Geneva nuclear talks diplomats in line 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Denis Balibouse)
At first glance, the deal struck by Iran and the international community in
Geneva is merely a first step toward a final arrangement, which, in theory, can
force Iran to move back from the nuclear brink.
The Geneva deal appears
to carry some welcome amendments, such as a cessation of Iranian work at the
Arak heavy water reactor, the introduction of daily IAEA inspections at Iranian
nuclear sites, and the neutralization of Iran’s stockpile of 20-percent enriched
But upon closer inspection, the deal, though better than the
first draft floated this month, takes high and unnecessary risks, and rests on
shaky foundations that might just end up collapsing, bringing international
sanctions down with them.
The White House has provided assurances
the few sanctions eased in this deal can be restored, and vowed to keep the
pressure on Iran, presenting the arrangement as a risk-free, six-month test of
Iran’s true intentions.
But if the next round of diplomacy hits an
impasse, it is far from certain that the international community or the US will
rush to recognize the failure, or respond by adding more sanctions against
The biting sanctions that pushed Iranians to vote for President
Hassan Rouhani, and which convinced Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to
negotiate more seriously, rest on an international coalition, itself made up of
a wide range of countries that have diverging strategic, political and economic
Iran can be expected to spend the next six months trying to
divide this shaky coalition, and, aided by the lifting of some sanctions, will
seek to whet the appetite of firms from around the world, to lure them back to
do valuable business with it in the future.
Today it remains unclear how
the White House would respond if the second stage of diplomacy with Iran fails.
The US’s military deterrence is deflated, and the Obama administration’s
credibility is too badly damaged in the region to cause either Riyadh
Jerusalem to trust the White House’s assurances.
A lack of firm
international resolve in responding to failed talks would spell the beginning of
the end of the sanctions regime, and leave Iran with its nuclear program
The sanctions might crumble, but Iran would be left with all of
its centrifuges in place, and an international recognition of its “right” to
produce low-enriched uranium, which it obtained through Sunday’s Geneva
In Jerusalem, there is one fundamental formula that trumps all
others when it comes to Iran. If faced with two choices, either accepting an
Iran with the bomb, or bombing Iran, Israel will always choose the
A nuclear Iran, together with Iran’s trans-national terrorism and
proxy networks, and the regional arms race that will surely follow, will be many
times more dangerous to Israel’s well-being than an attack on Iranian nuclear