Recent reports of the status of negotiations with Iran to resolve the risk of Iran’s threat to become a nuclear power have alarming implications. The U.S. is apparently supporting a deal where existing sanctions on Iran will be relaxed against an Iranian pledge to freeze its progress towards achieving nuclear weapon capability.
Such a deal would leave Iran with the possibility or likelihood of unfreezing the “freeze” at a time of its choosing (or secretly) and resuming on its present path to a bomb. Experience with Iran teaches that they have broken every promise they made on this subject.
The negotiations must include the assured permanent abandonment of Iran’s ambitions to achieve nuclear weapon capability. Any other direction would be a fool’s game. It would be a certain path to war, either sooner or later. The Prime Minister of Israel has given fair notice that Israel cannot accept the existence of a nuclear Iran, who has repeatedly threatened to seek the annihilation of the Jewish State.
In his recent speech at the U.N. about Iran’s march to nuclear capability, Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “If Israel is forced to stand alone, Israel will stand alone.” It is significant that none of the nations involved in the present negotiations with Iran who have urged a relaxation of sanctions against an Iranian pledge to freeze its nuclear efforts are faced with an existential risk or threat such as confronts Israel. For each of those nations, a nuclear Iran would simply represent another nuclear power, which would not alter the dangers faced in today’s nuclear lineup. None of the U.S., Germany, China, Russia or Great Britain need fear that a nuclear Iran would launch an unprovoked attack on them. Such complacency ignores the probable consequences of a transfer by Iran of nuclear weaponry or technology to its terrorist allies.
The U.S. has repeatedly said that it will not permit Iran to obtain an atomic bomb. But the biggest riddle in the equation is whether the U.S. statements are sufficient to provide Israel with the comfort it requires to withhold a military attack on Iran before it is too late to prevent its accomplishment of nuclear capability.
So far, the U.S. statements have not caused Iran to reduce its march to a bomb, and it has flagrantly refused to alter its course. It has treated the U.S. as a paper tiger. So why should anyone think that the direction of present negotiations offers any chance of success? In this posture, the negotiations appear to be a path to war.
There is only one way for the U.S. to convince Iran and others it is serious in its statements: that is, the path it followed recently in Syria. After it was established that Syria used chemical weapons in the present civil war, the U.S. issued an ultimatum backed with the threat of immediate attack on Syria with a request for Congressional support of the U.S. threat. Syria backed down and accepted the ultimatum.
If the U.S. followed the same course vis a vis Iran, it is highly likely Iran would follow Syria’s path to wisdom and safety. Without showing the same determination we showed in Syria is there any reason for Iran to alter its course towards disaster? Our ally Israel deserves to know whether it would have U.S. support if it became involved in hostilities with Iran if it felt compelled to exercise its right to self-protection.
Kenneth Bialkin is a lawyer and is associated with several Jewish organizations. This article does not reflect the views of any other entity.