The concerns about a prospective nuclear agreement with Iran raised by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a speech to Congresson Tuesday deserve a serious response from the Obama administration – one it has yet to provide. His speech singled out “two major concessions”: the acceptance of a large Iranian nuclear infrastructure, and a time limit on any restrictions, so that in as little as a decade Iran would be free to expand its production of nuclear materials.
He asserted that the Iranian regime, engaged in a “march of conquest, subjugation and terror,” could not be expected to change during the decade-long term of an agreement. He proposed that controls on the nuclear program should be maintained “for as long as Iran continues its aggression in the region and in the world.”
Rather than continuing its political attacks on Netanyahu, the administration ought to explain why the deal it is contemplating is justified – or reconsider it. (Washington Post)
See also Any Deal Will Have to Address the Concerns Netanyahu Voiced – David Ignatius
What Netanyahu did Tuesday was raise the bar for Obama. Any deal that the administration signs will have to address the concerns Netanyahu voiced. Given what’s at stake in the Middle East, that’s probably a good thing. As administration officials said at the outset of negotiations, no deal is better than a bad one. The Israeli prime minister’s speech served to sharpen the focus on what a good deal would look like. (Washington Post)
When Iran Goes Nuclear – R. James Woolsey and Peter Vincent Pry
The Israelis are right – we should awaken to the fact that the coming of a nuclear Iran holds special dangers and requires particularly urgent attention. There is special danger in the Shiite doctrine held by many Iranians, including some of Iran’s national leaders: The return of the hidden Imam will bring the war that ends the world and creates heavenly bliss for believers. As America’s dean of Mideast studies, Bernard Lewis, puts it: During the Cold War, Mutual Assured Destruction was a deterrent; today it is an inducement.
Iran works very closely with North Korea on its nuclear and missile programs. Consequently, it has the ballistic missile capacity to launch weapons of substantial size and intercontinental range against us, or to orbit satellites above us. So troubling is this capability – in the hands of either Iran or North Korea – that nine years ago, based on the ability of North Korea’s Taepodong missile to carry a nuclear warhead to intercontinental range, the current secretary of defense, Ashton Carter, and a prominent former secretary, William Perry, urged in a 2006 op-ed a pre-emptive strike against the then-new North Korean long-range missiles on their launch pads.
R. James Woolsey is a former director of central intelligence and is chairman of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Peter Vincent Pry is executive director of the EMP Task Force on National and Homeland Security. (Washington Times)
President Obama, Listen to Netanyahu on Iran – Faisal J. Abbas
One must admit, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did get it right when it came to dealing with Iran. The Israeli PM managed to hit the nail right on the head when he said that Middle Eastern countries are collapsing and that “terror organizations, mostly backed by Iran, are filling in the vacuum.” In just a few words, Mr. Netanyahu managed to accurately summarize a clear and present danger, not just to Israel, but to other U.S. allies in the region.
Nobody disagrees that ridding Iran of its nuclear ambitions is paramount. However, the real Iranian threat is not just the regime’s nuclear ambitions, but its expansionist approach and state-sponsored terrorism activities which are still ongoing. (Al-Arabiya)
Israel Speaks for the Sunnis – Nicholas M. Gallagher
An Israeli prime minister came to Washington not just as the voice of Israel, but also of much of the Sunni Arab world. Netanyahu’s speech was a crystallization of the policy that every Sunni, non-Iran-dominated capital holds today. His analysis of Iran’s recent progress in its hegemonic quest, his case that the oil crash gives the West fresh leverage when combined with sanctions, and his warning that this agreement would lead to a regional nuclear arms race – the King of Saudi Arabia would have said much the same.
Both Israel and the Sunni Arab states have become so alarmed by Iranian advances and the receding American security guarantees that they have made common cause. Both want Iran’s nuclear and conventional ambitions stopped. (American Interest)
The Coming Deal between the U.S. and Iran Deserves Close Scrutiny – Amitai Etzioni
Any deal that is negotiated between a party that is known for its intransigence and adamant beliefs, and an administration that is known for its tendency to yield ground and is desperately keen to avoid another war in the Middle East, deserves close scrutiny. One should recall that the Obama administration has already ignored several developments in which Iran ran through red lines set by the U.S. without facing the threatened consequences.
The deal assumes that U.S. intelligence services (and the international inspectors) will be able to determine whether Iran is abiding by its commitment to limit its development of nuclear capabilities so that it would remain about a year away from assembling a nuclear weapon. Does the record – from Pearl Harbor to the Yom Kippur War, from the revolution in Iran that brought the current regime to power to the outbreak of the Arab Spring in Tunisia – suggest that this is a valid assumption? The writer is professor of international relations at George Washington University. (Huffington Post)