Iran Engagement Perspectives

ahmadinejad0916.jpgThank goodness the news of the recent National Intelligence Estimate Report is making a disastrous march to war seem less and less inevitable. I don’t think it overstates the case to suggest that the NIE is having a seismic impact on American foreign policy toward Iran.

Should Israel be considering engagement as well? Absolutely, according to an important editorial in The Forward by Trita Parsi, of the National Iranian American Council:

The Iran policy Israel has pursued to date must now be put aside and a genuine effort must be made to develop a Plan B that recognizes the new strategic realities in the region. A broad diplomatic opening between Washington and Tehran is increasingly likely, and it is a distinct probability that an American-Iranian deal will entail some level of enrichment on Iranian soil. Arab states can be expected to step up efforts at rapprochement in order to avoid lagging behind the United States in warming up to Iran, making a policy of containing and isolating Tehran more and more difficult to pursue.

Israeli interests, therefore, would best be served by Jerusalem throwing its weight behind genuine diplomacy with Tehran in order to ensure that it is not left out of an American-Iranian deal.

In the JTA, Daniel Levy, Senior Fellow at the New America and Century Foundations, makes a similar suggestion:

It’s now time to pursue an inclusive strategy that attempts to bring both the Arab center and Iranian periphery into a comprehensive peace arrangement and a framework for regional security.

Rather than resigning ourselves to the unnecessary conclusion that Israel’s fate is one of perpetual conflict, we ought to be more ambitious in our diplomatic reach.

Israel and the pro-Israel community should be encouraging comprehensive U.S.-led engagement with Iran, not the opposite, and should help shape that dialogue, not lag behind it.

What a difference an intelligence report makes! I doubt these kinds of editorials could ever have been printed in the mainstream Jewish press even six months ago. Here’s hoping that “comprehensive US-led engagement with Iran” becomes reality beyond merely the editorial pages…

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