Likud MK Gilad Erdan.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
No country has more to lose than Israel if
there is not a peaceful solution to Iran’s nuclear weapons program. That is why
Israel wants diplomacy with Iran to succeed.
But success must be measured
by what diplomacy achieves. The goal is to end Iran’s nuclear weapons program. A
deal should be a means to that end and not an end in itself.
The deal on
the table (the details of which have been widely reported) makes more likely the
very two outcomes its proponents seek to prevent – a nuclear-armed Iran or the
use of force against Iran’s nuclear weapons infrastructure before it’s too
Some claim that the proposed deal will require Iran to freeze its
nuclear program for six months in exchange for mild sanctions relief. Neither
assumption will hold.
To freeze its program, Iran would not only have to
stop the construction of its plutonium-producing heavy water reactor and add no
further centrifuges. It would also have to halt all uranium enrichment, which
Iran refuses to do. An agreement that allows Iran to continue enrichment of
material for nuclear bombs while talks go on will not freeze Iran's nuclear
Nor is the sanctions relief mild. Allowing the Iranian regime
access to billions of dollars would significantly ease the very pressure that
has brought Iran to the table in the first place. In a tanking economy like
Iran’s, these changes will make a big difference. The current sanctions regime
took years to put in place and is likely to fray quickly once the proposed deal
Thus this "first step" agreement would leave Iran closer to
nuclear weapons and under less pressure not to produce them.
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refuses to dismantle centrifuges and its plutonium reactor and to stop
enrichment now, why would it agree to do so after the pressure on it has been
reduced? If a deal this bad is the first step, what comes next? President Obama
has made it clear that he is determined to prevent Iran from developing a
nuclear weapon. Israel shares that goal.
To meet our common aim it is
essential to dismantle Iran's capability to produce such
Sanctions should continue to increase for as long as Iran
continues to produce the infrastructure and fuel for nuclear
Anything less will make both Iran’s attainment of nuclear
weapons and the use of force to prevent it more likely.
We should find no
comfort in this week’s International Atomic Energy Agency report on Iran’s
nuclear activities. Some try to downplay the IAEA’s disturbing findings – that,
contrary to six binding UN Security Council resolutions, Iran continues to
enrich and amass fissile material, work on its heavy water reactor and deny
inspectors access to facilities suspected of housing nuclear weapons-related
activities. Furthermore, a slowdown in construction is meaningless when Iran
already has all the infrastructure it needs to make fissile material for the
nuclear weapons it seeks.
Contrary to the New York Times editorial, this
is precisely “the time to squeeze Iran.” If the P5+1 do so and thereby succeed
in reaching an agreement that peacefully and genuinely ends Iran’s nuclear
weapons program, preventing it from becoming a threshold nuclear military power,
we will all have Prime Minister Netanyahu among others to thank for their
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