Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon has rejected the claim by U.S. President Barack Obama, among other figures, that there is no good alternative to the framework agreement on Iran’s nuclear program. In an op-ed published in The Washington Post on Wednesday, titled “Current Iran framework will make war more likely,” Ya’alon writes, “The claim that the only alternative to the framework is war is false. It both obscures the failure to attain better terms from Iran and stifles honest and open debate by suggesting that if you don’t agree, you must be a warmonger.”
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“The choice is not between this bad deal and war,” according to Ya’alon. “The alternative is a better deal that significantly rolls back Iran’s nuclear infrastructure.”
He writes, “This alternative requires neither war nor putting our faith in tools that have already failed us.” He notes that he “know[s] too well the costs of war” and that “Israelis are likely to pay the highest price if force is used — by anyone — against Iran’s nuclear program. No country, therefore, has a greater interest in seeing the Iranian nuclear question resolved peacefully than Israel.”
While acknowledging Israel’s “serious policy disagreement with the United States regarding the framework and its implications,” Ya’alon noted that “Israelis know that the United States is Israel’s greatest friend and strategic ally. No disagreement, not even about this critical issue, can diminish our enduring, profound gratitude to the president and his administration, Congress and the American people for all the United States has done to enhance the security of the Jewish state.”
The defense minister cast doubt in his op-ed on the agreement’s reliance on monitoring and intelligence to detect Iranian violations of its terms, noting that “the Iranian nuclear crisis began and intensified after two massive intelligence failures. Neither Israeli nor other leading Western intelligence agencies knew about Iran’s underground enrichment facilities at Natanz and Fordow until it was too late.”
Ya’alon’s op-ed was published after Obama’s interview with The New York Times last week, in which the president said “that there is no formula, there is no option, to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon that will be more effective than the diplomatic initiative and framework that we put forward — and that’s demonstrable.”