Obama Won’t Sell Israel out in an Iran Deal


Obama’s meeting with Israeli PM Netanyahu, last week.

— by Steve Sheffey

President Obama remains committed to ensuring that Iran does not acquire nuclear weapons.

As Moshe Dayan said, “If you want to make peace, you don’t talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies.” That is why President Obama is talking to Iranian President Rouhani. The purpose of economic sanctions against Iran has been to force a diplomatic solution — talking to Iran was always the preferred end-game.

Last week, President Obama said:

Because of the extraordinary sanctions that we have been able to put in place over the last several years, the Iranians are now prepared, it appears, to negotiate. We have to test diplomacy. We have to see if, in fact, they are serious about their willingness to abide by international norms and international law and international requirements and resolutions. And we in good faith will approach them, indicating that it is our preference to resolve these issues diplomatically.

Continued after the jump.

But we enter into these negotiations very clear-eyed. They will not be easy. And anything that we do will require the highest standards of verification in order for us to provide the sort of sanctions relief that I think they are looking for.

So we will be in close consultation with Israel and our other friends and allies in the region during this process, and our hope is that we can resolve this diplomatically. But as President of the United States, I’ve said before and I will repeat that we take no options off the table, including military options, in terms of making sure that we do not have nuclear weapons in Iran that would destabilize the region and potentially threaten the United States of America.

In all of this, our unshakeable bond with the Israeli people is stronger than ever. Our commitment to Israel’s security is stronger than ever.

Obama will not sell out Israel in an Iran deal. Aaron David Miller, who has served in both Democratic and Republican administrations, believes that “either there will be a very good deal that will take care of both U.S. and Israeli concerns on the nuclear issue, or there will be no deal at all.”

The alert level on the Iranian charm offensive is incredibly high, and Obama is likely to be cautious and risk averse when it comes to the nuclear issue. Besides, there’s no issue that unites Congress like its mistrust of Iran. The administration would be hammered for showing signs of weakness without tangible and compelling concessions from Tehran. And Obama himself has staked much of his personal credibility on stopping Iran from acquiring a weapon. He has a huge incentive to make a deal — but only if it can credibly accomplish that end.

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