John Kerry is in Geneva today hashing out a “first step” toward an eventual deal with Iran over its nuke program, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is none too pleased with the leaked contours of the deal. The New York Times reports:
“The deal that is being discussed in Geneva right now is a bad deal,” Mr. Netanyahu said. “Iran is not required to take apart even one centrifuge. But the international community is relieving sanctions on Iran for the first time after many years.”“I urge Secretary Kerry not to rush to sign, to wait, to reconsider, to get a good deal,” Mr. Netanyahu added.
Analysts empathized. “Netanyahu’s worst nightmare is about to come true,” Ehud Yaari, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told Reuters. “This is not just Netanyahu. This is the position of everyone in the Israeli security establishment.” “A unilateral military option would have no real chance now. Not because we can’t do it, but because it would be seen as moving against the whole international community,” Giora Eiland, a former Israeli national security adviser, added. “That is something Israel cannot afford.”The Saudis, for their part, are also doing their best to scupper the negotiations, making it clear that they have a turnkey nuclear arsenal of their own on layaway in Pakistan—one that they could conceivably activate before the Iranians have their breakthrough.As we wrote two weeks ago, all this is was all too predictable:
Trying to build a new relationship with Iran without wrecking the old relationships with longstanding allies was always going to be the hard part of any negotiation over the nuclear issue. For the Iranians, wrecking those other relationships is a strategic objective in their negotiations with the US; past US administrations have refused to consider paying that price, but Tehran, Jerusalem and Riyadh may all now be wondering whether this is the deal President Obama will ultimately try to make.
We shall perhaps soon see.[Photo courtesy of Getty Images]