Preparing an Alternative Strategy before Withdrawing from the Nuclear Agreement with Iran

(Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University) Amos Yadlin and Avner Golov - The nuclear agreement with Iran, the JCPOA, is indeed problematic and in the long term embodies a strategic risk to the U.S. and Israel. Suitable strategic conditions should be created for a future withdrawal from the agreement, if necessary, and leverage built for a better option. The agreement facilitates the gradual creation of a more dangerous reality in which Iran will establish itself at the nuclear threshold. Therefore, the right time to re-open or withdraw from the agreement is not today, but shortly before the removal of the restrictions on the Iranian nuclear program (in 2023-2025). Until then, the focus should be on comprehensive and intrusive inspections of the Iranian nuclear program. Iran must remain at least one year away from the ability to produce nuclear weapons. In addition, Iran must be blocked from activities not covered by the JCPOA that harm American and Israeli interests: the long-range ballistic missile program, support for terror organizations, and other subversive activity in the region. Amending the agreement is the option that should be pursued in the medium to long term, but only after creation of international conditions to exert pressure on Iran to accept the proposed restrictions. For that purpose, the U.S. must launch an international diplomatic campaign to create a coalition with its allies in Europe and Asia that can achieve consensus regarding the required amendments to improve the agreement. Postponing a decision regarding the future of the JCPOA does not denote passivity toward Iran. Action must be taken against all negative Iranian activities that are not covered by the agreement. The U.S. could work to promote a new Security Council resolution that will forbid Iran to test missiles and cruise missiles that could in the future carry nuclear warheads. It can seek to thwart Iran's subversive activity in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, and Iraq and impose additional sanctions on the Iranian regime for its support for terror, missile tests that are contrary to a UN Security Council resolution, and human rights violations. At the same time, the U.S. and Israel (which is not a party to the JCPOA) must promote a "parallel agreement" that defines what would be considered flagrant breaches of the agreement, and reach agreement regarding actions to be taken in response to these breaches. This parallel agreement should address a plan to build independent Israeli capabilities to react to an Iranian attempt to acquire nuclear weapons. Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Amos Yadlin, former chief of Israeli military intelligence, heads the INSS, where Avner Golov is a research fellow.

2017-10-11 00:00:00

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