Listen: Iran, Israel And Europe discussed on John Batchelor
"I'm John bachelor by colleague, Malcolm hull live is not here with me in studio at the Hanukkah party today on the White House is excuses. He wanted to stop in Baltimore. So he's on the phone with me from Baltimore City to visit. But Malcolm, it's not the same as having you here in studio. Good evening, Malcolm. Same for me either. But I couldn't make it all the way back stopped at my home in Baltimore. So I can do the show. Now, you've been to every every Hanukkah party at the White House since George Washington, how did this compare that? I probably have the record of being the only person has been invited to everyone since George Bush lake George Washington, I misheard had one book we don't have the record of it. All right. And the the first President Bush had nineteen Ninety-one and that was there in everyone's since with road through publicans Democrats. The food has gotten better most, especially the lamb chops. But the president's spoke really movingly today about Macanese yet somehow close survivors on the stage with him, and you know, uses it to probably see peels comfortable, and it was pretty packed room. And he goes off script and talks about both the relationship with Israel to moving the NBC and the and and about the significance of never again, we immediately go to a question that always comes up when dealing with Israel, which is Iran, the predatory state of Iran, and we welcome our colleague, Matthew Levitt. He's the frommer Wexler fellow and director of the Washington Institute Janette and Eli Reinhardt program on counterterrorism and intelligence, Matthew a very good evening, Malcolm as festivities at the Hanukkah notwithstanding at the White House. We come to the puzzle of Iran piling up these violations. Provocations with missile tests with deploying regiments have Syrian gangsters and Hezbollah gangsters near the Golan with Iran, making violence statements against Israel and against the region. Is there an accounting is anyone watching this? Or is the Ron just accepted as a bad actor, and and everybody roles there is good evening to you. Matthew, good evening. Thanks for having me back on the show. Listen, I think it's first important to recognize that Iran is a threat not only to Israel, but also to all its other neighbours and increasingly to the west we've seen a series of Iranian assassination plot worded in Europe in Paris in Denmark. One was successfully carried out in the Hague in Albania in Bosnia. This has nothing to do with Israel. It has everything to do everything to do with Iranian. Assassination plots carried out in Europe. We even had the arrest of to Iranian agents carrying out surveillance of Iranian dissidents and Jewish targets here in the United States. So, of course, Iran is a threat to Israel, and it threatens its neighbors, but increasingly Iran is a threat to the west. And what we saw this week is how it also sends proxies. Not only in terms of the actions that carries out itself, but since proxies to carry out acts of violence against others. Just this week Israel revealed the existence of Lebanese Hezbollah tunnels dunk from southern Lebanon into Israel territory under the border, and they described it as a tax Reynolds because they have no other purpose other than to be able to infiltrate Hezbollah terrorists into Israel territory. But I want to add one last thing because they had the opportunity just a few days ago to to go to use military base outside Washington and to look at what they call. All the Iran munitions display. The department of defense has collected Iranian rockets, Iranian unmanned aerial vehicles, small arms, anti-tank guided missiles, a remote piloted suicide not suicide because it's remote, but unmanned boat vehicle. From around the world from Yemen rockets shot at at Saudi Arabia stuff from Bahrain all of which are in violation of long list of UN Security Council resolutions and so to answer your question. I do think that right now there is a lot more attention not only here in the United States, but in Europe to Iran's illicit activities because they are. So obviously undermining peace and security in the region. And now, especially for the Europeans Iranian operatives, not their proxies. Actual Runyan's trying to carry out acts of murder in Europe, Malcolm testing, medium range ballistic missiles with the that can carry multiple war heads. So do these do see result in terms of Europe's embracing up the JCP away their attempts to do the bypasses degree eight vehicles. You know for people to still invest at the same time as they see it needs so blatant and your visit to the. Munitions display. Remember brain hook spoke about it. Well, I mean, what do you see what new information? Did he disclose about the violations of human resolutions? And you see any chance that Europeans will finally be moved from their vote on the resolution today on, but it doesn't seem to sway them from stopping their bypasses of the American sanctions. So I really think we need to look at the JCP away the Iran deal of one basket, and the ballistic missile issue and human rights issue and sponsorship of terrorism and another basket because those last three issues they were never included under the Iran deal. So even if the Europeans want to try and maintain some semblance of the Iran deal through some type of special purpose vehicle. They call it to continue to facilitate financing, which is a former treasury official. I actually don't think they'll be able to do. But even if they try to do that. The Europeans are actually very upset about these ballistic missile tests. Those sanctions never ended. They're very upset about Iran sponsorship of terrorism in the region, and as you can imagine even more so about their assassination plots in Europe, Denmark has been reaching out to the Germans and the Brits and others trying to get them to agree to have European sanctions on Iran for these types of activities separate from and in parallel to any effort to continue the JCP away. That's how the JC peo- is originally ambition that we would continue to hold around speak to the fire on all these other things and the JCP away which was just about the nuclear file would be in in that corner. That wasn't the way it was implemented, which is a terrible. Shame. And so now, we should hold the Europeans feet to the fire. They wanna try and maintain the Iran deal. They have that. Right. But they. They too are upset about the ballistic missiles and the human rights violations and the sponsorship at engaging in terrorism, and we should hold Iran accountable for that whatever does or doesn't happen between Europe and Iran, what remains of JCP Dorando, Matthew. I have good friends in Azerbaijan, which you know, is a very good friend to the United States and Israel. However, the economy is cross-border, it doesn't stop it. They'll at the line to Iran. These sanctions that the US is imposed with our allies. Are they damaging the whole region? The Caspian Sea basin including the answer by Jonny, the Turkmenistan all that group. So of course, those are countries which border Iran to its north, and you're right any country in the region that has by virtue of geography a strong economic tied. Iran is going to have some type of trickle down impact by virtue of these sanctions. They also by the way may have some opportunity, especially when it comes to the illicit sanctions of Asian. I think you'll see a lot of black market economy activity in those countries around the region. And by the way, I think we're we're also in negotiations with the government of Iraq, which the United States is trying very hard to support. So that it can compensate for what economic damage the Iran sanctions might do it. But we do need to try and make it easier for those countries to be able to help us enforce sanctions. So that it doesn't undermine airy Connie's and yet we're able collectively as the international community to impose. Costs on Iran for its expressly, malign and elicit and dangerous activities. Now, come the now that the cover of the s three hundred has been put in place in Syria that Iran is taken advantage of this umbrella to ship more precision guided missiles, the weapons to his below or do we or do you think the reports of the using planes now to bypass the more complicated land route to get the weapons and the equipment to fill out is true. For many many years. Iran has predominantly been using the air routes flying primarily into Damascus international airport, and then shipping the munitions that it's delivering to Hezbollah to wherever Hezbollah wants them either in Syria or in Lebanon, and they do both by truck the land route is something they would like for the long haul but primarily stuff's being flown in. We are concerned ever about recent reports about direct flights now between Iran and Beirut international airport. Which would mean they wouldn't even have to truck them in wherever they're going. And of course, on top of all of that. There is the effort on the part of Iran and Lebanese Hezbollah to build for Hezbollah a domestic that is to say domestic within Lebanon precision procurement program. So that they can put together precision rockets domestically within Lebanon, either building the rockets themselves, right? A minimum behavior to add precision GPS guided kits she will rockets that are not otherwise guided rockets and making them much more dangerous. You don't just something that can be shot not just in the general direction of a city, but at a particular building in a particular block, and that's something that the Israelis have exposed recently as well with his building underground bunkers to serve as these precision GPS workshops in civilian residential areas. In the southern suburbs of Beirut under a soccer field near. A mosque near the airport. And I think that this is a building tension. It's not clear how long Israel can tolerate that type of activity on the one hand Israelis want there to be calm in the northern border on the other hand the longer they wait to take care of this. The more rockets is able to put together. And so it's it's a delicate balance Matthew Levitt of the Washington Institute. Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of presidents, Major American Jewish organizations. I'm John Batchelor.."