Israel Remains Suspicious As Iran Nuclear Talks Stall

Experts say Israel is right to be wary

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Debbie Hill / Xinhua Press / Corbis

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to the press following his meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry at Ben-Gurion airport near Tel Aviv, Nov. 8, 2013.

It’s an extremely technical business, negotiating a nuclear agreement. But in the case of the talks in Geneva last week over the Iranian program, a helpful level of understanding can be had simply by seeing who goes where. The easiest way to tell that Tehran and world powers were close to at least an interim accord over the weekend was seeing who showed up unexpectedly in Geneva:  U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry broke off a trip to northern Africa to swoop in, joining European diplomats of the rank appropriate for signing such a document, should one be agreed upon.

And when it became clear there was nothing to sign there was more rapid and unscheduled travel: Kerry’s chief negotiator, Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman, went immediately from Geneva to Jerusalem, to brief not only government officials and but Israeli experts and columnists gathered at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem. Israel has no seat at the negotiations, but it played a huge role in bringing them about by threatening airstrikes – and it’s playing a pivotal role in how the talks are perceived elsewhere, including the U.S. Congress.

The message from the Obama administration after the talks was that Washington was not out-toughed by France in the negotiations, as initial reports from Geneva had it. “France and other countries came with new ideas, but on Saturday we were united on the wording of the agreement,” a senior American official was quoted as telling the Israeli press. “We placed a tough deal on the table and the Iranians were the ones who didn’t take it. I hope the Iranians don’t miss it. But in any event we are in no hurry.”

(MORENetanyahu Complicates Obama’s Iran Effort)

In Israel, skepticism toward an interim deal with Iran reaches beyond Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuPolls show Israeli Jews overwhelmingly fear Iran’s leaders will do what they did in 2005, the last time they signed a pact with the West halting their nuclear program – use the time-out to advance their knowledge of the nuclear processes, then resume a project that critics fear will produce a nuclear weapon. But Netanyahu has been so strident on the point for so long that many commentators say he’s seen as the boy who cried wolf. “A prime minister who deserves credit for internationalizing the Iranian issue and turning it into a top priority on the global agenda, is now paying the price for the Israelization of the Iranian issue,” Alon Pinchas, a former Israeli consul to New York, writes in Monday’s Yedioth Ahronoth, Israel’s largest-selling newspaper. Pinchas chides Netanyahu for “constant threats that have lost credibility” and condemning a proposed interim agreement as “the deal of the century” for Iran before its terms had been negotiated.

But even if Netanyahu has worn out his welcome, some of the West’s leading experts on nuclear proliferation are making much the same case, and Israel’s most effective media advocacy organization has been lining them up for conference calls with journalists for weeks. The Israel Project is a non-profit funded by private sources but committed to putting forward Israel’s position in the region. And on Oct. 28, it found a friend in Olli Heinonen, a former deputy director of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency, now at Harvard.

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Heinonen, who speaks with a Finnish accent and a bureaucrat’s caution, was blunt on the danger posed by the stockpiles of uranium Iran has enriched beyond the 3 percent “low enrichment” required to fuel a nuclear reactor to the 20 percent “medium” level ostensibly necessary for research. “Medium” has a half-way sound but because so much of the heavy lifting in the nuclear cycle precedes the spinning of centrifuges, 20percent actually is most of the way to the “heavily enriched” 90 percent level required to fuel a nuclear weapon. “If you already have 20 percent enriched uranium, actually you have done 90 percent of your work,” Heinonen said. He adds that the same formulations apply to uranium technically dubbed low-enriched, “which is why I understand the concerns of Prime Minister Netanyahu.” Iran has almost 7 metric tons of that material, and “you have done something like 60 percent of the effort you have to do to produce weapons grade uranium.”

Why all this matters was explained in another Israel Project conference call to international reporters on Nov. 7.  David Albright, an American former IAEA inspector, runs the Institute for Science and International Security, the Washington think tank that does the most-quoted independent research on Iran’s nuclear program. Recently, it estimated how long Iran would need to do what much of the world most fears – cast aside its consistent claims that its nuclear program is meant for peaceful means, and make a dash for a bomb. The amount of time it needs, Albright noted, depends on how much enriched uranium it has on hand, and how many centrifuges it has available to spin the uranium to higher, more dangerous levels. With current stores and no “cap” imposed by an interim agreement on the number of centrifuges it could use, Tehran might create a bomb in as little as a  month, the ISIS study concluded.  That month becomes the window for the outside world – including IAEA inspectors, if Iran hasn’t kicked them out by then – to detect what’s going on, and mount a response, such as the “military option” that President Obama continues to say is “on the table.”

(MOREIran Deputy Minister Assassinated in Tehran)

Albright said Iran’s leadership team on the nuclear issue, President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, “is very good on making promises – enticements – but has not been so good about delivering,” Albright told the reporters on the Nov. 7 call. “And it happened in ‘05 the same way: Lots of promises, but in the end Iran wants a centrifuge program that is essentially uncapped.  They’ll trade that for some transparency, but it’s never viewed as enough … and so you never get a settlement.”

Still, Tehran did manage to produce a bit of encouraging news on Monday. The two sides parted ways in Geneva with another key sticking point unresolved –  the future of the heavy water reactor under construction at Arak, which presents Iran with a possible second route to a bomb. But Tehran did reach an agreement with the IAEA to give UN inspectors “managed access” to the plant, as well as to a uranium mine.

17 comments
andyacademia
andyacademia

From the beginning, the Iranian regime has broken every international rule and flouted every norm. It has seized embassies, targeted diplomats and sent its own children through mine fields. It hangs gays and stones women. It has violated every Security Council resolution calling them to stop enrichment. It supports Assad's brutal slaughter of the Syrian people. Iran is the world's foremost sponsor of terror. It sponsors Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza and terrorists throughout the Middle East, Africa, and South America. Iran's proxies have dispatched hundreds of suicide bombers, planted thousands of roadside bombs, and fired over twenty thousand missiles at civilians. Iranian terror tried to kill or actually killed innocent civilians in Buenos Aires, Beirut, Berlin, France, Switzerland, Thailand, Georgia, India, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Nepal, Azerbaijan, Kenya, Nigeria, Greece, Turkey, South Africa, Canada and many others (at least 24 countries in five continents in the last three years alone). Through terror from the skies and terror on the ground, Iran is responsible for the murder of hundreds, if not thousands, of Americans. In 1983, Iran's proxy Hezbollah blew up the Marine barracks in Lebanon, killing 240 American servicemen. In the last decade, its been responsible for murdering and maiming American soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq. Iran accuses the American government of orchestrating 9/11, and it denies the Holocaust. Iran brazenly calls for Israel's destruction, and they work for its destruction - each day, every day. They have ambitions for regional and global domination in order to expand the Islamic revolution, as their own constitution proclaims. This is how Iran behaves today, without nuclear weapons. Think of how they will behave tomorrow, with nuclear weapons. Iran will be even more reckless and far more dangerous. Responsible leaders should not bet the security of their countries on the belief that the world's most dangerous regime won't use the world's most dangerous weapons. Such an Islamofascist teocratic dictatorial regime must not have nuclear weapons.

It's not "simply" the danger of the ayatollahs using their future nuclear bombs to erase Israel from the map or attacking US soil with long-range missiles. A nuclear arsenal means that the Iranian theocratic regime will never be toppled internally or externally (immune as North Korea), it will be able to blackmail half of the world (including Europe), to threaten its neighbors (countries such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates or Egypt already announced that they will begin their own nuclear race if the Iranians obtain the bomb), to promote terrorism with impunity on a global scale (perhaps to deliver non-conventional weapons to terrorist groups), to prevent Israel from defending itself against aggressions by Hezbollah or Islamic Jihad (logically, the dream of all Israel haters)... Besides a conventional war in a region so inclined to armed conflicts could easily derive into a nuclear Apocalypse if the ayatollahs had the bomb. An effective policy to contain or dissuade a nuclear armed Iran would be impossible... is the world capable of containing a non-nuclear Iran right now? Bazinga! Then how do you think the world will be able to contain a nuclear armed Iran tomorrow? You people talk too much about the cost of stopping Iran, but you deliberately ignore the cost of not stopping Iran while there is time. 

andyacademia
andyacademia

It is scary to watch the implementation of Obama’s shameful appeasement policies towards Iran. You just need to have read Churchill’s The Gathering Storm to see how eerily similar the arguments were then as they are now. But then, Obama returned Churchill’s bust to Britain so the probability that he read the book is almost nil.

This is really becoming the case of the frog in warm/hot water. Every few weeks between rounds of nuclear talks the temperature goes up a few degrees. The time has come to jump out of the water or get boiled i.e. incinerated in a nuclear war. The only country which will jump out of the water will be Israel.

How is it that the rest of the world does not see what Israel sees? How come they do not see that they too will be the target of a nuclear-armed Iran? How come the Europeans, especially the Brits, seem to have forgotten their own history of appeasement and where it brought them to in the 1930s? Why are so many people indifferent to the absurd appeasement policies of their governments, policies which will impact their lives… and worse, get them killed?

The answer, of course, is in what Churchill called the confirmed unteachability of mankind. “Want of foresight, unwillingness to act when action would be simple and effective, lack of clear thinking, confusion of counsel until the emergency comes, until self-preservation strikes its jarring gong “

Israel is different. Israel has been the front line on the bloody borders of Islam, both Sunni and Shi'a, in the clash of civilizations, for some time now. Most Israelis have not read Samuel Huntington, Bernard Lewis, nor Winston Churchill. Their insight is purely empirical. But it makes them see where others are blind.

That is why Israel’s message to the world is - we are not going to get killed because of your stupidity and indifference. We won't be the new Czechoslovakia, sacrificed to appease the beast. We will act. We have no other choice except the choice to defend ourselves or be incinerated.

Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are Sunni, Iran is Shi’a and the Shi’a, especially the Twelvers, have an eschatology which the Sunnis do not. May I suggest you read Bernard Lewis’s The Assassins.

North Korea is communist. Communist do not believe in an afterlife and therefore they are not suicidal. Just like the communist in the USSR used to be. The privileged party members in the USSR, the so-called priviligentsia, would not dream of sacrificing themselves. They had their closed shops, hospitals and pharmacies, access to foreign media and, most coveted of all, access abroad. They enjoyed their privileges. The Iranian mullahs are no Bolsheviks., neither are they like North Koreans.

Reza Kahlili, who as a CIA spy spent 10 years among the Iranian Revolutionary Guards wrote this:

"Once they get the nuclear bomb, and they have the nuclear capability, and anybody can determine this because they are running multiple convert operations, parallel projects of nuclear bomb and missile delivery systems. It is a parallel project for one purpose, and I can argue both sides of the coin, but my belief is that. This is a messianic regime, there should be no doubts, they will commit the most horrendous suicide bombing in human history. They will attack Israel, European capitals and Persian Gulf region at the same time, then they will hide in a bunker waiting for Mahdi to get out of that well, ride the white horse, draw that sword and kill the rest of the nonbelievers."

Because Israel attacked the nuclear reactor of Osirak in 1981, the world didn't have to face a nuclear armed Saddam Hussein during the First Gulf War. The danger presented today by the presence of Syrian chemical and biological weapons is bad enough... so thank Heaven (and Israel) that Syria's Assad doesn't have also nukes – which almost happened in 2007, until Israel allegedly carried out an airstrike against the al-Kibar nuclear facility that effectively ended the Syrian nuclear program.

Israel must protect itself and the world from a nuclear armed Iran

FreonSandoz
FreonSandoz

Israel will always be "suspicious." Iran opposes Israel's existence, so Israel will never favor any agreement unless it curtails Iran's power and influence in the region. We need a deal that is in the best interest of all nations, not just Israel.

ollirtsac.c
ollirtsac.c

There we go again with Israel been the peace spoiler. Israel likes to maintain the status quo to maintain the US on their side at all cost and to pay for their military powerhouse. The one fool in all this is the US taxpayer that foots Israel's bill for housing relocation, armament superiority and to makes our country in the eye of the world as an hypocrite by been blind to their nuclear  weapons.

elle909
elle909

Even Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov presented an unusually low profile in Geneva, abstaining from words of support for the American position. Speaking on condition of anonymity, members of the Russian delegation agreed that the deal on the table was a bad one.

Heizzzenberg
Heizzzenberg

And when exactly does Israel plan to disclose their own nuclear stockpile as required my international law? What are those cricket noises....ahhhh I see...everyone needs to follow the rules except you... ahhh ok... Goooooo F yourselves.

paulgeorges
paulgeorges

Iran will be the next nuclear power,China the first economic power and USA less trustable by her allies .

Vinayprasad
Vinayprasad

If the Israelis and the western thugs impose more and more problems on Iran, Iran will most likely throw all international treaties out of the window and head straight for the bomb. The thugs should realise this and come to some compromise.

Icansee4miles
Icansee4miles

See if this feels familiar, as spoken by the Grand Ayatollah in Amazon Kindle's new thriller The Bahrain Protocol, "Continue to ask for negotiations; invite the U.S. and European nations to the talks; sow dissention and split them from each other." "The bomb is almost ready; lengthy negotiations will give us time to complete and test it."


Iran's nuclear plans are about to come to fruition, and Israel's Jews will not live under the threat of being 15 minutes away from a Nuclear Holocaust. They will do something about it-in partnership with its former nemesis Saudi Arabia. And by the way, the U.S. will be dragged into it, kicking and screaming. 

Wish for the best, but prepare for the worst-read about the coming war in Amazon Kindle's prescient new thriller - The Bahrain Protocol.

Vinayprasad
Vinayprasad

@andyacademia Forget about Israel protecting itself. With the number of atom bombs Israel possesses, it can evaporate all of Middle East and Europe and possibly more. Unless those bombs are scourged out of Israel, we gonna have more and more problems in life.

andyacademia
andyacademia

@FreonSandoz This is a bad deal. Iran doesn't give away a single centrifuge. And a nuclear armed Iran is not good for America, Europe, the Arabs and even Russia and China.

andyacademia
andyacademia

@ollirtsac.c

Don't worry Mr Hussein Patriot, Israel fights its own wars (unlike other allies of "your" country). Iran and its proxies killed many Americans in Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan while chanting "Death to America" in the streets of Tehran. But I guess you don't care all that, so I'll tell you something about Israel. 3 billion dollars of US aid per year in a country of 8 million people doesn't make anyone a millionaire. Israel's GDP is around 280 billion dollars. Besides, most of such US aid has to be destined to pay for US military equipment. But don't worry, you don't do it because you are kind or because a mysterious lobby forced you to do so. It's because the alliance with Israel is functional for American interests. Not to mention the White House pressures Israel to make suicidal concessions to the Fakestinians time and again.
BTW, USA gives a lot of money to its own enemies, including Egypt, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, etc.

How American taxpayers are funding Palestinian terrorism

An investigative journalist details the Palestinian Authority’s routine

diversion of financial aid to pay generous salaries to murderers

EDWIN BLACK

Times Of Israel

---- "Here’s how the system works. When a Palestinian is convicted of an act of terror against the Israeli government or innocent civilians, such as a bombing or a murder, that convicted terrorist automatically receives a generous salary from the Palestinian Authority. The salary is specified by the Palestinian Law of the Prisoner and administered by the PA’s Ministry of Prisoner Affairs. A Palestinian watchdog group, the Prisoners Club, ensures the PA’s compliance with the law and pushes for payments as a prioritized expenditure. This means that even during frequent budget shortfalls and financial crisis, the PA pays the terrorists’ salaries first and foremost — before other fiscal obligations."----

andyacademia
andyacademia

@Heizzzenberg

Israel has nuclear weapons to survive, because there are 6 million Jews inside a country smaller than New Jersey surrounded by 400 million Arabs and 1.6 billion Muslims, many of whom swore to exterminate the Jewish state. So to compensate the enormous geographic, economic and demographic disadvantages, the Israelis got nuclear weapons. However, Israel never used them nor asked for the obliteration of an entire country (unlike Iran). The problem is not simply the weapon itself, but who possesses it.

Liberal democracies in possession of nuclear weapons have never been a problem. The real concern is having nuclear weapons in the hands of rogue nations who suppress freedom and human rights and seek to dominate, export radical theology, and threaten the well being of other nations. During the cold war, the notion of mutually assured destruction (MAD) maintained a tense stalemate between the U.S. and the Soviet Union for 44 years until a failed economic system eventually brought about its dissolution. For Iran, MAD is not only not a deterrent to nuclear war, but it is rather an inducement that will enable the realization of Islamic eschatology, or "End Times" theology.

In conclusion, the simple answer is, Israel doesn't want to destroy Iran but Iran wants to destroy Israel. So preventing Iran from getting nuclear weapons is actually helpful to Iran, because Iran might try to nuke Israel and get nuked as a result.

Ryanhaaa
Ryanhaaa

@andyacademia @paulgeorges 


Just ask Dagan ,  yuval diskin,  or Dan alutz,  " IF " israel can stop iran by itself

what u call international community is basicly the West and their arabs puppet in saudia and bahrain.... the 150 others don't give a damn about a nuclear iran.

Iran has nuclear capability already, and nukes if they want it, ABND even military action do nothing  but a mere delay !