New York - “The agreement is fine as it is, at least for the next six months. And the Israelis know it, too”. But Edward Luttwak, member of the Center for Strategic and International Studies and expert in foreign policy, is cautious about saying that the words approved in Geneva is a true step towards Barack Obama’s goal: to guarantee that Iran does not acquire nuclear weapons.
If this isn’t a first step in the right direction for the Americans, how do you explain the agreement?
“As the result of negotiations between a single country, Iran, and a very heterogeneous coalition, the P5+1 group (The United States, Russia, China, France and Great Britain, plus Germany). The Iranians were focused on their own objective, which is to loosen the grip of the sanctions that have created serious difficulties for Khamenei’s regime. The P5+1 were of a single mind in these negotiations, but the six countries have different economic interests in the matter. Russia and China, for example, would like to start doing business with Iran immediately, and consider the loosening of the embargo to be good news. The fact that the Iranian nuclear program will be halted is positive, but the Iranians did not make any definitive concessions, whereas the removal of sanctions will give the regime immediate economic relief. We will see whether Iran behaves in a transparent manner from here on out, and whether the coalition can maintain the same discipline that has made this agreement possible, rather than falling apart as each pursues its own national interests”.
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is strongly against the agreement that emerged in Geneva, but some think that it may be a good beginning for Israel, as well.
“In Israel there are two factions that disagree over this, but the fact is that the Iranian nuclear program will now be stopped for six months, and if an agreement is reached in the meantime to completely dismantle the program, we will have the best solution for everyone’s security. If there is no such agreement, Israel will have to bomb Iran and will have a window of only a few weeks to do it, because the Arak plant could produce a bomb quite quickly”.
Is it true that the US negotiated with the Iranians for almost a year before sitting at the table in Geneva? Did they achieve good results?
“Yes, I think that United States officials had direct and very secret talks with their Iranian counterparts. The interim agreement is fine, but we will need to obtain the dismantling of the Iranian nuclear program, not just a halt to enrichment, and it is essential that the coalition does not fall apart because of separate economic agreements with Iran”.