During a recent Senate hearing, the White House Iran envoy, Robert Malley, offered a dismal view of the prospects for a nuclear agreement with the Islamic Republic, claiming that the administration is “fully prepared to live with and confront the reality” of not reaching a deal. Then, yesterday, Tehran announced it was shutting off the cameras used by nuclear inspectors at its uranium-enrichment sites, meaning that there are now no remaining checks on its path to a bomb. Eric Edelman and Charles Wald argue that the administration should immediately abandon negotiations and adopt a new plan to curb Iranian aggression, rather than allow the mullahs to draw out talks indefinitely.
Foremost, this means supporting Israel’s freedom of action, [as it has] borne the heaviest burdens of holding the line against Tehran. The United States should swiftly transfer key weaponry for which Israel already is arranging procurement, including KC-46A refueling tankers, additional F-35 aircraft, precision-guided munitions, and missile defenses.
Building on strategic opportunities created by the Abraham Accords, the Biden administration should find ways to incorporate Israel’s highly capable forces into U.S.-led joint military exercises, operations, and maritime-security task forces with its Arab partners. Additionally, serious efforts are urgently needed to build an effective region-wide air defense and shared early-warning system to counter Iran’s alarming advances in missiles and armed drones. The United States should also explore ways to facilitate the transfer of Israel’s world-class air-defense systems to the Gulf.
A potential Middle East summit next month, when the president visits Israel, offers the perfect opportunity to announce formally this strengthened U.S. approach . . . and to mend diplomatic fences with Riyadh and Abu Dhabi. Both of these vital partners have been deeply alarmed by the persistence of Plan A and have begun hedging toward some combination of China, Russia, and Iran.