Instead of trying to end the Iran nuclear deal now, the US should pressure Iran with the threat of leaving the deal at a more strategic moment, former IDF military chief Amos Yadlin wrote on Monday.
Essentially, Yadlin does not dispute US President Donald Trump’s frustration with the deal’s holes, but believes that the conditions and timing for leaving the deal are wrong.
Rather, he suggests the US and the West use brinksmanship with Iran to improve and extend the deal in the 2023-2025 period – shortly before the deal’s nuclear restrictions expire.
Yadlin, who is also the head of the Institute for National Security Studies, co-authored the essay against leaving the Iran deal with INSS fellow and former National Security Council official Avner Golov.
“Improving the deal is a goal which should be strongly pursued in the medium and long term, but only after creating the conditions of international pressure on Iran to cause it to accept the offered restrictions,” writes Yadlin.
The former military intelligence chief explains that first the US must get its allies lined up for new UN resolutions against Iranian ballistic missile testing and its terrorist activities throughout the Middle East not covered by the nuclear deal.
If the US tries to force Iran into improved conditions now, it would lack European backing, let alone backing from Russia and China, says Yadlin.
However, as the expiration date on the deal’s restrictions get closer, these countries will naturally become more worried about Iran trying to break out with a nuclear weapon and will be more ready to confront it.
Furthermore, many of these countries might support UN resolutions in the near term against ballistic missile testing and Iranian terrorism, even if they are not ready to scrap the deal.
Yadlin states that one of Trump’s assets is that he is more willing to challenge Iran for its misbehavior and terrorism that is not part of the deal, which the Obama administration avoided, as it worried about shaking the nuclear-deal boat.
He quotes a range of top US defense officials who oppose quitting the deal now, even as they would support tougher inspections of Iran’s military nuclear sites and restrictions on Iran’s testing of advanced uranium centrifuges.
Ultimately, he says, any decision by Trump to decertify the deal should be used by the US Congress and the West to raise pressure on Iran for a later battle, but not to leave the deal now and free Iran to go nuclear while blaming the US.