Tel Aviv (AsiaNews) – The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) not only needs to be supported but needs to be strengthened in the interests of regional and international peace and security, this according to Uzi Arad, a former national security adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, not a western government or an Iranian official.
In open disagreement with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as well as US President Donald Trump, who has threatened to tear up the historic deal between Iran and the 5+1 group (United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia China and Germany), Uzi Arad is convinced that "Doing away with the agreement is not a solution, it just takes away assets and replaces it with nothing. “
Arad (pictured with the premier) served as a national security adviser to Netanyahu from 2009 to 2011. He is a prominent figure in Israel and spoke at conference call hosted by the dovish Jewish-American group J Street about Iran’s nuclear programme.
Arad is certainly not basing his support of the deal on trust in Iran or on an analysis that suggests Iran is not a security threat to Israel. He is a pragmatist.
“Iran is uppermost in our thinking,” he said. “Iranian deployment near Israeli borders in Syria presents a threat that is not nuclear, but it can cause friction and that can escalate. That should be discussed in international discussions involving Syria. But that is a separate issue.”
The JCPOA “was a decision by the P5+1 and Iran to go after a specific issue,” he said. Both parties had a shared interest in adopting “a focused approach rather than a comprehensive one that might not be possible to attain.”
In his view, Iran’s recent missile tests, which for Trump violate the deal, have nothing to do with the nuclear programme.
Arad also expressed concern that the United States might consider simply withdrawing from the agreement without having a plan for what comes after. In fact, “the deal also established benchmarks and yard sticks. The Iranians must meet those. You take those away and you’re in a void.”
Sanctions were effective because of international support and international consensus. Any unilateral action by Washington to scrap the deal would be damaging. Likewise, the bellicose rhetoric from US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley is not helpful for detente and dialogue.
For years, an embargo was in place against Iran. Western economic sanctions were eased in 2015 in exchange for a deal on the country’s controversial nuclear programme.
Largely welcomed by the international community, the deal has been a boost for Iran’s economy and investments, stimulating urban renewal and reforms in the energy sector.
However, the United States – and critics of the deal, especially Israel – have backed sanctions against Iran over its ballistic missile programme and its support for armed Shia movements in the Middle East.
US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis and General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently spoke about the matter.
“Iran is not in material breach of the agreement,” General Dunford said. “And I do believe the agreement to date has delayed the development of a nuclear capability by Iran.” (DS)