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Former US presidential candidate: Iran deal harms Israel’s security interests.

By Missing Peace
A general view of the Arak heavy-water projectA general view of the Arak heavy-water project

EIPA, T.I.P. ,World Affairs and The Algemeiner contributed to this report

Six days after the Geneva agreement with the P5+1 on its nuclear program, Iran said it will keep up construction on the Arak heavy water plant, which, when operational, will produce plutonium that can be used in a nuclear bomb.

According to Iran’s Press TV, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who negotiated the deal with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, told the Majlis, the Iranian parliament : “The capacity at the Arak site is not going to increase. It means no new nuclear fuel will be produced and no new installations will be installed, but construction will continue there.”

As part of the Geneva deal, dubbed the “Joint Plan of Action” Iran “committed to no further advances of its activities at Arak and to halt progress on its plutonium track.”

The State Department acknowledged this week that the recently announced agreement widely described as freezing Iran’s nuclear program in fact permits Tehran to continue construction at its Arak complex.

State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki  clarified that the agreement actually permits certain categories of construction to continue. Her clarification came two days after Reuters conveyed expert analysis describing a “loophole” in the agreement, this one permitting Iran to build components for the Arak’s nuclear reactor as long as those components weren’t being physically made at the Arak facility itself. The clarification plus the “loophole” means that Iran would be permitted over the next six months to make progress both on its plutonium facility and on creating the parts that would eventually go into its plutonium reactor.

In exchange for Iran accepting to limit certain aspects of its nuclear activities during a period of six months during which the sides will negotiate a final agreement, the six world powers agreed to lift some of the existing sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Recognition

Zarif also said that his country’s enrichment activities at Natanz and Fordow facilities would continue, but at a range of 3.5 to 5 percent purity level, and that their capacities would not be expanded.
He insisted in reiterating statements made by Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani that “the deal reached in Geneva recognized Tehran’s nuclear rights, and shows the world powers that the agreement recognizes Iran’s right to enrichment.”

Catherine Ashton’s spokesman clarified that Iran’s “temporary rollback” of its nuclear activities has not yet begun. “The actual date for the beginning of the six-month period of the first step has yet to be decided,” the spokesman, Michael Mann, said.

“It will also depend on the outcome of technical discussions with Iran about the implementation arrangements that will take place soon,” he added.

According to a Western diplomat quoted by Agence France Presse, “the experts are going to be talking next week about how you translate that document (Sunday’s deal) into something which is more specific and practical…. The momentum behind this is really very strong. Everyone realizes we have a limited opportunity to get this right.”

Ya’acov Amidror

According to Yaacov Amidror, former head Israel’s National Security Council, in Geneva Iran made only “cosmetic” concessions “to preserve its primary goal, which is to continue enriching uranium.”
“Iran will not only get to keep its existing 18,000 centrifuges; it will also be allowed to continue developing the next generation of centrifuges, provided it does not install them in uranium-enrichment facilities. Which is to say: Its uranium-enrichment capability is no weaker.”

“The agreement represents a failure, not a triumph of diplomacy. With North Korea, too, there were talks and ceremonies and agreements — but then there was the bomb. This is not an outcome Israel could accept with Iran,” he wrote in The New York Times.

“The deal will only lead Iran to be more stubborn. Anyone who has conducted business or diplomatic negotiations knows that you don’t reduce the pressure on your opponent on the eve of negotiations. Yet that is essentially what happened in Geneva.”

According to him “There is no reason to think that the six powers will have more leverage in the future than they had before the Geneva agreement. On the contrary, they just gave that leverage away. After years of disingenuous negotiations, Iran is now just a few months away from a bomb.”

Meanwhile, the U.S. administration stepped up its battle Tuesday to thwart moves by lawmakers to tighten sanctions on Iran, warning that such an act would jeopardize tough negotiations on Tehran’s nuclear program, Agence France-Presse reported.

Secretary of State John Kerry videotaped a message to members of Congress warning against any new sanctions during the six-month period of talks laid down in this week’s deal.

“It does not lift the current architecture of our sanctions. Our sanctions are basically banking and oil sanctions and those sanctions will stay in place,” AFP quoted Kerry as saying in the video.

Bachmann

But not everybody in the US agrees with Kerry. A majority of the American public thinks the deal with Iran is a bad deal (49 %) according to a survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on November 25-26, 2013 by Rasmussen Reports.

House Intelligence Committee member Michelle Bachmann even said that Iran’s nuclear facilities “must be bombed.”

She added that the Geneva deal reached between Iran and world powers at the weekend will severely limit Israel’s ability to operate freely in the interests of its self defense.

The former presidential candidate framed the deal as a deliberate effort to harm Israel’s security interests.

She said, “That decision that was made by the P5+1 in Geneva had more to do with Israel than it had to do with Iran.”

“Because, you see, the decision that was made could be the biggest cudgel that our president, and that the nations of the world, could use to prevent Israel, the Jewish state of Israel, from defending not only herself, but her right to exist.”

Bachmann went on to paint a picture of a systemic effort on the part of the Obama Administration and others to undermine Israel’s ability to defend itself.

Citing a string of intelligence leaks, including one about a supposed time frame for an Israeli strike on Iran and another about Israel’s possible use of a base in Azerbaijan to launch a strike, Bachmann said that she “noticed, being on the the Intelligence Committee, that every one of these secrets served to undermine, and cut the legs out of Israel and her ability to be able to defend herself.”

“We started to see every three or four days, printed on the front page of the New York Times, secrets that less than 10 people in the United States knew,” she said, describing the broken secrets as the most “unprecedented intelligence leaks in the history of the United States.”

“Every intelligence leak put Israel in a more negative position than she had been in before,” Bachmann added.

US normalizes ties with Iran

Meanwhile the Lebanese news site Neharnet reported that the US and Iran will open a joint chamber of commerce.

Iran and the United States are to establish a joint chamber of
commerce within a month, with direct flights also planned, an Iranian
official said Wednesday [27 Nov.] in a newspaper report.

“Iran-U.S. chamber of commerce will be launched in less than one month,”
Abolfazl Hejazi, a member of Iran’s Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines
and Agriculture, told the English-language Iran Daily.

This news followed a report from the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Rai, that described statements by senior British diplomatic sources revealing that London has been facilitating secret indirect talks between the Obama administration and Hezbollah, a group that is designated as a terrorist organization under U.S. law.