Ambassador Ayalon explains why no deal with Iran is actually a bad deal
The last round of nuclear talks in Vienna between the P5+1 and Iran, which were meant to be the final round culminating in an agreement, ended once again in a tie after two earlier extensions.
In the West, including in Israel, is a sigh of relief is being breathed, happy that no deal is better than a bad deal.
This is a poor man’s celebration, as all parties involved agree that the desired result was an agreement that would permanently neutralize Iran’s nuclear weapons development capabilities, preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear power. A good agreement is better than no agreement at all, and different conduct on the part of the P5+1 would have led to the signing of a good agreement.
The deadline for the talks with Iran was postponed by a further seven months. In these seven months, the Iranians will continue withdrawing and using the $700 million a month from their frozen assets in the West, and this without a single concession regarding the nuclear capabilities they have fraudulently acquired so far, in defiance of the entire international community.
Failure to reach a good agreement extends the strategic uncertainty in the Middle East, increasing the Ayatollahs’ prestige, who have succeeded, despite Iran’s economic weakness and many internal problems, to manipulate the world powers, especially the United States.
Failure to sign an agreement also provides a boost for Iran’s allies – Assad’s Syria and Hezbollah, who may be fighting ISIL, but are no less dangerous.
The main mistake in the conduct versus Iran belongs to President Obama, who is not hiding his distinct and total lack of desire to confront Iran. It is clear that the President would much rather push off the end for as long as possible, and pass along the problem to the President elected in 2016.
Obama’s weakness is what is causing Iranian inflexibility. In the past, the Iranians knew how to be flexible, and even unconditionally shut down their nuclear program. It was in 2003, when they felt threatened by military action by President Bush.
The lesson is clear – only a believable return of the military option, alongside the threat of economic strangulation by increasing sanctions, will bring the Iranians to compromise.
The P5+1 (USA, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany) have every moral and legal justification to deal in this way with a rogue, outlaw country, and certainly have the strategic capabilities of overwhelming Iran. The question is one of will and courage, nothing more.
Treating Iran with silk gloves, and as an equal among superpowers, will only postpone a good agreement, allowing Iran to continue deceiving and tip-toe their way towards nuclear weapons as time goes by, while the world stands by and applauds the failure to reach a deal, “finding comfort” in the fact that it is better than a bad deal, instead of striving to reach a good deal.