The extension of nuclear talks between Iran and the West avoids the acceptance of a bad deal, but also casts doubt on future diplomacy with a nation whose leaders support terrorist networks.
“No deal is better than a bad deal.” That’s been the mantra of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu since the talks over Iran’s nuclear program began.
He was right — and he still is, now that the world powers, led by the United States, have extended the deadline to reach an agreement by another seven months.
On one hand, we can breathe a sigh of relief that despite their intense desire to reach a deal, these nations stood firm against what by all accounts appears to be Iran’s intransigence and hubris. The failure of Iran to accept an agreement that would dramatically curtail but not even eliminate its nuclear aims suggests once again that Tehran is less interested in reaching a deal than it is anxious to further reduce the sanctions that are taking a serious toll on its economy. But the powers that be in the Islamist state think they can make that happen without paying a price.
At the same time, it is not clear how long it is wise to keep dragging out these talks without any progress. Iran has presumably halted some of its nuclear activity as part of the interim agreement reached last year, but who knows what secret activity is lurking beneath the surface.
Diplomacy is still the preferred path, but only if the outcome is that Iran’s nuclear program is dismantled in a highly verifiable way so that the rogue nation does not attain the capability to pose a nuclear threat to the region or the world — now or in the future.
At the same time, the pressure of sanctions must be kept up, or Iran will have no incentive to alter its stance and accede to the basic demands of significantly reducing its centrifuges and enrichment capability and opening itself up to inspection in ways that would enable monitors to detect both overt and covert operations.
There is no reason in the world to trust Iran. This is, after all, a nation whose leaders just this past week acknowledged that they gave the Hezbollah terror group based in Lebanon hundreds of new missiles that could reach Dimona in southern Israel.
“Our strategic guiding principle is the appropriate arming of Hezbollah and Hamas with advanced, modern weapons in order to allow the resistance groups to deal with the bloodthirsty Zionist regime,” Iran’s Fars news agency quoted a top military official of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as saying.
And earlier this month, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei released a Twitter post titled “9 key questions about the elimination of Israel.”
For those who suggest the Iranian hard-liners are just spouting off again and shouldn’t be taken seriously, we have this question: If we can’t trust that they mean what they say when it comes to Israel, how can we trust them on anything else?