Jack Straw Pushes Normalization with Iran
January 21, 2014 • 1:54PM

Former British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw just returned from a parliamentary visit to Iran, wrote in the Jan. 16 Independent that the West must not blow the opportunity to normalize relations with Iran as it did back in 2003 during the Khatami presidency. Straw presented a very accurate profile of the internal dynamics in Iran, noting that there is a good deal of new construction and the population is strongly supporting the new government after the eight years of the Ahmadinejad presidency when sanctions were "crippling, corrupting and profitable" for those in charge.

Straw warned that if the West again sabotages talks with Iran, it will almost certainly drive Iran to successfully obtain a nuclear weapon. In contrast, a successful final status agreement with the P5+1 will open up tremendous trade expansion with the Islamic Republic and have a positive security impact on the entire region—including on Saudi Arabia and Israel. Straw pointedly discussed the split between the late Ariel Sharon and the current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the Gaza settlements and over relations with Iran. He observed that if Sharon were alive, he would appreciate the opportunity to improve Israeli security via a deal with Iran, but questions whether Netanyahu is capable of understanding.