Netanyahu’s Speech Looking to Push Trump Into Showdown With Iran, Experts Say

© AP Photo / Martinez MonsivaisPresident Donald Trump speaks during a news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Trump's private Mar-a-Lago club, Wednesday, April 18, 2018, in Palm Beach, Fla.
President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Trump's private Mar-a-Lago club, Wednesday, April 18, 2018, in Palm Beach, Fla. - Sputnik International
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Israel’s continued attacks on targets in Syria and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s highly publicized accusations against Iran appear designed to pull US President Donald Trump into a war with Iran, analysts told Sputnik.

Netanyahu in a televised address on Monday said Tel Aviv had proof Iran maintained a nuclear weapons program despite signing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany and the European Union in 2015.

Netanyahu said during his speech on Monday that Israeli intelligence has 100,000 files proving that Iran continued to maintain a secret nuclear program.

Trump has repeatedly described the JCPOA as the worst deal in US history and now faces a May 12 deadline to decide whether or not the United States will remain a party to the nuclear agreement.

Some expect Trump to exit the agreement, however, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo admitted during his confirmation hearing that Iran was living up to its commitments under the agreement.

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Political commentator Dan Lazare warned that Netanyahu could push for a conflict with Iran even if Trump decides remain in the 2015 nuclear agreement with Tehran.

"Even if the accord remains in place, Netanyahu may still push for a showdown with Iran, leaving Trump with little choice but to go along," Lazare said.

Netanyahu was using all the political support Israel enjoys among both Republican and Democratic lawmaker sin both chambers of the US Congress to increase the pressure on Trump to pull out of the nuclear accord, Lazare pointed out.

"Netanyahu wields immense power in Washington, more in fact than Trump does. So his show-and-tell performance is undoubtedly having a huge effect," he said.

Netanyahu had been deliberately escalating the dangers of conflict in Syria to try and force the US government into a situation where it had no choice but to back Israel up in a confrontation with Iran, Lazare warned.

"The question of war is not entirely in Washington's hands. Whatever the impact of Netanyahu's speech, his repeated bombing forays, assuming they continue, will speak a lot louder than words," he said.

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The US government was not a passive player that Netanyahu could manipulate at will, Lazare said.

"Washington is not entirely putty in Israeli hands. To the contrary, Americans are big boys (and girls) who are perfectly capable of figuring out where their imperial interests lie on their own. And that most definitely does not lie in triggering yet another Middle East explosion," he said.

Most members of Congress appeared to favor remaining in the nuclear agreement with Iran, Lazare maintained.

Also, "When the moment of truth arrives, Trump will surrender to reason as well… But that doesn't mean that an explosion won't occur regardless," Lazare said.

Trump could still be pulled into a war with Iran by Israel just as his predecessor, President Barack Obama, had been pulled into supporting Saudi Arabia’s ongoing air war in Yemen, Lazare noted.

"Obama felt he had no choice but to provide backup, which is why, three years later, the United States finds itself in yet another quagmire," he said.


University of Minnesota Professor of Anthropology and Middle East historian William Beeman author of "The ‘Great Satan’ vs. the ‘Mad Mullahs’" said he believed Trump had already decided to pull out of the 2015 nuclear agreement and that Netanyahu’s comments had been designed to help him do so.

"The Netanyahu stunt was designed to give cover to Trump cover who it appears had already decided to decertify the JCPOA on May 12… Netanyahu gave him something to point and go ahead with this destructive action," he said.

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However, Beeman pointed out that Netanyahu had revealed no new information whatsoever on the Iranian nuclear program in his Monday presentation.

"The Netanyahu conference can most charitably be described as a ‘cheap dog and pony show.’ He revealed absolutely nothing new. All of the ‘documents’ were more than 15 years old and without the ability to… inspect them, there is no way to evaluate their relevance for the current situation in Iran," he said.

The diagrams Netanyahu showed in his presentation are available on Wikipedia or in any elementary nuclear engineering text, Beeman observed.

"What is a hard fact is that Iran has scrupulously adhered to the provisions of the JCPOA. Netanyahu hinted darkly that the Iranians might be ‘cheating,’ but he provides no evidence for this. It is all innuendo… Stupid beyond belief," he said.

The European nations might still be able to rescue the JCPOA but they would have to do so without the United States, Beeman advised.

"The truth is that Trump is about to make the world a much more dangerous place," he said.

The White House said in a statement on Monday that the United States supported Israel’s efforts and called the details gathered by Israeli intelligence compelling, which seemed to lend credence to Netanyahu’s allegations.

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