The US-Iran Nuclear Deal: A Threat To Israel?

The US Iran Nuclear Deal in a Nutshell

On 24 November 2013, Iran agreed to curb some of its nuclear activities in return for $7bn (£4.3bn) of sanctions relief. The deal was supposed to last for six months, while a permanent agreement is sought. US President Barack Obama welcomed the deal, saying it would help prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon. The major clause of the deal is that Tehran will suspend enriching uranium beyond levels needed for use in power station. The White House released the following key points of the deals.1) Iran will stop enriching uranium beyond 5%, and “neutralize” its stockpile of uranium enriched beyond this point; 2) Iran will give greater access to inspectors including daily access at Natanz and Fordo nuclear sites; 3) There will be no further development of the Arak plant which it is believed could produce plutonium 4) In return, there will be no new nuclear-related sanctions for six months if Iran sticks by the accord 5) Iran will also receive sanctions relief worth about $7bn (£4.3bn) on sectors including precious metals.

 

The Iranian Perspective on the Nuclear Deal: Viewed as Desirable

The deal came just months after Iran elected Mr. Rouhani – regarded as a relative moderate – as its new president, succeeding the hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. It has also been backed by Iran’s Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final say in nuclear matters. The stakes are high for Iran. The United Nations, United States and European Union sanctions have cut into its economic lifeline – petroleum exports – and blocked its ability to make money internationally through the country’s central bank. Iran needs a deal, or the end of international economic sanctions crippling its economy and making life almost unbearable for regular Iranians. Inflation is running at close to 50 percent, sending the price of basic necessities like bread and soap skyrocketing, and raising the prospect of paralyzing popular unrest.

 

The US Perspective on the Nuclear Deal: Viewed as a Diplomatic Victory

The breakthrough agreement on Iran’s nuclear programme is the continuation of trust-building measures between the US and Iran. An agreement with Iran over its nuclear program, which Tehran insists is peaceful but the West fears could be aimed at developing nuclear weapons, would be rare good news for the United States. In Iran a more representative government would likely auger both greater political and social tolerance and a more cooperative working relationship with Washington. In this context, Rouhani’s appointment of the suave former Iranian ambassador to the U.N., Mohammad Javad Zarif, as the country’s Foreign Minister and lead nuclear negotiator has proved crucial.

Elsewhere in the world the U.S. is trying to manage one crisis after another. Russia has outflanked it in Syria. Putin’s support, ably abetted by the regime in Iran, is the principal reason that Bashar Assad remains in power. The staunchest Arab allies — Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain – are taking unprecedented steps to distance themselves from the United States, their erstwhile strategic partner of choice. It is a major reason why Obama administration is investing so much political capital in its quixotic pursuit of a grand bargain with Iran. A comprehensive agreement would represent a real game-changer for the United States and the region and signify Obama’s best opportunity for a major foreign policy victory.

 

The Israeli Concerns on the Iran –US Nuclear Deal

Not long after the deal was brokered in Geneva, Israel’s hawkish Netanyahu deemed it a “historic mistake.” “The world has become a much more dangerous place because the most dangerous regime in the world has taken a significant step toward attaining the most dangerous weapon in the world,” Netanyahu said. Israel, a staunch US ally, opposed engaging in negotiations with Iran from the start, and warned world leaders against signing an agreement that would allow the Islamic Republic to retain much of its nuclear capabilities while easing economic sanctions. Closer Iranian-US relations have the potential of further upsetting Israel, which continues to say that Iran should not be trusted. It could also have a negative impact on Israel-US relations, which are already under stress as US-brokered peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians continue to flounder.

 

How far are the concerns of Israel Justified?

Prominent foreign affairs analysts taking a neutral stand have not paid much attention to the Israeli criticisms and regard them as largely unjustified. Such experts argue that the arms race, the development of nuclear potential in Iran will be from now on controlled and that signifies an achievement if Iran is back among the fold of community of countries and not isolated. . If this deal not been reached, Iran would have been able to strengthen its program. Furthermore, Iran does not have a single nuclear weapon, and there is insufficient evidence that it is actively building one. Meanwhile, Israel has 80 in its arsenal. Netanyahu’s claim reflects Israel’s derision for the agreement, which focuses on impeding Iran’s future capabilities rather than dismantling the progress it has already made.

 

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