The nuclear accord reached with Iran over the weekend has electrified the diplomatic community and enraged the leadership of Israel.
The Daily Circuit engaged three experts for their different views of the deal. Highlights from their conversation:
Kenneth Pollack: Israel shouldn't hold out for perfect
The president needs to be very sensitive to Israeli concerns. And not just the concerns of Israel, but of our other allies in the region, obviously. The Saudis, the Gulf Arab states, most of our allies in the region are very discomfited by this deal, although all of them for different reasons. That said, at the end of the day, the United States needs to judge whether this was the right deal. And I'll be honest with you: A lot of what we're hearing from some of our friends reflects agendas beyond the ones that we share in common. Certainly with the Gulf Arab states, they're not interested in a deal with Iran. They believe that they are fighting a region-wide war with Iran, and they want the United States participating in that war. They are afraid that a deal on the nuclear issue will take the United States out of that fight. That's not consistent with our interests.
In the case of Israel, what Prime Minister Netanyahu is demanding is simply unrealistic. And I think that it is important for us to constantly be sensitive to Israel's concerns, but we nevertheless have to have a hard conversation with him about what is necessary, what is the minimum required, and what is actually possible, as opposed to holding out for some unrealistic fantasy that ultimately will leave us all worse off, including our Israeli allies. ...
Prime Minister Netanyahu is not the only opinion in Israel. In fact you have far more people within the Israeli establishment, very smart Israeli hawks, all of whom recognize that what the prime minister is demanding simply isn't a realistic deal ... you hope that those kind of people are going to prevail on the prime minister to recognize that, look — this may not be perfect but it is more than good enough. And if you hold out for perfect, you're going to get nothing, and leave yourself in a worse situation.
Amos Guiora: Saudis don't want a less isolated Iran
Netanyahu's voice is not the only one, but it is the most important one because, for better or worse, he's the prime minister; he's going to be prime minister, I think, for a while. ... He came into politics claiming that will prevent Iran from ever having a bomb. For him, this has been a mainstay of his political agenda for years. ... for him, any kind of a deal that is not an absolute exclusive deal is for him deeply problematic and highly troubling. ... I think the Saudis have long been concerned that the Americans were going to reengage with Iran. ... There's a deep, deep, deep rivalry predicated on religion, don't forget, the interpretation of Islam, between the Iranians and the Saudis. One can never forget that. From the Saudi perspective, a reengagement between Iran and the United States, and between Iran and Western Europe, weakens the Saudis, and from their perspective that's obviously a negative.
Ken Rudin: Good or bad, the deal's historic
As [Democratic Sen.] Chuck Schumer said, we're giving up far more than we're getting out of this. We're giving up six or seven billion dollars in the relaxing of sanctions, whereas we have no guarantee, really, that Iran will stop enriching uranium, and no guarantee that it will be only for peaceful purposes. So this is either a historic opportunity, as the administration is saying, or a historic mistake as Netanyahu is saying. And I suspect one of them is going to be right.