The "New Normal"? Parsing Iran Policy in the U.S. and Israel

(Washington Jewish Week) Dennis Ross - Israel and many Arab countries have expressed great concern that the current U.S. administration is giving Iran a pass and seems ready to treat the Islamic Republic as a future regional partner. In the meantime, Tehran is actively trying to change the regional balance of power while transferring increasingly accurate missiles to Hizbullah. The U.S. and Israel hold conceptually different perspectives on the nuclear issue. What Israelis fear is an agreement that eventually permits Iran to have an industrial-size nuclear program - one capable of breaking out to a nuclear weapons capability at a time of its choosing. The U.S. position seems to hold that Iran would technically be permitted to have an industrial-size program down the road. The U.S. seems to believe it has no better alternative, and that deferring the Iranians for 10 to 15 years could produce favorable changes in the interim. Interestingly, this basic conceptual difference with Israel may be moot because Tehran is unwilling to concede much at the moment, greatly diluting the prospects of a comprehensive deal, though Israel fears that Washington might continue making concessions to Iran. Another difference could emerge if the U.S. does not achieve a comprehensive agreement, but instead settles for the Joint Plan of Action interim agreement as the "new normal." This arrangement could leave Iran three months away from achieving a nuclear weapons capability and put Israel in an untenable situation. The writer, a counselor at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, served as a special assistant to President Obama for the Middle East and South Asia from 2009 to 2011. This is a summary of his remarks given Jan. 29 at a Washington Institute Policy Forum.

2015-02-13 00:00:00

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive