‘Israel needs to find the right time to stop Iran’s nuclear program’

BESA Center’s Efraim Inbar tells ‘Post’: ‘US-Israel relations are on a collision course’ because US doesn’t have will to act against Iran.

April 13, 2015 01:20
3 minute read.
Netanyahu and Ya'alon

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (L) and Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

“Israel is on its own on Iran and has to find the right time to stop its nuclear program kinetically,” Efraim Inbar, director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University, told The Jerusalem Post in an interview on Sunday.

“The issue is political will,” said Inbar, arguing that we got to this point “because the US administration does not have the will to act against Iranian nuclear aspirations.”

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“US-Israel relations are on a collision course because of [President Barack] Obama’s policy on Iran and during this difficult period Israel needs to minimize the damage to the pillars of US-Israel relations,” he said.

However, he says, “We cannot accept the American policy on Iran and sometimes small states have to oppose even superpowers’ policies.”

Iran and world powers reached a framework nuclear agreement on April 2 that would require Iran to shut down parts of its nuclear program that could be used to build a bomb, and accept intrusive inspections, in exchange for the West lifting economic sanctions.

Israeli political leaders and Republican congressional representatives have strongly criticized the deal.

“There is no way to sweeten the deal; it is essentially flawed and it reminds us clearly of the North Korean agreement,” which failed to stop the reclusive Asian country from going nuclear, said Inbar.

And just like the agreement with North Korea in 1994, the Iranians also have no qualms about cheating their way to the bomb, he said.

Inbar wrote in a Besa Center report published on Thursday: “Unfortunately, no better deal is in the offing. Whatever revisions are introduced cannot change its basic nature.

The accord allows Iran to have fissionable material that can be enriched to weapons grade material in a short time and Tehran can always deny access to inspectors any time it chooses.

This is the essence of the North Korean precedent.”

Inbar added that a nuclear deal is no longer enough to prevent Iran from going nuclear and that only an attack can stop the Shi’ite country from getting the bomb.

Asked if it would be better to wait out the Obama administration and hope for a more cooperative Republican administration, Inbar responded that he is not sure a future Republican president would necessarily be tougher on Iran, as former president George W. Bush did not deal with the problem and “kicked the can down the road.”

He adds that it may be too long to wait in any case.

Another point, noted Inbar, is that a final agreement is still no sure thing as negotiations could still fall apart.

Asked about the argument by some who favor the framework agreement that it slows down Iran’s program, Inbar asserted that “the longer the program is entrenched, the more difficult it will be to get rid of it.” For example, there will be more people trained to develop the nuclear program and more chance to enrich uranium.

Another problem with the current negotiations between world powers and Iran is that the Americans are not insisting on linking other issues such as the country’s missile program or terror activities to the deal.

“Iran is the main national security challenge to Israel,” stated Inbar, pointing out that its leaders often call to destroy the Jewish state.

Asked if Israel should be getting involved to help regional Sunni forces against the Shi’ite led Iran axis, Inbar said that “Israel has to recognize it has little capability to influence regional developments.”

“Israel should be careful not to get entangled in Arab domestic conflicts because of the unexpected consequences,” he said.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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