Editorial: It's too soon to give up on Iran

Israeli fears are not unfounded, but we are nowhere near the point where military strikes are the only option.

Share

While the eyes of the world are trained on North Korea’s ear-splitting threats, another perennial source of Western concern, Iran’s nuclear ambition, is hoving into view following the collapse of EU-led talks in Almaty. Israel, determined to keep Iran in the spotlight, is busy ramping up the tension, with one senior minister demanding that the West set an unalterable deadline for military action if Tehran does not stop enriching uranium “within weeks”.

Israeli fears that Iran’s nuclear ambitions pose a vital threat to its existence are not unfounded. But whatever Israel says, we are nowhere near the point where military strikes are the only option. In the meantime, the West should not allow Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to drag it into a conflict that would massively destabilise a region already reeling from the shockwaves coming out of Syria.

Getting talks started with Iran was in itself a sign of progress, and it was unrealistic to imagine that a dramatic breakthrough was likely when the positions of both sides have become so entrenched. One problem is that the deal on the table – a modest reduction in Western sanctions, in return for Iran stopping its most contentious work – looked paltry from the Iranians’ point of view. They clearly decided it wasn’t worth backing down, yet, in exchange for such an unappetising carrot.

The other problem is that Israel is not the only party in the dispute locked into position by domestic political considerations. Iran  holds presidential elections in June and it was implausible to imagine the authorities there undertaking a radical change of course on such a flagship policy ahead of those polls.

Washington appears to realise this, even if its ally, Israel, chooses not to. The US Secretary of State, John Kerry, was right to steer clear of talk of military deadlines while adding that the West cannot continue to hold talks with Iran “interminably”. The recent dialogue with Iran has not succeeded in its aims, but that does not mean it has failed.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Project Coordinator

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: The Organisation: The Green Recrui...

Project Manager (HR)- Bristol - Upto £400 p/day

£350 - £400 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: Project Manager (specializing in ...

Embedded Linux Engineer

£40000 - £50000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Embedded Sof...

Senior Hardware Design Engineer - Broadcast

£50000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Working for a m...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The Port Eliot Festival  

How to keep it real in the digital age this summer

Simon Kelner
 

Our sanctions will not cripple Russia. It is doing a lot of the dirty work itself

Hamish McRae
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on