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Diplomat Danny Ayalon: Opportune Time for Israeli-US Talks on Iran

By    |   Thursday, 22 January 2015 11:03 AM

It's crucial for the United States to hold firm against Iran's nuclear proliferation program, an issue that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will discuss with Congress when he meets with them in March, former Israeli Ambassador to the United States Danny Ayalon said Thursday on "America’s Forum."

"There should be … a meeting face to face between Israel and the United States on this most crucial issue for both countries and indeed for the entire international community," Ayalon told Newsmax TV. "This would be a good opportunity for the prime minister to discuss it with the president and, of course, with our friends in Congress that also have a say.

"I know there was a little bit of a raucous here about the protocol issues, but this is out of the reach of Israel. We have no say about who is giving the invitation and how, but of course we are very pleased with it."

In an unusual move, Republican House Speaker John Boehner invited Netanyahu to address Congress about the danger posed by Iran's nuclear program.

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Now more than ever, the Iranians are "pliable," Ayalon said, and if they are offered a way out of a nonproliferation agreement they will seize it.

"No option should be taken off the table because this will only toughen their position and right now there is an opportunity with the oil prices sliding below the $50 mark," he said.

"The Iranians don't have too many cards to play with, and this is the time where they are desperately needing a deal.

"A good deal would be dismantling their infrastructure, not just spending. This is the time not to take options off the table, but to keep them guessing."

To keep Iranians from having nuclear capabilities, the international community, led by the United States, must insist that the Iranians cannot keep substantial stockpiles.

"With the right pressure they will have to accept it," Ayalon said. "They did it before in 2003 when they thought there was a credible threat from the U.S."

He added: "Iran cannot be trusted. An important element in any agreement will be a verification process and monitoring, which would be air tight. It's not very easy, but it can be done. We can never have 100 percent certainty, but with the right measures and enough monitors on the ground, it could be done."

Israelis are also concerned about a sneak attack by the Iranians, he said.

"Hezbollah, the Shiite organization in Lebanon and Syria, they are all for all practical purposes an arm of Iran," he said. "They have attacked before.

"I'm not sure they will dare a frontal attack against Israel because they know what would be the consequences, but they can do sneak attacks, as they have done before on Israeli targets around the world. They bombed the Israeli embassy in Argentina and they tried to take out Israeli diplomats all over the world.

"This is something that is of great concern to us."

The knife attack by a Palestinian man on a Tel Aviv bus on Wednesday was likely committed by a member of Hamas, said Ayalon, who noted that the suspect’s family is part of the terror group.

"The reason we do not see these attacks on a daily basis is only because of our security and defense establishment," he said. "It's a matter of preemption and prevention intelligence.

"We know it from Paris, New York and anywhere else around the globe. Given the opportunity, Islamists will strike."

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With falling oil prices the Iranians are "pliable," but the United States must hold firm against Iran's nuclear program, an issue that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will discuss with Congress in March, former Israeli Ambassador Danny Ayalon tells Newsmax TV.
iran, nuclear, israel, congress, obama, hezbollah, danny ayalon
Thursday, 22 January 2015 11:03 AM
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