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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 7/12/22

The Future of Arms Control with Iran

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By Jason Sibert

To those who follow international relations, all attention has been called to Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine.

However, there is some good news in the possible revival of a nuclear arms control deal with Iran, the first version was called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. It came to life in the Barack Obama Administration, and let's not forget that arms control was a success in the Cold War and post-Cold War world, as it helped downsize the word's nuclear arsenal. The United States and Russia (in its Soviet and post-Soviet forms) have held most of the world's arsenal since the beginning of the nuclear age in the 1940's. The JCPOA, the most extensive arms control deal in the history of arms control, put a lid on the arsenal of a dangerous, theocratic regime.

Now the West is ready to enter another arms control deal with Iran, but Israel - another regional player - is divided on the issue, or at least the defense establishment is divided. Several Israeli generals, including Major General Aharon Haliva, an intelligence officer, favor cutting a deal with Iran, in opposition to Israeli Defense Force Chief of Staff Lt. General Aviv Kohavi, according to reports. European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell recently said talks would resume after a three-month stalemate ahead of a visit to Israel and Saudi Arabia by United States President Joe Biden.

The West wants to travel down the path of diplomacy, but Israel's concerns will play a role in any negotiation. Reports say Haliva and several other senior officers have stated a bad deal is better than no deal at all because it allows Israel the opportunity to prepare for any Iranian response. Brig. General Amit Sa'ar, head of Military Intelligence's Research Division, Brig. General Oren Setter, head of IDF's Strategic Division, and Maj. General Tal Kalman, head of the Strategy and Third Circle Division, have all been reported to support another Iran deal. Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz has said that that returning to some sort of arms control deal represents the least bad option, giving hope to all those who believe there's a diplomatic solution to the problem.

"With the expected resumption of nuclear talks, we will continue to work together with the United States and other countries to clarify our position and to influence the design of the deal if there indeed will be one," Gantz said in a report. "In any case, we will continue intently to defend ourselves with our own forces, to build that force, to act against Iran and its process and to be prepared for the possibility that breaks out to a nuclear weapon."

The United States' politics is volatile at this moment and the international stage is volatile at this moment. Israel is in turmoil due to its domestic politics, the Palestinian issue, and its geopolitical competitors in the region. Productive diplomacy and the establishment of international law usually occurs when individual nation states see that they have common interests and then a deal is cut. Hopefully, Iran, Israel, and the US can conclude that diplomacy is the way forward. It will certain be a win for security in the Middle East and the world.

Jason Sibert is the Lead Writer for the Peace Economy Project.

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Jason Sibert worked for the Suburban Journals in the St. Louis area as a staff writer for a decade. His work has been published in a variety of publications since then and he is currently the executive director of the Peace Economy Project.
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