Two leading Israeli experts on Sunday evening bucked the trend of Israeli criticism and tentatively welcomed the interim deal with Iran signed in Geneva overnight Saturday-Sunday.
Amos Yadlin, the former head of the IDF’s Military Intelligence hierarchy, said that the terms agreed by the P5+1 powers and Iran were “far better” than those in the deal that fell apart in Geneva two weeks ago. Yadlin, who now heads the Institute for National Security Studies think tank at Tel Aviv University, also said he did not think Iran would breach the terms of the deal in the coming six months.
And Ehud Yaari, a veteran and widely respected Arab affairs analyst, said it was highly unlikely that military intervention could have achieved a better result than the terms agreed in the deal, including the halting of Iran’s uranium enrichment above 5%, the neutralizing of 20% enriched uranium stockpiles, and the halt on work to advance the Arak heavy water facility.
Deriding the bitter criticism from Israel’s leaders, Yadlin said that “from the reactions this morning, I might have thought Iran had gotten permission to build a bomb.”
In fact, he told Channel 2, the interim agreement featured “positive elements,” including provisions for frequent inspections of nuclear facilities, and an Iranian obligation not to use advanced centrifuges.
Yadlin said it would be “illogical” for Iran to breach the interim deal: “They didn’t sign onto this in order to breach it… The Iranians came to Geneva to get sanctions lifted. They understand that this [interim deal] is a test. It will be illogical for them to breach it in the next six months. It might be more logical for them to try to escape it after six months.”
Yadlin said that if the interim terms were mirrored in a permanent deal, that would be “a very bad accord.” But he noted President Barack Obama’s commitment to ensure Iran not attain the bomb, and also pointed out that the P5+1 partnership might have collapsed had a tougher deal been unsuccessfully attempted, and then the entire international sanctions regime might have collapsed.
Yaari said that while Iran’s leaders were publicly asserting achievements in Geneva relating to the nuclear program, their true success was in securing an easing of some economic sanctions. The deal did not advance the nuclear program, he said flatly. And while Iran was trumpeting that it had obtained the “right” to enrich uranium, he added, the fact was that it was enriching uranium anyway.
Yes, concluded Yaari, the interim deal still leaves 8,000 centrifuges spinning, but in the absence of a deal, Iran would have had 19,000 centrifuges in operation.