Monday, October 8, 2012

The US and Israel get closer on Iran Policy

Ever since Barack Obama became President of the United States, American relations with Israel and Benjamin Netanyahu have deteriorated over relations with Iran. Netanyahu insists on harsh threatening measures capped by a “red line that must be drawn limiting Iran's ability to enrich uranium thereby limiting Iran from further development of a nuclear weapon.” Pres. Obama and his administration accept the objective of denying Iran a nuclear weapon. They have led the international movement to install economic and diplomatic sanctions to pressure Iran to end its nuclear program. These sanctions have been effective in harming the Iran economy but have not yet persuaded the government in Tehran to suspend its nuclear program. Israel's policy appears to threaten Iran with preemptive military attack. To the contrary, Obama’s policy relies on diplomacy and commercial pressures while maintaining that “all weapons are on the table.” Relevant talks between Obama and Netanyahu have not gone well. Although US policy is strongly supportive of Israel militarily, financially, diplomatically, and commercially, Netanyahu has attempted to change US policy by his lobbying of the US Congress, the Jewish community in the US, and this close relationship with Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee for president. These tensions are about to change. Obama's diplomatic approach to the Iran crisis is working. The sanctions and policies Obama promotes have devastated the Iranian economy. The value of Iranian currency has plunged, economic woes have led to public anger, street clashes, black-market money changers, marching citizens demanding relief as well as many arrests of demonstrators. The turmoil in Iran has affected Israel’s positions. Netanyahu appears to be shifting hisIran policy toward more sanctions and fewer demands for the threatening “red line.” Most importantly, Obama's emphasis on diplomacy as the best way to modify Iran’s policy appears to be correct. Moreover, Netanyahu now faces political and electoral competition in Israeli’s next election. Obama’s successful policy will discourage Netanyahu from helping directly and indirectly the presidential campaign of his longtime friend, Mitt Romney. In recent speeches, the Israeli leader suggests that any military strike on Iran has been deferred indefinitely and that relations between Obama and Netanyahu are likely to improve.


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