It Is Not in Western Interests to Strengthen Iran

(BICOM) Toby Greene interviews Brig. Gen. (res.) Michael Herzog - Some people are of the opinion that the only way to stop ISIS after their capture of Mosul is to garner the support of Iran. However, I would warn against the thought that "my enemy's enemy is my friend." I do not think Iran offers a better vision for a unified, inclusive Iraq. It offers a vision of Shia Islamism, which is also a challenge to Western values and policies. It is not in Western interests to strengthen Iran's position in the region. We need to be very careful about turning to Iran to provide a solution and I would look elsewhere. The economic pressure on Iran is still there. People who thought that the sanctions regime would collapse as a result of the interim agreement were proven wrong. That said, I think the pressure eased somewhat and the Iranian economy is better than it was six to nine months ago. Iran has a budgetary surplus. So while the economic situation pressurizes them, it is not to the extent where they are on their knees and need a deal urgently. I am not sure the Iranians are more eager for a deal than the West right now. The Israelis are concerned that there may be a bad deal given what they think is insufficient Western resolve. There is also concern lest the interim agreement turns into a permanent or semi-permanent situation if the interim agreement is extended now, and then again in January. In such a situation, on the one hand, Iran's core capabilities are not rolled back significantly, since everything they gave in the interim agreement is reversible. On the other hand, Iran is not under the same economic pressure as before the interim deal. Gen. Herzog has held senior positions in the office of Israel's minister of defense.

2014-06-20 00:00:00

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