Shortly after a deal was signed between six world powers and Iran over the latter's nuclear program, Haaretz analysts weighed in on what this means for Israel, the United States, Iran and the relationships between each of the countries. We summed up their arguments in a list of five must-read analyses.
One day later, after taking a close look at the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, our analysts answer the question: Is this deal good or bad? And continue considering: What does it mean for Israel?
1. Ilene Prusher raises the concern that the deal does not provide for an inspections regime that is nearly as "robust and intrusive" as U.S. President Barack Obama promised it would be back in April, when the framework agreement was signed. She cites an atomic energy expert who provides specific examples of the inspections mechanism's shortcomings. One such example is that if the world powers suspect Iran is violating the terms of the agreement, they will unlikely gain access to an inspection of the nuclear site in question, for under the terms of the agreement, this would require revealing the intelligence that aroused suspicion – and the world powers are unlikely to want to reveal such sources.
2. Barak Ravid acknowledges various shortfalls in the agreement, but says that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is mistaken and misleading when he suggests a good agreement was even possible. At least this deal, Ravid says, will compel Iran to take steps that it would unlikely take under any other scenario. Ravid adds that a decade in the Middle East is a long time, and an Iran that is closer to the U.S. could be an Iran that's less dangerous for Israel.
3. Amos Harel writes that other than depriving Iran of a military nuclear capability for the next decade, the deal doesn't give the West or Israel much to rejoice over: the Iranians probably only signed the deal, despite their reservations, because it was an offer too good to refuse; and some of the money that will soon start flowing in may go toward propping up Iran's proxies. Israel, however, can expect Obama to offer it a generous package of military aid as compensation.
4. Peter Beinart, on the other hand, says this deal, while imperfect, achieves America's goal of peacefully preventing Iran from achieving a nuclear weapon. He says the real reason behind the drama playing out between Israel and the United States over the deal is that the two countries have conflicting vital interests: the U.S. does not want to keep Iran weak. In fact, the United States would prefer a relatively strong Iran to maintain the balance of power in the Middle East and possibly even help in the fight against Islamic State. Israel, on the other hand, has a vital interest in keeping Iran weak. What scares Jerusalem most is that the deal legitimizes Iran’s regime internationally and ends sanctions, giving Tehran a lot more cash, and with it a lot more power.
5. Zvi Bar'el writes that Iran and Israel have a lot in common – so much so that they could have been twins. But now Iran is on its way to becoming a great regional and international power, while Israel is left to howl at the moon. Israel is under a false impression that it can do what it likes – including spitting in the face of the U.S. president and the Americans who elected him – and risks being internationally isolated. Its next big challenge, writes Bar'el, is to regain the friends it has lost, and make new ones. Will the ultranationalist and religious leaders in Israel take it down that path? Or will they believe they can do what they like, because God is on our side?
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