Understanding the Import of Netanyahu’s Iran Stance


The Israeli premier's upcoming appearance before Congress will offer him a chance to speak out openly about the Iranian threat, writes the consul general of Israel to the mid-Atlantic region.

Few things are more important to Israel than its special relationship with the United States. It is one based on shared values regarding freedom, democracy and human dignity. 
These shared values bind us together as individuals and societies and, by their very nature, transcend administrations, Congresses, prime ministers and coalition governments.
It is a relationship that manifests itself in a tremendous amount of mutual respect and in broad, bipartisan support toward the Jewish state.
Israel’s relationship with the American people is one we do not take for granted. As in all true relationships, openness and a frank exchange of concerns are the mark of a deep and abiding friendship.
Therefore, despite all the noise and speculation surrounding the circumstances of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming appearance before Congress, we must not lose sight of the substantive issue that he intends to address: preventing the most dangerous regime in the world from obtaining the most dangerous weapons in the world.
It is the duty of any responsible leader to speak out openly and frankly about threats lurking at his people’s doorstep and to do so from every podium and at every opportunity he is given.
The concern Israel has with the agreement that the international community reportedly is on the brink of forging with Iran is that it would not dismantle Iran’s nuclear weapons capability but would, rather, leave it as a nuclear threshold state. 
What that means, simply, is that both the nuclear material and the means for uranium enrichment, which are necessary for the production of an atomic bomb, would remain in Teh­ran’s possession, allowing it to sweep inspections aside at any moment and break out toward weaponi­zation, in the same way North Korea did in 2006.
This would be not just a serious threat to the Israeli people, but to the citizens of the United States as well as to the rest of the free world.
Any agreement that would provide a regime that repeatedly calls for Israel’s annihilation a pathway to a nuclear weapon is a bad agreement. Any agreement that would provide a globally designated state sponsor of terrorism — and the No. 1 contributor to regional and international instability — the capability to behave in an even more brazen fashion is a bad agreement.
Any agreement that gives a regime — one that behaves with contempt toward its own citizenry and whose twisted norms include the stoning of women and the public hangings of gays before packed crowds — greater breathing room to fulfill its deadly ambitions is a very bad agreement.
The list goes on, but the picture is clear.
The objective of talks with Iran should be securing a good deal, one that will completely dismantle Iran’s nuclear capabilities and ensure that it lives up to its current international obligations.
The objective should not be to meet an artificial deadline to achieve a settlement.
That is the message Israel’s prime minister has been conveying day in and day out, and it is that same message that he intends to voice in his appearance before a joint session of Congress.
Yaron Sideman is the consul general of Israel to the mid-Atlantic region.


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