Sep 9, 2014, 6:09 PM
News Code: 81306388
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Ex-CIA analyst views Israel as major obstacle to Iran nuclear deal

Berlin, Sep 9, IRNA -- Israel is a major obstacle to reaching a nuclear agreement between Iran and the West, former CIA analyst Randy McGovern said in an exclusive interview with IRNA in Berlin.

'The major obstacle to a deal may be described briefly as Israel. To the degree that Israel can exert the kind of influence that it has traditionally exerted, the deal is in danger,' McGovern said.

'The good news for those that like to see a kind of an arrangement is the fact that the Israelis have disgraced themselves with their attacks on Gaza and the continued building of settlements in the West Bank, even policymakers in Washington are outraged,' the political activist added.

McGovern said that Israel's brutal and inhuman policies in Gaza and the West Bank may finally convince US politicians 'to overcome their reluctance to offend Israel and just go ahead and make a sensible deal.'

Asked about excessive demands by the US in its negotiations over Iran's nuclear program, McGovern replied, 'Well this is part of the negotiation process. You have very hardliners in Washington who don't want a deal to happen. Every now and then, they will succeed in getting requirements into the negotiations that are in effect non-negotiable.'

'It all depends on President Obama whether he feels he has the strength to continue on the path he has set and not be diverted by people to whom he has to make a bow every now and then. It really depends on his determination to see this through and I think that chances are better than even that he will succeed in doing so,' he added.

McGovern pointed out that the US has finally started to negotiate 'seriously' with Iran on a nuclear accord, saying a final comprehensive nuclear deal was still possible.

'Obama has spent some capital already. So if there is flexibility on both sides, I see that there would be an agreement. I believe that the Iranians also have hardliners and it's got to be acceptable and digestible by those hardliners as well,' he said.

McGovern stressed that western sanctions against Iran were 'slowly crumbling.'

He urged European countries to take a lead role in lifting anti-Iran sanctions.

Meanwhile, McGovern called for US-Iranian cooperation in fighting Islamist extremism and terrorism in the Middle East.

'We find that US and Iranian interests are for the first time very close. Iran has enormous impact and influence in that part of the world. If the US is smart, they would bury the hatchet,' he said.

'They will say that Iranian interests are not necessarily diametrically opposed to US interests. The Israelis might see that way. But since when does the US have to be controlled by whatever the Israelis think or how might they criticize us or how might they give less money to our politicians?,' McGovern went on to say.

The ex-CIA official said there were still good prospects for normalized US-Iran ties, saying it was only a matter of will.'

'There are no insoluble problems between our two countries,' McGovern reiterated.