Satellite image shows a nuclear facility in Iran.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The main US negotiator in the Iran nuclear talks sought to calm fears among US Jews about the emerging nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic on Monday, arguing that the deal was far superior to any alternative.
Under Secretary Wendy R. Sherman discussed US-Israel relations and the state of the Iran talks in a speech to the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism in Washington.
She argued that a deal would take Iran’s current nuclear breakout time of two-to-three months and stretch it to a one year breakout time for a period of at least 10 years.
Should Iran violate the deal, all options that are currently on the table would remain on the table, she added, in an apparent reference to a future potential military strike against Iran’s nuclear program.
Discussing the military option further, Sherman said that if the US took military action against Iran it would take away their program for only a maximum of two years.
Addressing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s assertion that sanctions on Iran should be further ratcheted up, Sherman said that sanctions have brought Iran to the negotiating table but they have not prevented it from multiplying its number of centrifuges or developing its nuclear program.
“The only durable solution is getting an agreement with enough monitoring and transparency to understand what is going on” with Iran’s nuclear program, she said.
The nuclear deal, should it be completed by the June 30 deadline, would make Israel, the region, the US and the world a safer place, Sherman said.
Sherman touted America’s relations with Israel, saying that US President Barack Obama’s deep connection to the Jewish people drives both his commitment to Israel and his Iranian policy.
She said that the US has stood up to efforts to single out Israel internationally and will continue to do so. She expressed concerns over Netanyahu’s comments prior to March’s elections in which he suggested that there would not be a Palestinian state formed on his watch.
Netanyahu has since walked back the comments and Sherman said that the US would be watching closely how the new Israeli government, currently being formed, will address the issue of a two-state solution.
Wendy Sherman warns of backing away from commitment to two-state solution
She warned that if the new government should step back from a commitment to the two-state solution, “something a vast majority of US Jews support,” it will make America’s job of standing up for Israel internationally tougher.
The Obama administration’s ability to push back against efforts to internationalize the conflict is based on the argument that a two-state solution negotiated between the Israelis and Palestinians is the only solution to the conflict, she said.