Tags: Iran | Israel | MidPoint | Adam Ereli | Iran | United States | Israel

Ex-Mideast Diplomat: History on Iran's Side in Nuke Arms Race

By    |   Tuesday, 24 February 2015 02:02 PM

With one exception, every country that has launched a full-scale nuclear weapons program has succeeded in acquiring the bomb, and Iran may be no exception — but the date of reckoning might be put off by a decade under terms of an emerging non-proliferation deal, says a Mideast expert.

"Dealing with Iran is like dealing with the devil and you should just know that you're going to get burned," Adam Ereli, former U.S. ambassador to Bahrain, told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner on Newsmax TV Tuesday. "Having said that, we definitely have an interest in postponing or delaying their capacity to develop a nuclear weapon."

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"It's my view that they have that intention, they are determined to do it, and that eventually they will do it," said Ereli, a global strategic consultant and former principal deputy assistant secretary of state in the Obama administration. "So the question for us is, how do we buy ourselves more time?

"That's what this deal is designed to do," Ereli said of the potentially historic pact floated on Monday, in which Iran would suspend most nuclear activities for 10 years in exchange for a lifting of economic sanctions and some normalizing of U.S.-Iranian relations.

With a March 31 deadline for signatures looming, the deal will face "harsh opposition in both countries" as well as from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is all but certain to denounce it in a controversial speech to Congress scheduled for next week, The Associated Press reports.

The talks are also clouded by conflicting developments this week.

Israeli intelligence flatly contradicted Netanyahu's 2012 speech to the United Nations claiming Iran was close to a nuclear weapon, The Guardian reported on Monday, citing top-secret Mossad documents.

But on Tuesday, an Iranian exile group announced the discovery of a secret underground nuclear weapons testing facility near Tehran — a potential deal breaker if the allegation proves true.

"The fact of the matter is, I don't think in modern history the international community has successfully prevented any state from developing nuclear weapons when that state is absolutely determined to do so," said Ereli.

"The only case in which we succeeded was South Africa, but South Africa voluntarily gave up its development program," he said. "But Pakistan, India, China, Israel — they've all done it. And they all did it despite very strict international sanctions. And I don't think Iran is going to be any different."

"They consistently lie, deceive, and hide their nuclear program," said Ereli. "And if their intentions were peaceful and honorable, we wouldn't be having this problem. So whether it's a year or two years or today or tomorrow, the fact of the matter is we're dealing with a determined and capable enemy that threatens our long-term interests."

He said of any deal: "In the end it is folly, because a nuclear-armed Iran frankly should be one of our worst nightmares."

Ereli also discussed Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi calling for an Arab alliance  against the Islamic State (ISIS).

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The call for a pan-Arab force that could include Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Yemen, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia has credibility coming from Sisi, a military officer and leader of the Arabic world's largest country and largest military, said Ereli.

ISIS is a common threat for all of the above countries, even the Houthis who just overthrew Yemen's government, said Ereli.

"So it makes sense, and certainly would be consistent with what the United States wants to see, which is the Arab countries taking more of the burden for security away from us and onto their own shoulders," he said. "The devil is in the details, and would they be able to create a force that is both functional and operational, with joint command. I mean, that's a very sophisticated proposition that I don't see happening any time soon, but to hear a leader like Sisi call for it is a positive development."

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With one exception, every country that has launched a full-scale nuclear weapons program has succeeded in acquiring the bomb, and Iran may be no exception - but the date of might be put off by a decade under terms of an emerging non-proliferation deal, Adam Ereli says.
Adam Ereli, Iran, United States, Israel, nuclear
Tuesday, 24 February 2015 02:02 PM
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