With an interim accord on Iran’s nuclear program now a done deal, there’s legitimate dismay and fear in the pro-Israel community that Iran got more than it gave and this will not lead to the dismantling of Iran’s nuclear weapons capability.
There’s more than justifiable reason — and history — for the lack of trust that Tehran will abide by the commitments it signed off on last weekend. Almost as disconcerting as the potential threat to Israel that remains with this deal is the level of public acrimony that has erupted between the United States and Israel.
Yossi Klein Halevi, a leading Israeli analyst and journalist who was in our area last week, called the crisis in relations one of the worst in history, and worried that it could get even more dire if Israel should decide to launch a military strike on Iran against the wishes of its closest ally.
The question is: Where do we go from here? The interim deal is sealed, and rather than focusing on the colossal mistake in easing the sanctions before Iran had done more to roll back its program, the challenge is to keep the administration’s feet to the fire when it comes to pressing for a more comprehensive deal. Both Washington and Jerusalem also need to find a way to repair the damage, and the Obama administration needs to reassure its allies in a believable way that it hasn’t sold them out in its zeal to reach an agreement.
Only time will tell whether the Iranians are serious about clinching a deal that would defang their nuclear aspirations or whether they are instead using stalling tactics to move forward with their nuclear ambitions.
Even if we allow ourselves a glimmer of hope that this could be the beginning of an actual end to the Iranian nuclear threat, we must remember that time is not on the world’s side: The clock is ticking.