WASHINGTON – Dennis Ross, US President Barack Obama's former Middle East adviser, said that Iran will not be able to unexpectedly attain nuclear capabilities.
Speaking Thursday with reporters ahead of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to Washington next week, Ross said that every time the Islamic Republic tried to conceal their nuclear program, it was eventually exposed.
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Ross noted that negotiations between Iran and the West over the former's attempts to develop nuclear capabilities are slated to begin in the next two months, and that the talks will reveal Tehran's true intensions.
Obama, Ross added, prefers to find a diplomatic solution, but at the same time is determined to prevent a nuclear Iran. It is in Tehran's interest to take advantage of the diplomatic opportunity that's currently on the table, he said.
Ross, who currently serves as a counselor at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said that Obama does not believe Iran would use nuclear weapons, if it acquires them, but is concerned that the move would spark an armament race in the Middle East.
Iran not like Japan
The former adviser estimated that Washington will not let Iran reach a point in which it possesses all the ingredients for a bomb, without actually having assembled one. Ross explained that Iran is not like Japan, and cannot be allowed to reach the same status, after it has lost the world's trust. He added that forceful measures will have to be employed if the sanctions fail and Iran is found to be buying time while sitting at the negotiations table.
The upcoming meeting between Netanyahu and Obama will focus on the Iranian issue, and Ross claimed that Israel and the US are in full agreement vis-à-vis the goal of preventing Iran's nuclear armament and issuing paralyzing sanctions.
The meeting, Ross estimated, will focus on the timetable for negotiations and measures for success. Israel is concerned that prolonged negotiations will close the window of opportunity for a military strike in Iran, he added.
Ross also discussed the relations between the Israeli prime minister and the American president, which many claim is one of the worst in the history of the two states, saying that when Netanyahu feels that Israel is being threatened and needs assistance, the first thing he does is call Obama.
That's what he did during the flotilla and the attack on the Israeli Embassy in Cairo. When it comes to important issues, there is a high level of trust between the sides, Ross noted.
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