Reuters reports on Netanyahu’s failure to churn up momentum towards war with Iran. If anything he is losing ground as hopes for a diplomatic detente has taken over.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said this week that Iran’s new president was a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”, but he himself looked increasingly like a lone wolf as his allies seek to bring Tehran into the fold.
After years of worrying about Iran’s disputed nuclear ambitions, Netanyahu took to the stage at the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday and made his most explicit threat yet to attack the Islamic republic unless it ends its atomic program.
However, his warning carried less weight than in previous years, with only a dwindling band of diplomats and experts convinced that Israel might unleash its warplanes, especially at a time of warming ties between Iran and the rest of the world.
One Western diplomat involved in Iranian nuclear diplomacy described Netanyahu as “out of step” with the mood of detente and a former senior U.S. official cautioned that Israel would be unlikely to secure all its demands in any negotiations.
Israeli officials haver responded in their typical understated diplomatic manner:
Netanyahu’s message, a senior Israeli official said, was that world powers should “cut the crap” – see through what Israel regards as Iranian deception. That reflects the prime minister’s concern that there could be a swift easing of sanctions before Iran dismantles any nuclear infrastructure.
Not a member of the international negotiating team, the Israeli leader nonetheless laid out his conditions for a deal, including shutting down all Iranian uranium enrichment facilities and shipping out all its stocks of fissile material.
Such a comprehensive nuclear rollback looks highly unlikely, meaning Netanyahu will have to calibrate his expectations.
“Negotiating means there will have to be some give on both sides,” said Gary Samore, until recently the top nuclear proliferation expert on Obama’s national security staff.
“I think it’s unlikely that we are in a position to dictate to the Iranians that they have to meet all of our demands.”
Additionally, Israel may find itself on the sidelines if a deal is reached between the P5+1, five permanent U.N. Security Council members plus Germany, who will meet with Iran later this month in Geneva:
However, a diplomat from one of the P5+1 countries directly involved in the negotiations with Tehran stressed that while Israel’s view was important, it did not have power of veto.
“Israel will not be in the room if and when a deal is done,” said the diplomat, who declined to be named. “We take Israeli concerns very seriously. But I have a feeling that Netanyahu is slightly out of step with other nations at the moment.”