By Mick Krever, CNN
To the U.S. and Europe, renewed nuclear negotiations with Iran are a reason for cautious optimism.
For Israel, they may be a sign that the international communities is trying to “get Iran off the hook.”
That’s a according to Dore Gold, former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, who spoke with CNN’s Hala Gorani, in for Christiane Amanpour, on Wednesday.
“People forget this, but back in 2006, you had the beginning of six U.N. Security Council resolutions under Chapter Seven of the U.N. Charter that said Iran must suspend all uranium enrichment activity,” Gold said.
“We would expect that the international community would stick to those original concepts, those original resolutions,” he told Gorani, “and not start thinking about, well, how can we get Iran off the hook.”
Iran’s principal goals in negotiation are the removal of economic sanctions and an agreement that it can enrich uranium for civilian purposes, as allowed under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
Negotiations “are fine,” the former ambassador said, as long as diplomats “remember what our goals are.”
He listed those as ensuring Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program, that it halt uranium enrichment, and that it stop production of plutonium.
“We've already seen too many times where the West has been enchanted by negotiations with North Korea, signs an agreement, and then you have a nuclear test in two years,” Gold said. “Let’s not repeat that with Iran.”
He was echoing an argument presented by Prime Minister Benjamin Nethanyahu in his speech before the U.N. General Assembly last month.
“Now I know: Rouhani doesn’t sound like Ahmadinejad,” Netanyahu said. “But when it comes to Iran's nuclear weapons program, the only difference between them is this: Ahmadinejad was a wolf in wolf's clothing; Rouhani is a wolf in sheep's clothing.”
Obama, in his speech to the General Assembly, struck a much more open tone.
“I’ve made it clear in letters to the Supreme Leader in Iran and more recently to President Rouhani that America prefers to resolve our concerns over Iran’s nuclear program peacefully, although we are determined to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon,” Obama said. “We are not seeking regime change and we respect the right of the Iranian people to access peaceful nuclear energy.”
Gold took a hard line.
“We read the reports of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna like everybody else,” Gold said. “And it's really hard to believe that this is a civilian program when the IAEA reports say that the Iranians have been busy working on developing warheads for their Shahab Three missiles.”
Western negotiators have made clear that they will have to see a change in Iranian behavior, not just rhetoric, for a deal to be struck.
On that, the former Israeli ambassador agreed.
“We have got to see a change in Iranian behavior,” he told Gorani. “Iranian forces are still in Syria killing Sunni Arabs. Iranian forces are active in Iraq. And they're supplying an insurgency in Yemen.”
“All that has to come to an end for not only Israel to be reassured, but for Saudi Arabia, for the United Arab Emirates, for Bahrain and Jordan to also be assured.”