Ambassador Javits: US Must Take Hard Line with Iran

Wednesday, 04 Dec 2013 10:33 AM

By Courtney Coren and John Bachman

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If the United States wants to be successful with Iran it must take a hard line coupled with respect or it could end up on the "losing end" of the temporary agreement aimed at ending Tehran's nuclear development program, says a former U.S. ambassador who has dealt with Iran on nuclear issues.

"If you took a very hard line, but then spent a lot of time with a lot of respect and tolerance and patience, explaining why that hard line was necessary and what other things you might be able to do for them if they accept the hard line, [it] generally worked out favorably," Eric Javits explained in an interview Tuesday with Newsmax TV.

Story continues below video.

"Otherwise, they take kindness for weakness."

Javits, a retired New York lawyer who served as the ambassador and permanent U.S. representative to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva from 2001-2003 and in the same post at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague from 2005-2009, is all too familiar with having to deal with Iran, which was also a member of the chemical weapons organization.

He expressed concern the U.S. could be headed for disappointment in six months, when the deal signed on Nov. 24 with Iran to work toward a permanent agreement on its nuclear program is scheduled to be renegotiated. For the moment, Iran has promised to freeze or scale back some of its current nuclear development operations in return for a lifting of some economic sanctions.

"If you allow a testing period like this to be at all ambiguous or unclear as to what the ultimate outcome has to be, you will find out that you're on the losing end," Javits told Newsmax, adding that it would be better for the administration to "make it very clear" what is expected when the six-month agreement expires.

In the meantime, he said he agrees with Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez, as well as other Democrats and Republicans who have said the temporary agreement is too one-sided and primarily benefits Iran. Menendez is currently working on a bipartisan bill that would impose new sanctions on Tehran if it fails to comply with U.S. demands at the end of the six-month agreement.

"You make it very clear what the ultimate outcome has to be and you ramp up your penalties to take effect automatically at the end of that period if you don't get what you absolutely have to have," Javits said.

He said bipartisan legislation strengthening sanctions would also send a signal to allies that the United States is serious about making sure Iran does what's expected.

"It's needed because it sends a signal to our allies and to our adversaries that . . . we're not taking down the system, and if you don't send that signal now you'll see an erosion over the six months of the determination and will of people to hold those sanctions," Javits said.

"Unless Iran feels it's in a box from which it can't escape, we will be on the losing end and they will get to be within a couple of weeks of a break out, if not quicker, to a nuclear armament. And, frankly, we'll find out that that's what they're going to do," he added.

Turning to the situation in Syria, Javits said he's waiting to see if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad follows through on his commitment to get rid of all his chemical weapons. He would be a fool not to, Javits suggested.

"The general bargain favors [Assad] enormously. It saved him from attack, which had been threatened by the U.S. and others; it saved him from losing his air force, and probably gives him much more of an upper hand in the civil war he's undergoing right now," he said.

To purchase Ambassador Javtis' new book, "Twists and Turns: Episodes in the Life of Ambassador Eric M. Javits," click here now.

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