AIPAC’s Howard Kohr: Iran diplomacy needs continued pressure

This morning, on the opening day of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s 2014 Policy Conference, the group’s CEO made the case for being very skeptical of Iranian intentions and for ratcheting up U.S. pressure on Iran during negotiations.

“Across the table in Vienna today sit the representatives of a radical, revolutionary regime, ideological, unyielding, unapologetic to its very core,” Kohr said. “At least to this moment, there’s one thing Iran is not. From everything we know, Iran is not armed with nuclear weapons. And it must be kept that way.”

He said that AIPAC wants to see negotiations succeed and that the talks “may be our last best chance” to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue peacefully.

But he emphasized: “We support continued pressure on the Iranian regime during these negotiations because we stingily believe that negotiations with the threat of assured consequences is the surest way, the only way to diplomatic success. In other words, if you’re for diplomacy, if you’re for peace, you should also be strongly for pressure.”

Interestingly, while Kohr highlighted an ongoing history of Iranian belligerence and aggression toward the United States and Israel, he also suggested that the Iranian regime’s own sense of insecurity is at the core of its efforts to get a nuclear weapon.

“Iran’s leaders believe that a nuclear weapon is the guarantor of their regime’s survival, and staying in power is something they care more about than anything else,” he said.

He added: “Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons is a matter of vital pride and its own perception of its security.”

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