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Former Israeli military official calls for supporting negotiations with Iran

February 11, 2014 at 1:13 pm

A former director of Israeli military intelligence, Amos Yadlin, is calling for Israelis to give the nuclear negotiations with Iran a chance, saying that a “good agreement” can be reached with Iran. Furthermore, although Iran’s latest moves may appear to be an “an exercise in deceit,” he suggests that “exposing the deceit can yield strategic benefits” for Israel.

Yadlin, who heads the Institute of National Security Studies, published his recommendations on the institute’s web site. He argues that while Israel has pressed long and hard for harsh sanctions, “now that the sanctions have proven themselves as an effective tool for a possible agreement, Israel should not regret the option of solving the crisis by an agreement.”

However, Yadlin believes that the focus must “be on the contents of the agreement rather than the process,” and he suggests ten points that Israel should adopt.

These include adopting a positive attitude towards the negotiations, which are preferable to the military option. However Yadlin also warns that talking is not the goal; an agreement is. Furthermore, Israel must be fully aware of the details of any agreement, and he specifically addresses at length what would and would not be acceptable for Israel in the report.

He also stresses the importance of negotiating, because any deal “represents a significantly smaller threat than the dangers inherent in the status quo, which is likely leading to an Iranian bomb or to a military move to forestall it.”

Yadlin argues that the prime minister should determine upfront what the West’s response would be to any future violation of the agreement by Iran, however he also warns that narrowing on any one aspect of the agreement, or drawing a red line, is dangerous.

Yadlin expects that talks with Iran could take one of three paths. The two acceptable paths for Israel would be for Iran to agree to abandon the bomb, or failing to reach a political solution and resolving this by other means. The unacceptable path would be to reach a bad agreement with Iran.

Therefore, he concludes that “It is important to understand, influence, and if possible reach a conclusion on what America’s policy will be if the negotiations fail or the agreement is violated in the future, and how effective levers of influence on Iran – sanctions and a credible military option – can be preserved, as only they are capable of changing the Iranian behaviour.”