For the First Time, the Middle East Speaks as One. Let's Listen | Opinion

"The Iranian supreme leader makes Hitler look good." Iran spreads "havoc and destruction" in the Middle East. We are "collectively in agreement with any threat" from Iran. "What we see is a consistent pattern of Iranian lies, deception and violations."

Four quotes—one from the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, one from the Saudi foreign minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan, one from the Emirati minister for foreign affairs, Dr. Anwar Gargas, and only one from Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. Who said which? One would struggle to attribute these quotes. Why? Because for the first time in the history of the Middle East, the region speaks with one voice—a voice that now demands to be heard.

What is being said is not new. Back in 2009, when Senator George Mitchell, President Obama's special envoy to the Middle East, returned from his first trip to the region, he said he was surprised to hear the word "Iran" quietly mentioned by officials in every capital. What is new is that the voices are now speaking publicly, and not merely behind closed doors.

Until now, many Arab nations have been apprehensive to rock the boat; but with the increased impact of the Abraham Accords, the recent normalization agreements between Israel and the Islamic world, many countries in the region have been emboldened. These countries are lining up to jointly confront the common threats of the future together. They are recognizing that Israel is not their enemy. In fact, Israel has become a close ally and friend. The real and imminent danger? Iran. Today, more countries than ever in the Arab world are calling for a stop to the frightening prospect of a nuclear Iran.

Why now? Most obvious, the prevention of Iran from acquiring nuclear capabilities and limiting its regional terrorist aggression is in the interest of all its neighbors, who would be the first to bear the direct brunt. Second, an Iran with nuclear capability would use that power to increase terrorist activity in the region and undermine the weaker Arab states. No one wants to be on the receiving end of a fanatical nuclear Iran. Finally, should Iran achieve nuclear status, many are concerned that even if Iran does not initially make use of its weapons, it would set off an arms race in an already-unstable region.

As many will testify, it is not common to hear Arab and Israeli voices publicly united and aligned. We must now use the recent successes of the Abraham Accords, as well as of the joint fears of the region, to move forward and further strengthen regional peace, stability and security. I would suggest considering two main points.

First, and most important, we must utilize the energy and partnerships that now dominate the region. We must nourish the region's growing "Peace Club" and the moderate forces in the region, rather than support extremism in any form. Second, I would suggest that the "maximum pressure" campaign of the former administration was effective and served to limit Iran's capabilities in the region, especially with respect to terrorism.

Signing of the Abraham Accords at the
Signing of the Abraham Accords at the White House, September 2020 SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

Recently, when questioned on Iran, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that it's "vitally important that we engage...with our allies and with our partners in the region to include Israel and to include the Gulf countries." He added that "we would then have to evaluate whether they [Iran] were actually making good. ...I think, frankly, that we are a long way from that". We are also hearing officials express opposition to Iran obtaining a nuclear bomb, in addition to the regime's escalating enrichment of uranium and its attempt to build out its ballistic missile program.

This commitment from the Biden administration to consult the region's states and not re-engage immediately is welcome news, especially as Iran was in clear breach of the original 2015 nuclear deal from the very start. Iran's enrichment of uranium rose from over 4.5 percent to 20 percent. This is not far off weapons-grade levels of 90 percent. We must not ignore the deceit and constant material breaches of the Iranian regime, as many did in the aftermath of the 2015 nuclear deal. We must not appease a destructive and extremist regime. Any effort to return to the dangerous and insufficient Iran nuclear deal, especially without any negotiations or preconditions, will only push the region's countries closer together and further away from both Iran and the U.S.

This week, we mark the 40th anniversary of the release of the American embassy hostages in Tehran, after hundreds stormed the building and held Americans captive for 444 days. This year serves as a reminder that while the region has moved on, Iran has not. It has been clear in its aims of regional hegemony, and has progressed with the creation of a land bridge from Tehran to the Mediterranean as it continues to pursue its revolutionary agenda.

Recently, President Biden spoke about a "Summit for Democracy" with the U.S. at its helm. This is similar to the 2009 summit, held in tandem with the U.S. and the UN Security Council, where the focus was on the prevention of nuclear weaponry. The U.S. can, and should, give the nuclear Iran issue the priority and visibility it requires. It must also send a clear and consistent message to Tehran that breaches are unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Before any strategies are reviewed and any actions taken, it is crucial to open dialogue with Israel and its Arab peace partners.

We must acknowledge that the Middle East of 2021 is not that of 2015. Together, we must encourage the moderate and reforming Arab nations. It would be wise to continue to strategically cooperate with them with increased and appealing trade deals and heightened tourism. Together, we must ensure that we do not persist in repeating past mistakes that strengthen and legitimize militant, uncompromising regimes that only serve to wreak havoc upon regional and global affairs.

Ambassador Danny Danon served as Israel's 17th permanent representative to the United Nations, minister of science and technology, and deputy minister of defense. He is currently chairman of the World Likud.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.