After a determined campaign by the Obama administration, the framework for a nuclear accord with Iran has been reached between the negotiators. Now, Israeli officials and congressional Republicans are attempting to throw a wrench in the works by appealing for changes to the accord. The new conditions are putting stress on the negotiations and threaten to derail them completely.
The latest objections from Israel relate to specific details of the plan, including Iran’s research program, its past military initiatives, international inspections, and sanctions. Israel’s intelligence chief, Yuval Steinitz gave reporters a list of changes that he stated would make the framework agreement more acceptable to his country.
Included were requirements that Iran alter its regional and foreign policy and accept Israel’s right to exist before the world powers accept a deal with the country. It also required that Iran cease all nuclear research and development activity; that its enriched uranium stockpile be removed from the country; and the number of operational centrifuges be lowered to below what the framework agreement requires.
President Barack Obama and his aides dismissed much of the criticism, saying Israel opposes any diplomatic deal with Iran. The appeal marked the first time Israeli officials outlined their own alternatives to the nuclear deal. The White House has voiced criticism for months that that the country had failed to come up with any diplomatic solutions of its own.
The proposed requirements are likely to form the foundation of renewed lobbying by Israel against the deal. However, the requirements would require a dramatic rewrite of the currently proposed accord. Negotiators on either side have almost no room for overhauling the terms in the way Mr. Steinitz called for. Israel plans to take its case to congressional lawmakers considering new sanctions against Iran when they return from the current recess.