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Israel: Nuclear Deal Is Capitulation To Iranian Dictates

By Missing Peace

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On Thursday evening, news broke that six world powers reached a framework agreement with Iran that is supposed to curtail its nuclear program. The Times of Israel reported that under the deal, the giant underground enrichment site at Fordo – which Israeli and American officials fear is impervious to bombing – will be partly converted to advanced nuclear research and the production of medical isotopes.

There are a few problems with this interpretation of the deal.

President Obama was saying as late as 2012: “We know they don’t need to have an underground, fortified facility like Fordo in order to have a peaceful program.”

The Iranians simply said no. So the Americans caved in and said that they could keep it open as a research facility–but they had to remove all the centrifuges for storage.

The compromise was the brainchild of Robert Einhorn from Brookings – a top State nonproliferation official stretching back to the Clinton era – and there was a lot of talk of Iranian flexibility when they accepted it. Then this week, it emerged that, in fact, the Iranians would be allowed to keep centrifuges spinning inside the mountain.

But instead of spinning uranium, the centrifuges would be spinning germanium or similar non-nuclear elements. That’s the administration’s talking point: that there will not be any “enrichment” going on at Fordow. The claim is – bluntly – false. Centrifuges spin isotopes into lighter and heavier elements, thereby “enriching” the material. That’s what they do. In fact, that’s all they do.

This isn’t a minor point. The concession has the potential to gut the whole deal for two reasons:

  1. The deal allows N-generation centrifuge R&D beyond the reach of the West- since the process is the same process, Iran will have a hardened facility where it will be able to research and develop N-generation centrifuges. Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif bragged from the stage in Lausanne that Iranian R&D on centrifuges will continue on IR-4s, IR-5s, IR-6s, and IR-8s centrifuges–and that the pace of research will be tied to Iranian scientific progress. The development of advanced centrifuges would give the Iranians a leg up if they decide to break out, and it will put them instantly within a screw’s turn of a nuke when the deal expires.
  2. The deal leaves Iranian nuclear infrastructure running beyond the reach of the West. If the Iranians kick out inspectors and dare the world to respond, the West will have zero way to intervene. The Iranians will have a head start on enrichment–and a place to do it beyond the reach of Western weapons. The administration’s early pushback has been that the breakout time will still be a year, so they could, in theory, reimpose sanctions–but it takes more than a year for sanctions to take an economic toll. So, there are zero options to stop a breakout.

Another problem with the deal is the inspections. Obama bragged about the toughness of the inspection regime during his press conference on Thursday.

“As the best defense against a covert Iranian bid for the bomb, it would be subjected to unprecedented inspection. If Iran cheats, the world will know it,” Obama said. “If we see something suspicious, we will inspect it.”

Well, Iran has a long history of cheating on its nuclear program; and the world didn’t know about it or ignored Israeli information about Iran’s secret nuclear activities.

Here are a few examples of Iran’s cheating history:

Israel first received reports about an Iranian nuclear program in May 1992, and Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin tried to warn the Clinton Administration. The CIA, however, maintained that the Iranian program was civilian rather than military, an assessment the agency did not abandon until 1998.

In 2003, a man went to visit IAEA deputy head Olli Heinonen at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna. Heinonen did not want to reveal his source, but said that the man told him that Iran was building a replica of its existing uranium enrichment site near the city of Qom. The informant also said Iran was replicating its heavy-water plant in Arak, which is capable of producing plutonium. The first claim was verified, but the second has not been — yet.

Heinonen also said that as early as 1993-94, the IAEA had learned that China had secretly sent two tons of uranium to Iran and that inspectors found suspicious laboratories, but still said everything was okay. The agency, he said, said nothing for three years.

Negotiations with Iran aimed at convincing the Iranians to halt their nuclear program began in 2003. Hassan Rowhani, the man who headed talks with Britain, France, and Germany until 2005, told a meeting of Islamic clerics and academics that Iran played for time and tried to dupe the West after its secret nuclear program was uncovered by the Iranian opposition in 2002. He revealed that while talks were taking place in Teheran, Iran completed the installation of equipment for conversion of yellowcake at its Isfahan plant. Rowhani also said that on at least two occasions, the IAEA obtained information on secret nuclear-related experiments from academic papers published by scientists involved in the work.

At this time, Iran also stepped up the pace of its weapons program by secretly enlarging the uranium enrichment plant at the Natanz site. A U.S. intelligence report also indicated that Iran’s facilities appeared to replicate those used to produce fissile material for nuclear weapons in Pakistan. Furthermore, Iran reportedly reached an agreement with North Korea to share with Teheran’s nuclear scientists all the data the Koreans received from their nuclear test in October 2006.

So is it a good deal?

Obama thinks so. He even called it a historic deal. Secretary of State John Kerry acknowledged that Iran is destabilizing the region but argued that precisely because Iran is doing so, the world will be a safer place with this deal.

Government officials in Jerusalem beg to differ; they slammed the framework as “ a capitulation to Iranian dictates and called it a bad framework that will lead to a bad and dangerous agreement. If finalized it would make the world far more dangerous.”

Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz said in a statement after the announcements in Switzerland: “The smiles in Lausanne are detached from wretched reality in which Iran refuses to make any concessions on the nuclear issue and continues to threaten Israel and all other countries in the Middle East. We will continue with our efforts to explain and persuade the world in hopes of preventing a bad (final) agreement.”

Social media in Israel circulated this evening a photoshopped picture depicting President Obama as Neville Chamberlain after he signed an agreement with Adolf Hitler and declared upon his arrival in London that there would “be peace in our time.”

Obama as Chamberlain

Omri Ceren contributed to this report from Lausanne, Switzerland.

This article was first published at Western Journalism. com