(photo credit: IAF)
In the aftermath of multiple US presidential candidates pledging to rejoin the 2015 Iran nuclear deal if elected, former IDF intelligence chief Amos Yadlin warned against that on Monday, advocating instead for an “Iran deal 2.0.”
Seeking to strike a foreign policy contrast with US President Donald Trump, top-ranked Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren publicly committed in late March to rejoining the deal.
Other top candidates like Joseph Biden, Beto O’Rourke, Cory Booker and Pete Buttigieg have not taken a position on the issue.
Yadlin, also the director of the Institute for National Security Studies, has taken a series of nuanced positions regarding the 2015 nuclear deal, both criticizing it, but also opposing Trump’s May 2018 decision to leave the deal.
He has said the deal was neither a “second Holocaust” nor worthy of a Nobel prize.
Further, he wrote that many of the deal’s premises – that Iran would moderate over time and increase dialogue with the West on other issues – were proven wrong.
Both at the time and even now, Yadlin has argued the best scenario is revising the current deal into a new deal that fills some of the large holes.
In contrast, he wrote in his post on Monday that rejoining the deal, without fixing it, would “be dangerous” by accentuating the deal’s shortcomings.
Most importantly, his Iran deal 2.0 would extend nuclear restrictions on the Islamic Republic for at least an additional 30 years as well as conditioning the removal of those restrictions on a fundamental and real change of its behavior and how it relates to the world.
Other changes he would insist on for a revised deal include: a more invasive inspections regime that would cover Iranian military nuclear facilities along with civilian ones, addressing its ballistic missile tests and addressing its military interventions in the region.
More specifically, he wrote that some of the new obligations on Iran should also be solidified by binding UN Security Council resolutions.
Now that the deal is in its fourth year since its adoption, he evoked the dreams of the Egyptian pharaoh in Genesis in which there were seven good years followed by seven bad years – saying the deal’s positives are ticking down and its negatives are getting closer.
He indicated to The Jerusalem Post that a new deal should be sought looking toward 2021, a key point in which the deal’s restrictions could still be extended past their various staggered expirations in 2023 and 2025. It is also the point when a new president might take office or a reelected Trump might look for new tricks – since to date he has partially succeeded in isolating the Islamic Republic economically, but has won no concessions.
In order to convince Tehran to go along with revisions to the deal, Yadlin indicated to the Post that the West should work to reduce its oil exports to zero, use cyberattacks and publicly show the readiness to preemptively strike its nuclear facilities.
Regarding a potential preemptive strike, while Yadlin was not suggesting an actual strike anytime soon, he also made it clear that simply saying “all options are on the table” was insufficient without a public campaign showing that strike options are practical and ready.
Also, he said that not every surgical preemptive strike solely on nuclear facilities would inevitably lead to war. He cited Israel’s strikes on Iraq’s and Syria’s nuclear facilities in 1981 and 2007 as counterexamples since neither strike led to a general war.
The former IDF intelligence chief made it clear that the closer the nuclear deal gets to its expiration date, the more he would prefer a surgical preemptive strike over simply hoping that Iran would not choose to breakout to a nuclear weapon.
Yadlin said this was important for Israeli security and for global security, since Tehran is using its potential nuclear option and terror in the region to feed off one another.
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