Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Predicting Israeli, Saudi and Iranian Reactions to a Nuclear Deal

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Predicting Israeli, Saudi and Iranian Reactions to a Nuclear Deal

Article excerpt

In light of recent improvements in U.S.-Iranian relations and the increasing possibility of a nuclear deal between the two countries, the RAND Corporation held a June 4 congressional briefing entitled "Israeli, Saudi, and Iranian Responses in the Days After a Deal With Iran: What Are the U.S. Options?" RAND Corporation analysts Alireza Nader, Jeffrey Martini and Dalia Dassa Kaye offered their thoughts.

"I think we can assume that any final deal will not be welcome" to Israelis, Kaye predicted, because Iran likely will retain some nuclear structure. Despite Israel's continued staunch opposition to a nuclear deal, as evidenced by its rejection of the interim deal struck in November 2013, Kaye thought it was unlikely to take unilateral action.

Citing a shiftin unofficial Israeli opinions, she believes that Israel's most likely response would be "reluctant adaptation," followed by a shiftto monitoring compliance and verification of Iran's remaining nuclear facilities. This is because Israel values its close relationship with the U.S., she said, and is unlikely to jeopardize that partnership even in the case of a deal with Iran.

Kaye urged policymakers to avoid legislation that does not permit members of Congress to be both pro-deal and pro-Israel, emphasizing her belief that a deal could indeed advance U.S. interests and placate U.S. allies.

Saudi Arabia, another traditional ally of the United States, also would be affected by a nuclear deal with Iran. According to Martini, the Saudi government does not "compartmentalize" the issue the way policymakers tend to do in the U. …

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