Below is a full translation of an op-ed written by WJC Executive Vice President Maram Stern in Jüdische Allgemeine.
A few days before International Holocaust Remembrance Day, when politicians from all over the world publicly committed to the idea of "Never again," one country stands out. In Iran, its parliament is currently discussing a law that would oblige the government to annihilate the State of Israel by 2040.
The singularity of the Holocaust forbids us from making frivolous comparisons with Nazism, but in this case the comparison must be made because, it is the undisputed official government policy of Iran to destroy the Jewish people, just as it was with the Nazis. In 2014, the "revolutionary leader" Khamenei had already announced 2040 as the deadline for the destruction of the Jewish state.
It is an unfortunate European custom, however, to ignore such announcements or to dismiss them as part of Iranian government folklore, and then quickly forget them. The Iranian leadership is mistakenly viewed as "irrational." Of course, in our western sense of the term, they are indeed insane. But that can only be related to their goals and ideology, not to their actions.
The idea that war is a mere “continuation of politics by other means” has been renounced in Europe. We forget, however, that others see it differently. War and international terrorism in particular have been an integral part of the concept of the “Iranian Revolution” from the beginning and now Iran has officially confirmed that; contrary to the provisions of the Vienna Agreement, it has once again started to enrich uranium to 20 percent. Technologically, Iran is thus back on the way to an atomic bomb. Not again, you want to scream, but this was entirely predictable.
Like many others, I was skeptical of the Iranian nuclear program from the start. Iran is not inherently a country that can be trusted without strict regulations. The interests of China and Russia are different from those of the West. In Europe, there was the hope of being able to obtain at least a minimum level of commitment from Iran; Jews, however, must be cautious about setting too much store on the principle of hope.
When the Trump administration announced its withdrawal from the agreement in 2018, it was de facto over -- not because Trump had so much power, but also because Iran, in the same way, never had a serious interest in the treaty. The welcome withdrawal was seen as an opportunity to return to its original strategy.
There could have been an alternative for Iran; after all, the US was not its only contractual partner. In this respect, the Iranian breach of the treaty also serves as an indication of how little the Europeans - even Germany - are taken seriously or even feared as actors capable of a coordinated response on this issue.
On January 11th, the EU foreign affairs representative called upon Iran to reverse its course "immediately." In my view, "immediately" has come and gone. A strong and unified European response is actually needed just to save face.
So far, however, the EU has been content with issuing "sharp" criticisms and making plans to continue the treaty -- a contract that two signatories no longer adhere to, I remind you! Here the principle of hope has been taken to its utmost extreme, yet all are reluctant to admit it. This contract is over.
The new Biden administration will not be able spontaneously return to the 2017 status quo. Nor should it want to. It would be a propaganda victory for Iran that would at the same time legitimize all verbal attacks and terrorist activities of the past three years in retrospect.
It is a consistent pattern of behavior for Iran to invent new exceptions in all negotiations and contracts look for gaps and to initiate renegotiations with questionable interpretations. This demonstrates that although Iran may sign a paper, it does not respect the spirit of the treaty; no contract can function this way. This is why a treaty with Iran may never work - especially as long as Tehran does not publicly and credibly renounce its policy of wanting to destroy Israel.
One last thing, because I keep hearing: "Even if Iran had a bomb, it would never use it." Such an idea is completely out of the question and utterly unacceptable as far as I am concerned. Israel must never be exposed to such a dangerous situation. Therefore, I should like to say to all European leaders who make their commitment to “never again” on January 27th: Do not allow yourselves to be drawn into the trickery of the terror regime in Tehran again! Make it clear that "never again" also applies to threats against Israel. And act as if it were a question of your own children!