UPDATED WITH NEW ARTICLES & COMMENTARY: (Washington, D.C.) — The deal is done. The Iranian leaders are claiming victory. The White House is claiming victory. Most European governments, as well as Russia, are claiming victory.
The Israeli government, meanwhile, is horrified. They, and many of their citizens, feel more isolated than ever. As I reported from Jerusalem, this was true before the deal was struck. It is even more true now.
“One [Israeli] radio host on Sunday repeatedly played clips of President Obama, during his visit here in March, reassuring Israelis, in Hebrew, that ‘you are not alone,’ and then said ominously, ‘We are in fact alone,'” reported the New York Times.
Below, you’ll find a selection of key articles I’ve found helpful over the past 72 hours in understanding the deal and the reaction to it from various quarters. Above all, I encourage you to read the full text of the “interim deal” for yourself, along with President Obama’s statement, the Ayatollah Khamenei’s comments, and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s comments. These primary source documents will give you the basic facts and contours of the debate.
- Full text of the Iran nuclear deal.
- President Obama’s statement.
- The Ayatollah Khamenei’s statement.
- Prime Minister Netanyahu’s statement.
Then, we need to ask two critical questions:
- What will the Saudis do now?
- What will the Israelis do now?
The Saudis have been signaling in recent weeks that they are losing confidence in their alliance with the U.S., they are increasingly prepared to buy nuclear weapons from Pakistan, and they might even create a tacit alliance with Israel and the Gulf states as a bulwark against Iran. Is all that bluster, or is Riyadh serious?
Meanwhile, the initial consensus among most Mideast analysts is that Israel is now constrained from launching preemptive military strike lest the Netanyahu government risk a massive backlash from the international community that has just agreed to an “interim” agreement with Iran, pending a “comprehensive” agreement in 2014. I have posted a few examples of such views below. But I’ve also posted several examples of Israelis saying this deal makes a preemptive strike more likely, and possibly even inevitable, especially if the Saudis will help. Is this true, or just the bluster of those frustrated by what they perceive as the world’s betrayal?
To be candid, I don’t have the answers to these questions. Not yet. In part, this is because I don’t think the Saudis or the Israelis at the highest levels have come to clear answers about how to proceed from here. At the moment, I would lean towards agreeing with those who believe Israeli won’t take any military action during these next six months, but there are many factors I cannot see from this angle.
I don’t want to see a scenario like the one I portrayed in Damascus Countdown unfold. I’d much rather see a diplomatic solution that truly worked. That said, I’m deeply concerned that the world powers just let themselves be hoodwinked by the mullahs in Iran, and that the world has suddenly become a much more dangerous place, with Iran in a better position to build and deploy nuclear weapons.
There are many variables here. And there are likely to be many twists and turns on the road ahead. The best I can do is promise to keep you posted on developments as they unfold. Let’s keep praying for the Iranian nuclear threat to be neutralized peacefully, if at all possible.
- Ayatollah Ali Khamenei claims victory for nuclear program (Daily Caller)
- Khamenei says “Israeli regime is doomed to failure, annihilation” as nuclear negotiations resume in Geneva. (multiple sources)
U.S. & ALLIED REACTION:
- Canada vows to keep its Iran sanctions after deal: Canadian FM skeptical of Geneva agreement with Iran, decided to keep ‘tough’ sanctions in place, because ‘Iran has not earned the right to have the benefit of the doubt,’ FM Baird said (Agence France Presse)
- China, Germany, Russia hail Iran nuclear deal (Press TV)
- Russia says only winners, no losers in Iran nuclear deal (AFP)
- Iran, world powers reach historic nuclear deal (Washington Post)
- Accord Reached With Iran to Halt Nuclear Program (New York Times)
- Full text of Obama statement on nuclear deal with Iran — President says interim agreement cuts off ‘Iran’s most likely paths to a bomb’ (Times of Israel)
- House Majority Leader Eric Cantor: Iran nuclear deal ‘dangerous’ (Politico)
- Ambassador John Bolton: Abject Surrender by the United States. What does Israel do now? (Weekly Standard)
- Former Jerusalem Post editor Bret Stephens: “Worse Than Munich — In 1938, Chamberlain bought time to rearm. In 2013, Obama gives Iran time to go nuclear. “(Wall Street Journal)
- Obama phones Israeli PM to discuss Iran deal (AP)
- Mideast analysts: Iran deal ‘blunts possibility of Israel strike’ (Agence France Presse)
- French foreign minister doubts Israel will strike Iran (Jerusalem Post)
- Israeli Leaders Denounce Geneva Accord (New York Times)
- Source: Netanyahu Scolded Obama in Phone Call on Iran Deal (Breitbart)
- Bennett: ‘Bad’ Iran deal increases need for military action — Economics minister and Jewish Home leader says Israel cannot ‘sit idly by’ while world allows Iran to be 6 weeks from the bomb (Times of Israel)
- Israeli ministers lambaste ‘delusional’ Iran nuclear deal — Liberman says agreement will force Israel to make ‘different decisions’; Steinitz decries world celebrations; Prime Minister’s Office pans deal as giving Iran exactly what it wants (Times of Israel)
- Israeli Officials Knew White House Was Holding Secret Talks With Iran — “We felt like we were being stabbed in the back.” (BuzzFeed)
- Poll shows ebbing Israeli support for Iran strike — Survey indicates backing drops even further if US opposed to move; second poll reveals majority of Americans favor deal with Tehran (Times of Israel)
- Israeli commentator: With Iran deal sealed, don’t expect Israel to send out the air force — That would be political suicide. Still, the agreement only stops Iran in place; it’s still well-positioned to surge toward a bomb. (Haaretz)
- TAU Analysts: No Israeli Strike on Iran for 6 Months — Tel Aviv University researchers suggest slim chances for an Israeli strike on Iran during 6 month negotiation period. (Israel National News)
- Israeli author: Iran Deal ‘Makes an Israeli Strike Inevitable’ (Breitbart)
- “We are not bluffing.” Israel ready to strike Iran alone, says Netanyahu’s outgoing national security advisor. (Financial Times/Haaretz)
SAUDI AND OTHER ARAB REACTION:
- Iran nuclear deal: Saudi Arabia warns it will strike out on its own: Saudi Arabia claims they were kept in the dark by Western allies over Iran nuclear deal and says it will strike out on its own (UK Telegraph)
- Iran Is Playing Obama, Says Savvy Saudi Prince — “There’s no confidence in the Obama administration doing the right thing with Iran,” he told me, with a directness that would make Benjamin Netanyahu blush. “We’re really concerned — Israel, Saudi Arabia, the Middle East countries — about this.” (Jeffrey Goldberg column, Bloomberg)
- Saudi prince to Iran: We won’t sit idly by — Riyadh’s envoy to London slams US ‘incomprehensible rush’ to a deal with Tehran, won’t comment on reports of Saudi-Pakistan nuclear deal (Times of Israel)
- Sunni Arab unease about Iran deal runs deep (Reuters/Jerusalem Post)