Iran, too, sees this as a victory, which is unsettling. Iranian officials reportedly welcomed the agreement saying it confirmed the country’s right to enrich uranium and that “all plots hatched by the Zionist regime to stop the nuclear agreement have failed,” the state-owned Islamic Republic News Agency reported.
According to Satloff, this is something to which the media is not paying enough attention. He explained that the above is accurate, that the two sides have agreed that in a final deal there will be a mutually defined uranium enrichment program in Iran.
“Technically, [this agreement] gives Iran a hekscher [certification] to enrich uranium in the future, and limitations on that will only be defined for a period. At the end of the road, after Iran has gotten through this deal, and through the final comprehensive deal, if it is a Boy Scout through that process, there is a light at the end of the tunnel for Iran to have free reign on its enrichment. That may be many deals down the road, but that appears a major achievement.”
“The text of the interim agreement with Iran explicitly and dangerously recognizes that Iran be allowed to enrich uranium when it describes a ‘mutually defined enrichment program’ in a final, comprehensive deal,” seconded House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.). “It is clear why the Iranians are claiming this deal recognizes their right to enrich.”
Israeli politicians such as Israel’s Avigdor Lieberman termed the deal, “Iranian’s greatest victory.”
The other struggle that has come to light is one between the U.S. and Israel, which Satloff termed “a cold war.” This stemmed from the fact that not only does Netanyahu not trust the deal, but, according to David Harris of the American Jewish Committee, “Israel appears to have come up with the short end of the stick.”
In an article titled, “Mind The Gap On Iran,” Harris said Israel is now taking into account that the U.S. has had back-channel talks with the Iranians over many months, and barely, if at all, kept it in the loop as those talks progressed. He noted that it is not clear how much the Saudis, Kuwaitis, Emiratis and other American allies were in the know — or, for that matter, the U.S.’s closest European partners.
“How can Israel — and the Gulf nations — roll over and play dead when what happens affects them far more than any of the P5+1 nations?” Harris asked. “I hope Washington will use the coming days and weeks to reaffirm that Jerusalem and our Gulf friends, and the essential quality of American alliances, do continue to matter — and remain a fundamental tenet of America’s national interest.”
President Obama and Netanyahu did talk by phone on Sunday. On Monday, Netanyahu said he was dispatching his national security adviser, Yossi Cohen, to Washington to consult on the parameters of a permanent accord.
For sure, there are those Jewish organizations praising the bold steps Obama took to strike the deal. On Nov. 24, 100 Jewish clergy announced support for the steps taken toward peace with Iran.
Luminaries of the Reform, Reconstructionist, Renewal, Conservative, Modern Orthodox and Humanist streams of Judaism signed a document called “Step by Step Toward Shalom with Iran.” That document, which called on Iran to recognize Israel and to do teshuvah for its past actions, urged Israel to “welcome steps by Iran to make clear and verifiable its commitment to use nuclear energy and research for peaceful purposes only.”
Likewise, Jeremy Ben-Ami of J Street said the P5+1 deal with Iran is “on the right path,” and equated its success with possibilities for Palestinian-Israeli peace.
And Americans for Peace Now said in a statement by President and CEO Debra DeLee that “we believe that anyone who cares about U.S. national security, the security of Israel and stability in the Middle East should likewise welcome this agreement.”
But lack of concern does not seem to be mainstream opinion.
Satloff noted that there is a discrepancy between the timeline for this deal to run out (six months) and the timeline for completion of a final agreement (one year). He noted there is an option to extend the interim agreement, and it is likely that this is what will play out, which could lead to political pressure. He surmised that federal officials opposed to the deal will work through the Senate and Congress to present legislation that will deny the administration the right to renew the interim deal, will approve further sanctions that will be executed when the six months is up or will call for additional sanctions not tied to Iranian nuclear proliferation but to other offenses, such as human-rights violations.
At the time of this writing, some officials, including California Congressman Brad Sherman, had already started that process.
In the meantime, said Gil Hoffman, chief political correspondent and analyst for The Jerusalem Post, Israel will make noise. The last thing Obama or any of the heads of the P5+1 want is for Netanyahu to be able to say, “I told you so.”
“They would look bad to their own constituents if Israeli intelligence publicly revealed that Iran is violating the deal and the world didn’t realize it,” Hoffman said.
Now, we wait.
All analysts seem to feel that Israel will not strike Iran within the next six months because attacking Iran during ongoing negotiations would anger the United States and could shutter the international alliance against Iran’s nuclear ambitions. However, Netanyahu and other Israeli officials made clear that Israel will defend itself.
Said Netanyahu: “Iran is committed to Israel’s destruction, and Israel has the right and the obligation to defend itself by itself against any threat.”