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Iran — the gamble, the original sin, and the unthinkable current consequence

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Having failed in his high-profile efforts to dissuade the Obama administration from sealing the radically inadequate 2015 deal with Iran, prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s subsequent strategy for thwarting the ayatollahs’ nuclear weapons drive relied on a series of calculated judgments or, perhaps more accurately, gambles.

First, Netanyahu encouraged the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the accord, and its imposition of “maximum pressure” sanctions, in the belief or hope that a combination of economic pressure, consequent domestic unrest, and the threat of US-led military action might compel the regime to set aside its bid for the bomb.

Second, he relied on the Trump administration being prepared to take military action, or support and help facilitate Israeli military action, if the point arrived where nothing else could halt Tehran’s military nuclear program — and if, in the curt, graphic summation of the late Mossad chief Meir Dagan, the sword was at our throat.

And self-evidently, by extension, Netanyahu bet on Donald Trump retaining the presidency, rather than losing out to a Democratic rival likely to seek to reinstate the 2015 JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action).

Needless to say, the strategy failed. A regime indifferent to the well-being of its citizenry so long as its hold on power was secure resisted the sanctions pressure and, predictably, began openly breaching the already lax parameters of the JCPOA. Allowed under the terms of the deal to keep many of its centrifuges and continue research on more effective models, it developed and installed some of those more efficient designs, and has gradually enriched increasing........

© The Times of Israel

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