Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent controversial appearance before the US Congress has made it easy for the Obama Administration to portray Israel as the sole obstacle to a negotiated solution to the Iran nuclear crisis.
But that simply isn’t the case.
Both France and Saudi Arabia this week reiterated that they, too, are displeased with the direction in which Washington has steered negotiations with Iran, and fear the resulting agreement would be more harmful than helpful.
“Do not give Iran deals it does not deserve,” warned Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal on Monday. Reminding everyone of the broad nature of the threat, the prince said that Iran was “interfering in the countries of the region and [seeking to] acquire a nuclear weapon that threatens regional and international security.”
Days earlier, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius insisted “there won’t be an accord if the Iranians don’t back down.” He agreed with Israel that “we have to protect ourselves from the eventuality of an Iranian atomic bomb.”
Sensing a weak link in the Obama Administration’s push to conclude a deal seemingly at any cost, an Israeli delegation headed by Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz urgently headed to Paris this week to consult with the French.
“We don’t have a plan B, we only have a plan A and this is to try to prevent a bad deal with Iran or at least to try to make it more reasonable and to close some of the gaps and loopholes that made it even worse,” Steinitz said in an interview with the Associated Press.
Israel says the details of the agreement proposed by Washington would enable Iran to continue secretly working toward a nuclear bomb, perhaps even on an accelerated timetable.
But in a separate interview with Reuters, the Israelis indicated they had little hope of ultimately dissuading an American government that has taken a decidedly hostile stance toward Netanyahu. “We think it’s going to be a bad, insufficient deal,” said Steinitz.