South Asia Center Senior Fellow Barbara Slavin interviews former National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley on Israel’s role in nuclear negotiations with Iran:
Stephen Hadley, national security adviser to President George W. Bush, said he’s optimistic that the United States and Iran can conclude a comprehensive nuclear deal and that Israel, which he recently visited, could grudgingly “choke down” an agreement that includes limited uranium enrichment and pushes back the possibility of an Iranian breakout to at least one year. In a wide-ranging interview with Al-Monitor on Monday, Feb. 10, Hadley said both the administration he served and the Obama team have made mistakes in Iraq but “the game is not lost … We need to get back in that game and I’m glad that the administration seems to be doing so.” Hadley also called for more training and weapons for “democratic” rebels in Syria, which he said would give Secretary of State John Kerry better leverage to negotiate a political solution to the Syrian civil war.
Excerpts from the interview follow:
Al-Monitor: What is your view of the interim agreement with Iran and are you optimistic we can get a comprehensive deal?
Hadley: There are real questions about whether we should have done an interim agreement at all and whether we should have used our leverage to go for a final agreement … But the administration made the judgment that it would take too long and they needed to have something that would build confidence and show constituencies in both countries that these discussions could produce. The initial agreement was better than a lot of people expected … [On a comprehensive deal] I am optimistic. Both sides have too much to lose if they don’t get an agreement. The difficulty will be in selling it to domestic critics.