The high diplomatic drama surrounding the P5+1 talks with Iran generated a remarkable sight in Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu turned to the cameras and pleaded for US secretary of state John Kerry not to sign the deal. He called it a ‘historic mistake’, arguing in effect that it would allow Iran to get closer to a bomb and relieve sanctions, all at the same time.
With not all members of the P5+1 satisfied with the text, Netanyahu got his wish for now, but negotiators will reconvene on 20 November. Kerry and Netanyahu have spent dozens of hours discussing this issue in recent month, so why has it come to this?
The difference is not about what Iran is up to. Israel, the US and the major EU powers share the assessment that Iran’s programme is intended to give it the capacity to build nuclear weapons at its time of choosing.
Nor it is about basic strategy. Israel and the Western capitals agree that Iran with a bomb would be disastrous for regional security and the non-proliferation regime. Israel would much prefer Iran to concede without a shot being fired, and helped rally the US and Europe to create genuinely punishing sanctions, which brought Iran to the table.
The differences are over what is a tolerable final outcome – which the US and other powers have not yet defined – and the process to achieving it.
Read this article in full at Left Foot Forward.