- Israel is deeply concerned about the trajectory of the ongoing negotiations concerning Iran's nuclear program. The talks are moving in the wrong direction, especially on the core issue of uranium enrichment.
- Iran has softened its inflammatory anti-Western rhetoric and shown some flexibility on less important issues, but we must not be duped by these gestures. President Obama must stand by his declaration that no deal with Iran is better than a bad deal.
- Israel also worries that the ongoing campaign against the Islamic State will come at the expense of the critical struggle against Iran's nuclear program. Fighting the Islamic State is vital and Israel unequivocally supports the global effort to prevent the formation of a new Islamic caliphate in the Middle East. But even more important is the imperative to preclude the already existing Islamic Republic of Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability.
- Iran has already made considerable progress in its attempt to advance toward nuclear weapons. An agreement that allows Iran to continue circling in a holding pattern will resemble what happened with North Korea after the 2007 agreement left large parts of Pyongyang's nuclear capabilities intact, which enabled the North Koreans to produce several nuclear weapons in the following years.
- Second, a flawed deal would hand Iran practical advantages in return for almost nothing. In return for an insignificant and temporary reduction of its enrichment capacities, Iran stands to reap $100 billion per year when the sanctions are lifted; gain formal legitimacy for its uranium enrichment activities; and, despite its history of nuclear fraud and concealment, preserve the capability to produce nuclear weapons at a time it deems appropriate.
- Barring a surprising change in Iran's negotiating stance, there is zero chance of reaching a satisfactory good deal before the Nov. 24 deadline. Standing our moral ground will transmit a clear message to the leaders in Tehran that the only way to escape mounting pressure will be through ultimately making the necessary significant compromises.
The writer is Israel's minister of intelligence.
Report: U.S. Willing to Accept 5,000 Iran Centrifuges
Israel Channel 2 TV reported that the U.S. is willing to accept an agreement with Iran that would permit it to retain 5,000 centrifuges.
No Agreement Seen as Deadline Looms - Dennis Ross
Hardly anyone involved in the Iranian nuclear negotiations has expressed optimism about meeting the Nov. 24 deadline for a comprehensive agreement. A rollback of the Iranian nuclear program in return for a rollback of sanctions seems increasingly beyond reach.
One possibility would be an extension of the negotiations under the current terms. Yet this would essentially recognize a new status quo for Iran's nuclear program, in which Iran is only two or three months away from being able to break-out to producing weapons-grade enriched uranium.
The writer served as special assistant to President Obama and as a senior director at the National Security Council.
The Middle East in Chaos - Reuel Marc Gerecht
Despite the best efforts of Western or Western-inspired modernizers, religion is the primary identity. Secular military dictatorship among Muslims has been a double-edged sword: It helped to build nationalist consciousness; but its injustices and brutality degraded the legitimacy of the state, collapsed traditional mores, and fueled the growth of Islamic fundamentalism.
The promise of a new conquest society by self-appointed caliph of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, offers a tempting chance to get even for young men who've not hitherto enjoyed much fortune, in the Middle East or in the West. Add the Islamic State's anti-Americanism, and it's not surprising how well the organization has done.
And then there are the nuclear negotiations, where the White House keeps giving ground to Iran's continuing progress toward a bomb. The Islamic Republic's pursuit of nuclear weapons is a strategic game-changer. All of the region's problems, especially those that hurt us, will worsen when the mullahs go nuclear.
The writer is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.