In his address to the new 20th Knesset, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu once again warned against the emerging nuclear deal with Iran.
Here’s what Netanyahu said:
The greatest threat to our security and our future was and remains Iran’s effort to arm itself with nuclear weapons. The agreement being formulated in Lausanne paves the way to this outcome. It seems that it will leave in Iran’s possession underground installations, the nuclear reactor at Arak and advanced centrifuges, the same things that only a few months ago we were told – and rightly so – were not essential to a nuclear program designed for peaceful purposes.
Iran’s breakout time for achieving fissile material for nuclear bombs will not be measured in years, as was said at the outset; in our assessment the time has been reduced to less than a year, probably much less. And all of this is before taking into account the ballistic missiles that Iran is continuing to manufacture, the ongoing development of advanced centrifuges, Iran’s obdurate refusal to reveal to the IAEA its activities to develop nuclear weapons and, I add, Iran’s campaign of conquest and terrorism – which is open to all, everyone sees it, before our very eyes – from the Golan Heights to Yemen, from Iraq to Gaza and so many other places.
Ed Royce’ concerns
Netanyahu’s concerns were shared by the Chairman of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee, Ed Royce, and by the former deputy director-general of the International Atomic Energie Agency (IAEA), Olli Heinonen.
Advertisement – story continues below
Royce was interviewed by the New York Times and leveled heavy criticism against Obama for retreating on key demands in the negotiations with Iran in Switzerland.
“The shipping out of Iran’s uranium stockpile was to be the key administration win in this agreement,” Mr. Royce said.
“It was presumed they were going to win on that point because they were giving in on every other point.
Advertisement - story continues below
“Now,” he added, “it looks like that rationale is being tossed out the window.”
U.S. officials in Lausanne insisted Monday they were still negotiating the shipping out of Iran’s uranium to Russia, despite Iranian statements to the contrary.
“The administration is probably surprised,” Royce said of the latest development. “They could give on the other points if they won on the main one. Now, it appears to Congress and our allies in the region that Iran is in control, and they’re setting the terms. That’s why members of Congress are pulling their hair out.
Advertisement - story continues below
“The agreement looks more troubling by the hour,” Royce concluded.
Olli Heinonen worries
Olli Heinonen, the former Deputy Director General of IAEA, told Western Journalism from Lausanne that the proposed deal falls short of the administration’s one year breakout time goal. “When I look at the parameters which I know, it looks to me that if there are 6,500 centrifuges remaining, installed, and in operation – it might be difficult to get it to one year or longer, the breakout time. It will be clearly below. And then we have to add all the uncertainties, the unknowns,” Heinonen said.
Reacting to the revelation last week that the administration was willing to let Iran put off fully disclosing its nuclear program until after sanctions relief had been granted, Heinonen said:
Advertisement - story continues below
“You are more or less fencing one hand behind your back and it might be difficult to find the proper places and detect them early enough. It is important to get to those locations and have them subject to the monitoring. Anything less, I don’t think this monitoring scheme will be successful in the longer term.
“The IAEA has not been able yet to verify the completeness of Iran’s declaration,” Heinonen said, “So we don’t know at this point of time whether all the uranium which is in Iran is really subject to IAEA verification.
“Same is with the enrichment program. They have produced a lot of centrifuges. Are these all the centrifuges installed and operating, which we see in Natanz?
“This, together with the military dimensions to understand what were the activities on high explosives, a missile reentry vehicle which Iran seems to have done. All these three items – nuclear material inventory, all the centrifuges, and this PMD – they form a baseline for future monitoring.
“Today’s anticipated announcement will be a very generic, very tentative agreement, and I think they will address a number of issues. But there need to be some additional elements, in my view. There needs to be a robust system for the cases of non-compliance if Iran doesn’t honor its undertakings there must be consequences,” Heinonen added.
New Iranian threats against Israel
While the six world powers were preparing to issue a statement agreeing to continue the nuclear negotiations, Israel radio reported that Mohammad Reza Nagdi, the commander of the Basij militia of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, had said that “erasing Israel from the map” is “nonnegotiable.”
A few hours later, Aviram Hasson, a colonel in the IDF, told the Israel Air and Missile Defense Conference in Herzliya Iran is converting Zilzal unguided rockets into accurate, guided M-600 projectiles by upgrading their warheads.
Hasson, who is in charge of missile defenses in the Defense Ministry, described Iran as a “train engine that is not stopping for a moment. It is manufacturing new and advanced ballistic missiles, and cruise missiles. It is turning unguided rockets that had an accuracy range of kilometers into weapons that are accurate to within meters.”
At the same time, a senior source in the Israel Navy said that there is an unprecedented influx of Iranian advanced weaponry into Lebanon and Syria currently. Describing the quantity and quality of surface-to-sea missiles in Hezbollah’s possession as “unprecedented,” the source said there are dozens of such weapons in its keeping, covering around ten different kinds of such missiles.
“The types of warheads and their ranges are many,” said the source. “We are in a completely different situation. The sector has changed.”
Sanctions relief good for the Iranian people?
One of the arguments proponents of a nuclear deal with Iran use is that the deal will not only be good for better relations between the West and Iran, but it will also be good for the Iranian people. The people of Iran bear the brunt of the economic sanctions; so lifting them will create jobs, opportunities, and wealth for the Iranians, they argue.
There is a serious problem with this assumption because history has shown that the regime always gave priority to the Islamic revolution over the welfare of the population.
So it is fair to assume that the money will go to the expansion of Iran’s regional hegemony. Iran’s proxies like Hezbollah, the Houthi’s in Yemen, and the Assad regime will receive larger injections of money and weapons, with which they will destabilize their countries further. The Revolutionary Guard and the Iranian nuclear and conventional weapons programs will get the rest of the money.
Iran is on the march everywhere in the Middle East and, as we saw today, continues threatening Israel with annihilation. It is for this reason that the Arab countries and Israel oppose the nuclear deal with Iran.
They know that a nuclear deal will not change Iran; it will eventually change the Middle East.
Already today, the regional arms race has begun as a result of Iran’s aspirations and Obama’s Middle East policies. Saudi Arabia has become the world’s largest arms importer; and Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, The United Arab Emirates and Turkey have signed contracts for the building of nuclear plants. Qatar, Kuwait, Tunisia, Libya, Algeria, and Morocco are all pursuing nuclear energy programs too.
What do you think? Scroll down to comment below.