On Iran Deal, US and Israeli Interests Align
Ploughshares Fund prides itself on working with some of the nation’s smartest individuals from both sides of the aisle. As news breaks, we look to our grantees to give us a ground up interpretation of events. As we watch the ongoing nuclear negotiations with Iran, we reached out to grantee Dylan Williams, Director of Government Affairs at J Street. Here, he gives us his take on the current diplomatic efforts and what a nuclear deal would mean for American and Israeli national security.
PF: Why should American Jews support this diplomatic process with Iran?
DW: The overwhelming majority of American Jews, like the overwhelming majority of Americans, believe it would be incredibly dangerous and destabilizing for US, Israeli, regional and global security if Iran were to acquire nuclear weapons. So the question is: how best to ensure that never happens?
The US intelligence and military communities agree that the best, if not only, way to prevent an Iranian nuclear weapon is through achieving a negotiated agreement with Iran under which it voluntarily curtails its nuclear program to verifiably peaceful, civilian activities under stringent monitoring. That means that all of us who are adamant that Iran not ever get the bomb should be equally supportive of the diplomacy underway to prevent it.
PF: How is a long-term nuclear deal going to protect or advance Israel’s regional security interests?
DW: An agreement which verifiably ensures that Iran cannot acquire a nuclear weapon could cause a sea-change in Israel's regional security posture. It would neutralize what many Israelis feel is the foremost security threat facing their country. And it would bolster the credibility of active diplomacy as a tool in addressing Israel's essential security concerns.
PF: Do these interests align with those of the U.S.?
DW: U.S. and Israeli interests align to a great extent on a number of issues with respect to Iran. In addition to ensuring that Iran does not acquire nuclear weapons, the United States and Israel work closely together to counter Iran's support for terror and its destabilizing influence throughout the Middle East. The achievement of a diplomatic resolution which verifiably prevents the emergence of a nuclear-armed Iran would constitute a tremendous success on all of these fronts. It's natural that there will be-- even among the closest of allies-- disagreements as to tactics, but such differences are minor compared to the commitment the United States and Israel have to our shared goals and to one another.
PF: What can we expect to be the outcome of this round of talks?
DW: This round is likely to involve a very deliberative assessment of the gaps that remain between the parties and the process needed to bridge those gaps. The critical thing at this point is for the parties continue to show the seriousness of purpose and willingness to move forward which has brought the diplomatic effort this far.