Writing for the British Telegraph newspaper the day after Iranian Foreign Minister Javid Zarif penned an op-ed declaring his country’s readiness for a nuclear agreement, Dore Gold, the secretary-general of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, called the idea that Iran is a partner against global terror “disingenuous.”
He said Iran is the world’s leading state sponsor of terror, even under a harsh international sanctions regime. He noted that the country’s elite Iranian Revolutionary Guard operates a special Quds Force, which has activities in at least 30 countries.
Gold cited a 2011 plot in which Iran was planning to bomb the Saudi embassy in the U.S. by hiring agents of Mexican drug cartels, and he mentioned the recent discovery of an Iranian-backed Hezbollah cell collecting explosive materials in Cyprus.
He also said Iran’s sheltering of Sunni extremists who fled from Afghanistan following 9/11 adduced the country’s non-commitment to combating even Sunni extremism, which is ostensibly anathema to Iran’s official Shia faith.
Gold echoed Israeli concerns that a nuclear agreement would boost rather than hinder “Iranian support for global terrorism,” both by releasing at least $100 billion in assets frozen through the course of the sanctions regime and by allowing the country to operate as a nuclear threshold state, which would allow its international terrorist activities to acquire “a protective nuclear umbrella.”
And he said Zarif specifically could not be trusted to speak against terrorism as he laid a wreath in January at the grave of Imad Mughniyeh, a Hezbollah operative who had masterminded terrorist attacks against American and French troops and the Jewish community center in Argentina, among other things.
Gold was responding to Iran’s foreign minister, who wrote on Thursday that the threat of the Islamic State and other extremist groups in the Middle East was a concern it shared with the international community.
“Unless [this threat] is stopped, it will spread further. The cold-blooded barbarism on display knows no borders. The simultaneous massacres on three different continents a short while ago is proof,” wrote Zarif, referring to near-simultaneous terrorist attacks that rocked Tunisia, France and Kuwait, killing scores.
Zarif called for “new approaches,” indicating his country’s willingness to join “international efforts” if a nuclear agreement can be reached.