Israel Hoping for Shift in U.S. Policy on Iran

(Washington Institute for Near East Policy) Zohar Palti - Over the past year and a half, Iran has dragged its feet on diplomacy, refusing even to meet face-to-face with the Americans, while quietly advancing its nuclear program. Iran has violated commitment after commitment on its nuclear program: on enrichment, centrifuge development and production of uranium metals, without any repercussions from the international community. At the same time, Gulf states have suffered drone and cruise missile attacks on civilian targets, including airports and oil installations, while Iran itself suffered no direct cost for its unprovoked attacks. Iran today is no longer under the pressure that it felt when it agreed to the original nuclear deal in 2015. Without pressure, the Iranians agree to nothing. Today, with energy prices sky-high, Iran has found buyers for its sanctioned oil that has produced a windfall. Meanwhile, the Biden Administration has held off on penalizing recipients of Iran's illegal exports for fear of worsening the energy crunch that has already driven gas prices to unprecedented levels. In light of all this, most Israeli security professionals have concluded that only the application of massive additional pressure on Iran will convince the mullahs to compromise. Now is the time to return to a policy of pressure. Only if Iran's leaders truly believe that the very stability of the regime is at risk will they be open to compromise. This requires American contingency planning and military training operations to convince Iran that the U.S. commitment to act militarily to prevent its nuclear progress is real. At the same time, a policy of pressure would include reinvigorated sanctions, especially in the fields of energy and finance, including a willingness to target Chinese purchases of Iranian oil. Letting Iran proceed on its current path is bound to be worse for U.S. interests. If America doesn't get its hands dirty now with restoring deterrence to its relationship with Iran, Iran will become a nuclear threshold state. Without American action before then, Israel will feel isolated, alone and compelled to consider measures to prevent what it would view as a strategic catastrophe. The writer formerly served as head of the Political-Military Bureau in Israel's Defense Ministry and director of intelligence for the Mossad.

2022-07-04 00:00:00

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