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The only language Iran understands is sanctions

Whoever wins the U.S. election must remember that the role is about leading the free world—and the clock is running out on Iran’s nuclear program.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel meeting with Iran's President Hassan Rouhani at the United Nations on Sept. 24, 2019. Credit: Office of the Iranian President.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel meeting with Iran's President Hassan Rouhani at the United Nations on Sept. 24, 2019. Credit: Office of the Iranian President.
Danny Danon
Ambassador Danny Danon, chairman of World Likud, served as Israel’s 17th Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Minister of Science and Technology and Deputy Minister of Defense.

In a few days, when the result of the election that has enthralled the entire world is clear, the winner will begin discussing policy in earnest. Both candidates know the territory well. President Donald Trump finished an exciting four years during which he promoted Middle East peace agreements, reached out to North Korea for the first time and put together his own policy on Iran. For Joe Biden, the White House is familiar territory after decades in the Senate and eight years as vice president to Barack Obama.

In Iran, the ayatollah regime is looking at the democratic process unfolding before its eyes with astonishment. Some of them don’t understand how the biggest superpower in the world continues to grow and flourish when every four years, systems are upended in elections. Unlike its leadership, the Iranian public is asking itself when the day will come when they, too, will choose an authentic leadership that is obligated to the public and its needs.

The Iranians, who invented chess, are waiting to see the next move by the player who will face them after the election. Trump is leading a courageous policy of withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear agreement and applying major sanctions, and recently talked about the possibility of direct talks with Iran.

Biden has talked about the Iranian issue many times and expressed his commitment to preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. Close associates of his are saying that it’s possible he might rejoin the 2015 nuclear deal and fix its flaws.

The U.S. Department of Defense is busy preparing for possible courses of action against Iran’s race to nuclearize. Before the winner of the election is briefed on Iran, he must take into account a number of fundamentals.

First, there is no learning period. The Iranians don’t operate according to the U.S. election schedule. While the United States turned its attention to the fight against COVID-19 and the Iranian presidential elections, the Iranian nuclear industry went on, as did their attempts to hide it and dupe the world.

Second, any deal with Iran is liable to be violated. Before the 2015 agreement was signed, Israel took a stance warning against it. Today, after the exposure of the Iranian nuclear archive that lifted the veil on Tehran’s industry of lies; after the unequivocal decision by the International Atomic Energy Agency and after a few decisions by the U.N. Security Council, it is obvious to everyone that Iran is violating the deal.

Third, the only language that leads to true dialogue with Iran is sanctions. Only effective economic pressure motivates the Iranian leadership to recalculate its course. The more time that passes, with the clock ticking, we get closer to the day when the limitations on Iran’s nuclear program end.

Mr. President-elect: The election isn’t only about the U.S. presidency but the leadership of the free world, and in that role, the Iranian issue must be handled as a top priority.

Danny Danon is Israel’s former ambassador to the United Nations.

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.

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