Analysis & Opinions - The National Interest

Iran Deal: Keeping Israel On Board

| March 8, 2014

The recent launching by the P5+1 of negotiations of a comprehensive deal with Iran regarding its nuclear program poses serious dilemmas for both the U.S. and Israel given the enormous stakes involved. For the U.S., the formal goal is to beverifiably assured that Iran's nuclear program is peaceful. In reality, America's goal is to prevent Iran's nuclear program from reaching a point where the U.S. would have no choice but to decide between "bombing and the bomb"—that is, between attacking Iran's nuclear installations or "living with an Iranian bomb." In turn, this decision point can only be avoided by restoring a significant "breakout time" for Iran's nuclear effort.[1] Yet, restoring such "breakout time" does not exclude the possibility that Iran would be permitted to have a 'small, discrete, limited' uranium-enrichment program.

For Israel, the stakes in these negotiations are even higher—it sees itself as the primary target of a future Iranian nuclear force and regards such a capability as an existential threat....

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[1] Graham Allison defines a significant breakout time as such "that the timeline between an Iranian decision to seek a bomb and success in building it is long enough, and an Iranian move in that direction is clear enough, that the United States or Israel have sufficient time to intervene to prevent Iran's succeeding." (Reuters, February 19, 2014).

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Feldman, Shai and Oren Setter.“Iran Deal: Keeping Israel On Board.” The National Interest, March 8, 2014.

The Authors