During the first four months of the year, or so goes the assessment in Israel, the Obama administration will propose a pragmatic compromise to the Iranians in order to bring about an “end to the conflict” over the nuclear issue. The Americans have already made known that they intend to contact the Iranian government “absolutely one last time,” just as soon as President Barack Obama begins his second term in office. Intelligence sources in Israel share the assessment of political and diplomatic sources alike that the intensified sanctions imposed on Iran have had a staggering impact on the country’s economic and internal situation. As a result of this, the Iranians will respond to these overtures by showing greater readiness to enter into real negotiations than ever before.
The professional recommendation that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received from the Foreign Ministry this week was that he should not oppose these renewed contacts between the Americans, the West and Iran. This recommendation relies on the following principles: First of all, it is obvious that Israeli opposition to this new round of diplomatic talks will neither advance nor prevent them from happening and therefore cause much more harm than good, with Israel painted yet again in contrarian colors for urging and encouraging war against Iran. Yet another reason for Netanyahu to accept these recommendations stems from the recognition that Iran is starting to “think twice,” that sanctions work, and that they have a profound impact on the mood among the ayatollahs in general, and Ayatollah Khamenei in particular. According to some assessments, Iran is not far from recognizing that its nuclear efforts not only fail to contribute to the regime’s chances of survival. They could also be the direct cause of its downfall.