After Vienna: Three Scenarios for Likely Confrontation with Iran*

By Maj. Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror @ BESA**
Monday, August 3rd, 2015 @ 11:02PM

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Left: TEHRAN (FNA) – Iranian Ground Force Commander Brigadier General Ahmad Reza Pourdastan stressed plans to powerfully continue manufacturing different modern weapons and equipment to increase the country’s deterrence power.


It is impossible to claim, in light of all the shortcomings of the agreement as described above, that the agreement should be supported even if it is not perfect. This agreement will likely and necessarily lead to the use of force against Iran, at some stage or other, in order to halt its race toward nuclear weapons. This, however, will take place in far worse conditions than before the agreement, against a far-stronger Iran.

Those who claimed that Israel should not act against Iran, as Iran is an international problem that will be addressed by the US, made a huge mistake. The truth must be told: This agreement has made the situation more complex and dangerous, not less so.

The administration claims that “this was the best agreement that could have be achieved, and should therefore it should upheld.” But since the contents of the discussions between the parties are not known, the only way for us to evaluate the negotiations is by the results. For example: Some have asked why the US did not include other issues, beyond the nuclear question, in the agreement, such as a commitment from Iran to desist from involvement in international terror. The American answer is that Washington did not want to include issues that would complicate the negotiations, and that might even lead to additional Iranian demands on nuclear issues in response. They therefore chose to stay focused on Iran’s nuclear program.

This answer does not hold up under scrutiny. At the very end of the negotiations, Iran sought concessions on two non-nuclear issues: The removal of sanctions on their missile program and on their conventional weapons build-up. In both cases, Washington agreed to an Iranian demand that had no connection to the nuclear issue. Sanctions on conventional weapons are to be lifted after five years, and sanctions on missiles will be lifted after a further three years.

Thus Iran was able to achieve non-nuclear concessions via the negotiations, while the US, by its own admission, did not even try to do so. If no attempt is made to improve vital issues during the negotiations, it is impossible to then claim that this was the best possible agreement.

As to the question, “Yes, but what is the alternative?” there is a clear answer. The alternative was increasing the pressure of sanctions, conducting stubborn negotiations, and making serious preparations for military action that would crystalize all options on the table. Together, these would achieve a better agreement.

The choice was between a bad agreement, like the one achieved, and a far better agreement, because the Iranians desperately needed to conclude a deal. Why the six powers agreed to a bad agreement is an interesting historical question. In the meantime, we are left to deal with its consequences, which for Israel (and in my opinion for most of the world) are extremely serious.

*For the full article, see BESA Center

**Maj. Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror is the Greg and Anne Rosshandler Senior Fellow at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, and former national security advisor to the Prime Minister. He is also a fellow at JINSA’s Gemunder Center for Strategy and Defense. He served 36 years in senior IDF posts, including commander of the Military Colleges, military secretary to the Minister of Defense, director of the Intelligence Analysis Division in Military Intelligence, and chief intelligence officer of the Northern Command.

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