Trita Parsi Profile picture
15 Apr, 7 tweets, 2 min read
The @nytimes keeps on sticking this into its reporting and it's highly problematic.

Three heads of the Mossad in a row have publicly rejected this notion: Halevi, Dagan & Pardo.
Ehud Barak has consistently rejected it since 1992. Here's why: >>
As Barak and Halevy argue, Iran is a threat, but NOT an EXISTENTIAL threat because that notion belittles Israel's own power. Israel is indestructible Halevy maintains, and as such, Iran can't be an existential threat.

The data supports their argument. >>
Even if Iran had nukes - which it doesn't but Israel does - it would be suicidal for it to attack Israel due to Israel's 2nd strike capability. As a senior Israeli official told me, whatever Iran does to destroy Israel, it cant destroy Israel's ability to destroy Iran in turn. >>
This is because Israel has several nuclear equipped Dolphin submarines. Iran can't take those out.

So why do other Israeli officials use the talking point of Iran as an existing threat?
The Iranian "existential threat" is a politically motivated talking point advanced primarily by Netanyahu designed to make it as difficult as possible for the US to end the US-Iran enmity while providing blanket justification for almost any Israeli action against Iran. >>
It is political spin, albeit extremely successful spin since it's almost universally accepted in Washington. This is partly because of Iran's own venomous rhetoric but also because of the completely uncritical way the @nytimes and other media repeats the spin. >>
For a more detailed background on all of this, see my book on the secret history of Israeli-Iranian relations: Treacherous Alliance:…

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More from @tparsi

13 Apr
In response to the Israeli attack on Natanz, Iran is increasing enrichment to 60%. Highly problematic - yet predictable.

Iran tries to dispel the notion that the attack reduced Iran's leverage.

Yet, counter-escalation is what Israel wants as it makes diplomacy more difficult. >
All parties that want to see the JCPOA revived have a responsibility both to IGNORE and to CONTAIN spoilers.

Netanyahu is the biggest spoiler of them all and there is little evidence to suggest that Biden has contained - or even tried to contain him.
There's much that Netanyahu has done that Tehran has managed to ignore. Lack of Iranian capabilities has likely also contributed to this.

But attacks such as the one in Natanz cannot reasonably be ignored, which is precisely what Bibi counted on.
Read 4 tweets
12 Apr
Told @dwnews that Netanyahu is not intensifying his attacks on Iran because he fears the Vienna diplomacy, but because he fears they will succeed.

For him, attacking Iran is a win-win. He pays no price for it, all the while undermining diplomacy and increasing the risk of war.
For Netanyahu to attack Iran while Sec. Def. Austin is arriving in Israel shows that the Biden admin's strategy of appeasing Netanyahu in hope that it will prevent him from sabotaging Iran diplomacy is not working.
Bibi's biggest fear is not an Iranian bomb, but a nuclear deal that checks Iran's program and allows the US to check out - militarily - from the Middle East.

Netanyahu, Saudi, UAE want the US permanently stuck in the Middle East - and the #IranDeal is a threat to that.
Read 4 tweets
12 Apr
Pro-Israeli messaging clearly aims to assert that Iran is so weakened by the Natanz attack that the US can wait Iran out - no need for diplomacy now.

This is exactly what Israel has claimed EVERY TIME the US & Iran were close to a deal.

Hence, beware of the propaganda. >>
2. Claims that Natanz can’t operate centrifuges for 9 months seem exaggerated and designed to convince the US that it shouldn’t return to the JCPOA. Or at a minimum, wait till after the elections. That would be a transparent ploy. >>
3. Given Israel’s aggression against Iran, the next Iranian President - particularly a conservative one - will feel compelled to strike back against Israel in order to dispel any notion in the West that Iran’s restraint has been due to desperation or lack of options. >>
Read 9 tweets
10 Apr
/THREAD/ After the initial rounds of talks in Vienna, it’s clear the US side is moving fast. It’s convincingly signaled its willingness to lift the parts of Trump’s sanctions wall that block JCPOA-approved trade. But Iran’s ability to respond appears limited. >>
2. It should come as no surprise that Iran’s maneuverability has shrunk as the country entered its election season. We all knew this was coming. And politically, it is next-to suicide for them to take a bet on the US’s word mindful of past US betrayals. >>
3. Iran wants to be sure that the sanctions relief is holistic - that the entire cycle from selling oil, to the bank transaction, to cargo ship insurance and port acceptance - are verifiably unsanctioned. If a single element remains sanctioned, then the relief is meaningless.>>
Read 6 tweets
2 Apr
/THREAD/ Very good and welcomed news on the #IranDeal!

Given the deadlock and the disappointing pace of movement in the first weeks of Biden’s term. Here are a few thoughts on why it finally has happened and where we will go from here.>>
2. Privately, White House officials admit that how they fumbled the Iran file earlier on (my words, not theirs). But things have changed, the message is, and the US is now moving full speed toward a JCPOA return. We are now seeing the first signs supporting this narrative. >>
3. Over the past weeks, however, mistrust between the two sides has grown. The Iranians have watched in dismay how Biden has messaged that the JCPOA is not a priority and how coordination with Israel and assuaging hawks in Congress were. >>
Read 19 tweets
21 Mar
1. A crucial piece by @JessLee_DC on how anti-China rhetoric fuels violence against Asian-Americans.

In this thread, I add some of my own thoughts based on the Iranian-American experience.…
2. First of all, Jess is right in the sense that the heated anti-China not only doesn't advance US interest, it also pits Americans against each other here at home. It's a lose-lose.
3. Jess rightly argues that Biden’s condemnation of the murders in GA misses the mark because it fails to acknowledge that Washington’s over-the-top rhetoric on China fuels an atmosphere of fear and anxiety, which boomerangs in the form of violence against Asian Americans.
Read 13 tweets

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