Dennis Ross, founder of AIPAC with Martin Indyk, has served Presidents Carter, Reagan, Bush Sr., Clinton, Obama—all but Bush Jr. Ross got his Judaism after the Six-Day War, founded a synagogue in Rockville, Maryland, and has served in the Pentagon, the State Department, the National Security Council, and the White House. In the Reagan years, he was director of Near East and South Asian affairs in the National Security Council and Deputy Director of the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment. For Bush Sr., he was director of the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff, and he was Clinton’s main Middle East Envoy. He worked with Hillary in the State Department. In other words, he knows what he’s talking about, so please pay attention.
A few days ago, he, Eric Edelman and Michael Makowsky placed an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, (http://www.latimes.com/opinion/commentary/la-oe-ross-iran-diplomacy-20131029,0,6562941.story#axzz2jDrXcnEo). They wrote that recent negotiations were unique because Iran finally showed up at the table, but not to be fooled. The Iranians “offered no concessions, leaving serious questions about Iranian purposes. With another round of talks scheduled for next week, U.S. negotiators would do well to follow principles that signify the core interests at stake.”
Then they list the six principles:
Iran must resolve outstanding international concerns. The International Atomic Energy Agency has repeatedly complained that Iran has not been forthcoming about its nuclear activities.
Iran must adhere to international legal requirements. The U.N. Security Council passed six resolutions requiring Tehran to “suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities” and “to implement without delay all transparency measures as the IAEA may request in support of its ongoing investigations.”
Deny Iran nuclear weapons capability.
Impose a strict inspections regime.
Negotiate from a position of strength. Intensify sanctions and incentivize other countries to do the same, issue more forceful and credible statements that all options are on the table, initiate new military deployments and make clear the support for Israeli military action if conducted.
Finally, do not waste time. Iran will likely attain an undetectable nuclear capability by mid-2014, and perhaps even earlier.
As Ross and company said best, “Just because Iran agrees to a deal, it does not mean it will stick to it.” The Brooklyn Bridge is always for sale. That doesn’t mean you buy it.