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Letters: Netanyahu's stance on Iran

November 24, 2013

Re "Why Netanyahu won't yield," Opinion, Nov. 21

No one doubts Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's commitment to Israel's security. But now that Iran has responded to sanctions by expressing a willingness to negotiate on the status of its nuclear program, apparently that's not enough for the Israeli government.

Rather than cautiously embrace the opportunity to negotiate, Netanyahu advocates applying even more pressure, which he mistakenly believes will compel Iran to abandon its nuclear program.

In reality, tightening sanctions will cause Iran to withdraw from the negotiations, diminishing the possibility of a diplomatic solution and increasing the likelihood of a military confrontation.

This is not a strategy that will benefit Israel in the long term. Israel's security concerns are better served through diplomatic initiatives. Negotiating a verifiable and comprehensive agreement limiting Iran's nuclear capabilities to strictly peaceful projects offers a more enduring and reliable outcome than any preemptive military strike.

Andrew Spathis

Los Angeles

Former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren offers convincing justification for Netanyahu's opposition to negotiating with Iran — except the Israeli prime minister's toughest strategies can't stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

If Iran is prepared to persist with nuclear weapons development no matter how severe the U.S. economic sanctions, it need never allow the West to monitor or limit its programs. Israeli and U.S. military experts admit that a costly preventive strike on Iran would only defer its weapons development, not end it.

Our best option is to test Iran by proposing a step-by-step elimination of its nuclear program matched with parallel incremental withdrawal of our economic sanctions.

This would show Iran's hard-liners that any positive step results in reduced sanctions.

Howard Hurlbut

Redlands

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