Benjamin Netanyahu has declared Iran’s nuclear program a global problem. For years, he was right. Now, Israel stands alone.
Despite opposition to the interim agreement, the Israeli government should have welcomed it with open arms, at least in public.
Israel’s condemnation of the agreement was not surprising. It represented the latest piece in Israel’s PR puzzle; a jigsaw of confused and ill-advised decisions that have defined Israeli foreign policy since Netanyahu took office in 2009.
Israel needed to support the deal publicly while expressing its concerns in private. This would have gone far in preserving the notion that Iran is the world’s problem.
The agreement is far from perfect. It requires little compromise from Iran and is just the first step in reaching a peaceful resolution.
Still, the agreement is significant. It will enhance IAEA access to nuclear facilities and cap further uranium enrichment at 5%.
The logic behind Israeli decision-making is puzzling. In March 2010, the government approved a large settlement project during the visit of Vice-President Joe Biden and in August of this year, they did the same days before peace negotiations were set to resume.
Israel is playing with fire again and condemning this agreement further cements itself in isolation, while putting pressure on its already strained relationship with the United States.
This all works in Iran’s favour.
Since assuming office in early August, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has been able to turn back much of the damage inflicted by his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. This impressive feat has made Iran appear moderate – a scary thought considering the decision-maker remains its Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khameini.
Israel’s condemnation is worrying, especially for those who care about its safety. It risks losing allies and falling into unprecedented international isolation. Ironically, Prime Minister Netanyahu labelled the agreement ‘an historic mistake,’ there’s a good chance the only ‘historic mistake’ was his response.