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An 'Inevitable' Partnership: The Path to Peace and Cooperation Between Iran and Israel

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Two years ago, the threat posed by Iran led to an historic partnership between Israel and three Arab countries, resulting in the Abraham Accords. Although the agreement created new regional opportunities, the Iranian threat has grown.

The Islamic Republic pumps millions into a not-so-secret war against the Jewish state through its proxies Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Officials in Tehran making regular calls to wipe Israel off the map.

This penchant for destruction, however, hasn't always been the case.

"It's hard for Americans in 2022 to imagine what Iran was like when I was born in Tehran myself," said CBN News National Security Contributor Ellie Cohanim. 

More than 40 years ago, Iran and Israel shared a mutually cooperative relationship. The two countries worked together in areas like economic development, agriculture, and health care. Cohanim experienced that partnership first hand.

"My own father had conducted business with an Israeli company where he had brought in Israeli water engineers, who were already, at the time, the most advanced in the world," she said.

That relationship turned hostile during the 1979 Islamic Revolution, when Ayatollah Khomeini took power. 

Four decades later, the Abraham Accords proves partnership between Israel and its Arab neighbors is possible and even profitable. Now, some former State Department officials believe the natural next step could involve the Iranians themselves. 

"The people see the benefits of deals like the Abraham Accords that their neighbors were reaping. So they're seeing the new jobs, the health care benefits, economic benefits...And they're asking themselves, 'Well, why shouldn't we get some of those benefits of cooperating with Israel?'" said former Adviser to the U.S. Representative for Iran Len Khodorkovsky. 

"There are protests going on right now...and that's why speaking out in support of them is so important and why offering them, you know, an opportunity here to say, 'You don't have to be a pariah, you don't have to be isolated,' and you know, a deal like this could come to be," added Victoria Coates, former U.S. Deputy National Security Adviser. 

As far-fetched as a partnership between Iran and Israel sounds, Coates and Khodorkovsky say it's not just possible, it's the inevitable path to peace in the Middle East. 

"75 years ago if I told you Germany, Japan, and Israel would be three of our greatest friends and democracies, and capitalist partners, and huge economies, you would have told me I was crazy. It's simply impossible to imagine, yet here we are," Coates said. 

The two proponents have dubbed this potential peace deal the Cyrus Accords. 

"Cyrus the Great, he was a Persian king that liberated the Jewish people from Babylon and allowed them to go back to their traditional homeland, and built their temple. He even financed the rebuilding of a Jewish temple in Jerusalem," Khodorkovsky explained.

"That act of inclusion and tolerance has always been held up as an example of what is possible in cooperation between people of different faiths, but similar morals, and values," Coates said.

To get here, Coates and Khodorkovsky admit the current Islamic regime will likely have to go, and it may surprise you who they think could help make that happen.

"Curiously, the answer may lie with none other than Elon Musk," Coates told CBN News. 

"Elon has been in the news a lot recently, but one of the things that he has done is deploy a satellite based internet service, which is called Starlink," she explained.

Operated by Musk's company SpaceX, Starlink consists of a network of more than 2,000 private satellites. It's touted as being able to offer high-speed internet anywhere on earth.

"Bringing in uninterruptible and incorruptible Internet access that would not make its users targets, but rather allow them to communicate with each other, because that's the way the regime has stayed in power...they literally will cut off the internet for days at a time and prevent people from communicating, and if they can communicate, they can coordinate," Coates said.

In February, Musk was able to provide internet to Ukraine even as Russia attempted to jam all signals, a move Ukrainian military leaders say has kept critical lines of communication open.

"The people of Iran want to live in a free and democratic country, and what the United States and Western powers need to do to support the Iranian people in their quest for freedom," said Cohanim.

"We shouldn't wait until the day after the regime is gone. We should think about that day right now and prepare for that day. Build those people to people ties, build business ties, create cultural connections, work on practical projects that could potentially be turned on the day after the regime has gone," Khodorkovsky said.

He and Coates agree it's ultimately up to the Iranian people to take back their country, and amid reports of growing unrest they believe that day could be coming. 

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About The Author

Caitlin Burke Headshot

Caitlin Burke serves as National Security Correspondent and a general assignment reporter for CBN News. She has also hosted the CBN News original podcast, The Daily Rundown. Some of Caitlin’s recent stories have focused on the national security threat posed by China, America’s military strength, and vulnerabilities in the U.S. power grid. She joined CBN News in July 2010, and over the course of her career, she has had the opportunity to cover stories both domestically and abroad. Caitlin began her news career working as a production assistant in Richmond, Virginia, for the NBC affiliate WWBT