planetary threat that carries the promise of peace.

Temple Mount activist Rabbi Yehuda Glick talks peace in Istanbul with a state official and on A9TV with Islamic scholar Adnan Oktar.

Yifat Shoham, one of the longest-running directors of Leumit HMO in Arad, has passed away. Baruch Dayan HaEmet.

Once again, rioting Arabs succeed in preventing Jews and other visitors from entering the Temple Mount.

Kerry spent the Fourth of July talking with his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Thirty Policemen escorted a total of 21 neo-Nazi in the “anti-Jewification” protest that flopped.

ISIS released a video of a modern-day replay of the thirst for blood in ancient Roman amphitheaters.

The woman who once kissed Suha Arafat has a different attitude when it comes to funding her campaign for president.

More Articles from Eric Fingerhut

WASHINGTON – A window was shattered by a pellet gun in an apparent vandalism attack at her Tucson district office. Sarah Palin has put her on the list of Democratic lawmakers she is targeting this fall. Arizona Tea Party activists are pledging to help defeat her bid for re-election.

WASHINGTON – A window was shattered by a pellet gun in an apparent vandalism attack at her Tucson district office. Sarah Palin has put her on the list of Democratic lawmakers she is targeting this fall. Arizona Tea Party activists are pledging to help defeat her bid for re-election.

WASHINGTON – Opinion polls are expected to provide a simple answer to an important question: What are the people thinking? But the details often reveal a much more complicated picture.

WASHINGTON – A U.S. congressman is the latest to call for a Justice Department investigation into whether a pro-Palestinian group has been raising money on college campuses for Hamas.

WASHINGTON – Some conservatives are accusing the Anti-Defamation League of launching a partisan attack following its report asserting that a “current of anti-government hostility” has swept the United States in the year since Barack Obama was elected.

WASHINGTON – As Sarah Palin embarked on a tour for her just published book Going Rogue, she became the latest prospective Republican presidential candidate to criticize the Obama administration’s policy on Israel.

WASHINGTON – A new survey shows that a majority of American Jews would support a U.S. military strike on Iran to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons – a significant increase from a year ago.

WASHINGTON – A new survey shows that a majority of American Jews would support a U.S. military strike on Iran to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons – a significant increase from a year ago.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/disregarding-sanctions-push-iran-elevates-terror-suspect/2009/08/26/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: