The sanctions regime against Iran has the potential to bring about an end to Iran's nuclear ambitions.
Clearly, the Iranian people are fed up with the international economic sanctions, which have crippled their economy. The combination of sanctions coupled with a credible military option is working.
The evidence: it was Iran itself who approached the West in hopes of striking a deal to relieve this burden and work towards a solution.
With the current round of negotiations under way, Iran is already demanding an end to the so-called “core” oil and banking sanctions. This may turn out to be one concession too much, if indeed happens, as they are by far the most heavy hitting elements of the international sanctions.
Israel applauds U.S. efforts to exhaust the remedies and possibilities of diplomacy, but one needs to be very careful not to agree to a bad deal.
Iran has earned the world’s skepticism.
Their public rhetoric has shifted ever so slightly, from calling for the annihilation of Israel to simply echoing Nazi propaganda when Supreme Leader Khamanei called Israel a “rabid dog” just this week -- on Wednesday.
It is disturbing that when the Supreme Leader spoke in talking points of seeking “friendly” relations with America, and that there is “no animosity” towards the U.S., the militia crowd responded with chants of “Death to America.”
We should not and cannot look the other way, but rather face realities head on.
What is coming out of P5+1 negotiations in Geneva demonstrates that Iran is not yet ready to give up its active pursuit of nuclear weapons, echoing Khamanei’s remarks that Iran will not step back “one iota” from nuclear power.
Iran insists upon its right to enrich uranium and insists on continuing to build a heavy water plant in Arak.
Both are not required for a peaceful, civilian nuclear energy program.
Heavy water plants are necessary for the purpose of producing plutonium, and thus provide a "fast track" to creating nuclear weapons.
Centrifuges present a proliferation threat because they permit the production of highly enriched uranium suitable for nuclear weapons.
Iran could easily choose to join no less than 17 other nations, including Canada and Indonesia, which have established civilian nuclear programs without the need for centrifuges or heavy water plants.
It is hard to believe but Iran is part of the NPT, the international Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The treaty’s goal is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, and to enable the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
Iran, however, continuously increased its efforts to attain a nuclear weapon, purposefully deceiving the international community for decades while violating its responsibilities to the NPT, to the world and to their own people.
When the world finally caught on, the United Nations Security Council received resolutions on the matter and the sanctions regime against Iran intensified.
In spite of that, Iran still accelerated its efforts and ignored everyone and everything else.
The world cannot operate an effective international system of governance if we permit nations to go rogue by operating clandestine nuclear activities and blatantly disregard internationally recognized standards, ex post facto permitting and legitimizing this behavior.
It is in the interest of the entire international community, Israel included, to bring an end to Iran’s military nuclear program.
This can be done by reaching a good deal, one that must include eliminating all of the centrifuges and the removal of all of the enriched uranium in Iran and the closing of the heavy water plant in Arak. Any relief or temporary suspension of sanctions without the necessary steps by Iran would simply reverse course, and negate the successes that sanctions have had up to this point.
A good deal should include a deadline for negotiations, specifying a date to reach a final agreement.Without such a deadline, Iran would exploit negotiations and stall the international community in order to advance its military nuclear program, as it has done before.
A bad deal would be one that allows Iran to continue its activities at the heavy water plant in Arak and allows it to continue to enrich uranium, even if under supervisions and limitations set forth by the West. Under this type of agreement, Iran would still be able to advance its weapons program.
We should not repeat history, but learn from it.
Israel maintains that a viable military option is an essential component to any deal.
Theodore Roosevelt famously said, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” The international community must heed these words now more than ever before.
We must show that we are not only looking to avoid a military conflict at all cost, but rather assert our true commitment to a nuclear-free Iran in order to prevent future military conflicts.
The sanctions regime brought Iran to the negotiating table, peacefully. There is no need to rush into a bad deal when there is proof that international efforts have potential to achieve the right deal, one that will save lives rather than prepare the ground for future confrontations and future violence.
Ambassador Ido Aharoni is the Consul General of Israel in New York.