The Interim Agreement: from a Historical Mistake to the Alternative of Choice

EPC | 01 Nov 2014

The scenario of postponing the target date for concluding a final agreement on the Iranian nuclear program between Iran and the P5+1 until July 1, 2015, is good for Israel. It gives Israel a seven-month period to be prepared in case the negotiations crumble or lead to a “bad agreement”. Despite the strong desire of both sides to reach an agreement, the gaps between them were clearly too large to be bridged. Underlying the failure to reach an agreement is the skepticism of the Western powers regarding Iran’s claim that it has abandoned its strategic goal of attaining military nuclear capability. This distrust of Iran has prevented the formulation of a detailed agreement that would eliminate any possibility of an Iranian breakout to the bomb. Israeli political circles insist that it has no direct representation in the talks; still, it has a duty to keep working with the American administration and reach understandings with it regarding the “bad agreement” or an agreement that it can coexist with. Similar distrust of the West prevails among the conservatives in Iran, headed by Supreme Leader Khamenei, who fear that an agreement blocking Iran’s path to a nuclear military option is a slippery slope, implying surrender to the West and jeopardizing the regime’s future. The Iranians wish to retain capabilities that will enable them, at a time of their choice, to develop a nuclear bomb at short notice. In addition, in order to boost the Iranian economy, Tehran demand the immediate removal of the Western-imposed sanctions. The world powers, however, want to ensure that the agreement will block Iran’s path to nuclear weapons on the uranium, plutonium, and weapons development tracks. Senior administration officials emphasize their duty to weigh the alternative scenarios to failure in the talks, and speak of the possibility of Iran charging forward to obtain nuclear military capability even if no agreement is formulated, the risk of a covert Iranian breakthrough to a bomb, and the risk of an all-out war. At the same time, the decision to extend the talks indicates that the United States also has a red line separating a “reasonable agreement” from a “bad agreement.” President Obama does not want to leave a legacy of a nuclear-armed Iran and a nuclear arms race in the Middle East led by Saudi Arabia, some Arab Gulf States, Egypt, and Turkey. Furthermore, the American President must take into consideration a new Republican Congress that is expected to oppose a “bad agreement.” Source:By Amos Yadlin

Image Source: Reuters Pictures

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