Part 3 of analysis
Israeli officials have been monitoring the Obama Administration’s approach to dialogue with Iran with guarded satisfaction, yet major concerns persist.
Officials in Jerusalem understand that the new Administration in the United States is determined to engage in talks with the Ayatollah regime in order to promote America’s interests. Therefore, there is a risk that the initial American position will be watered down during the discussions, thereby enabling the Iranians to ultimately acquire the extra time they need in order to complete their preparations to produce nuclear weapons.
If that happens, America’s envoy to the talks with the Iranians, Dennis Ross, will turn into a modern-day Chamberlain.
In order to avert this possibility, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni presented (separately) a series of “efficiency tips” to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her recent visit to Israel.
Clinton did not respond, either positively or negatively, to these proposals, yet she promised that they will be given the appropriate attention in Washington.
All options on the table
The main Israeli demand was to limit the duration of the negotiations with the Iranians in advance. Another demand was to embark on talks only after the US makes all the needed preparations and ensures that it would be able to impose very harsh economic and diplomatic sanctions on Iran, in conjunction with other Security Council members, should the negotiations with Tehran fail.
The third Israeli proposal was to make it clear to Iran, in a decisive manner, during the dialogue and even before it, that “all options are on the table.” Or simply put: Making it clear to the Iranians that the United States is not discounting the possibility of a military strike – or active assistance to such military strike – on Iran’s strategic facilities, should Tehran continue to pursues its nuclear program.
Another Israeli proposal to the US is that America at least hint publically that it is willing to grant Israel the armaments and stealth aircraft it seeks for the IDF’s “long arm.” Such signal on the part of the US can serve the Administration during its dialogue with Iran and be used as proof that, indeed, “all options are on the table.”