As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prepared to reiterate his warning against Iran at the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday, former Military Intelligence head Maj. Gen. (ret.) Amos Yadlin said that Israel must be open to an agreement with the Iranian leadership.
"The State of Israel shouldn't oppose an agreement that would resolve the Iranian nuclear dispute. We mustn't appear to the world as capable only of a military solution," Yadlin, who currently heads the Institute for National Security Studies, told Army Radio Tuesday morning.
"On the other hand, we must be very clear, aggressive and disillusioned. We must clarify that the problem is the combination between such an extreme regime, which seeks the destruction of Israel, and such extreme weapons," he said.
On Monday, ahead of a meeting between Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington, Yadlin posted an article on the INSS website, under the headline "Yes to Negotiations," in which he outlined "10 important points" for the prime minister to consider when he meets with Obama and addresses the U.N. the following day.
Yadlin advised Netanyahu to avoid "painting himself into a corner and becoming the obstacle to an agreement" between Iran and the U.S.
"Dialogue is not the ultimate goal, and it must serve only as the setting for a process that neutralizes the Iranian military nuclear threat," Yadlin wrote, adding that "it is unclear what lies behind [Iranian President Hasan] Rouhani's drive to reach an agreement on the nuclear problem in a few months, or [Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei's affirmation of the need for 'heroic flexibility.' Do these signal a willingness to forfeit a military nuclear capability, or yet another attempt to attain this option at the lowest possible cost?"
Yadlin said Tehran may truly be willing to relinquish the option of military nuclear capability, or possibly to retain the option in a different way, one that would diminish the burden of Western economic sanctions.
The 10 points included: meeting with a positive rather than negative attitude; entertaining the possibility of minimizing rather than fully eliminating the threat; coordinating with Obama on the West's response to a future Iranian violation of any agreement; determining a clear deadline; not focusing on a single aspect (as in what Yadlin calls the "red line mistake"); and focusing on the larger endgame rather than taking small confidence building steps.