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Israel Dismayed Over Iranian Nuclear Deal

Israeli Defense Minister Barak: 'Iranian Nuclear Deal Will Actually Grant Tehran Legitimacy To Enrich Uranium For Nuclear Weapons Project'

'All Options Must Be Kept On The Table'

Analyst Menashe Amir: 'Iranians Will Exploit IAEA Plan To Gain Time For Nuclear Weapons Development'

Menashe Amir at IsraCast Studios (Photo: Tomer Yaffe)

 Defense Minister Ehud Barak has warned that the nuclear arrangement brokered by the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, designed to halt Iran's nuclear weapons development, will in fact lend legitimacy to Iran's continued enrichment of uranium for its development of nuclear weapons. Israel favored all options being kept on the table and the imposing of stiffer sanctions immediately. Barak has left no doubt that Israel views the Iranian deal as doomed to failure. Iran originally raised the idea of sending most of its declared 1,500 kilograms of low-grade uranium to Russia and France for further enrichment that would be returned for Iran's 'civilian' use. Menashe Amir, an Israeli analyst on Iran told IsraCast that on the basis of Iran's track record, Tehran will exploit the deal to continue its nuclear weapons plan.

 'Iran will continue to lie and deceive about its nuclear weapons development' - that's the assessment of Menashe Amir, a leading Israeli expert on Iran. In his view, Iran can be expected to stall for time while its centrifuges keep spinning out enriched uranium for eventually arming nuclear missiles. Tehran initiated the current diplomatic deal in order to forestall harsher sanctions, to prevent an American and/or Israeli military strike against Iran's nuclear installations and to gain some diplomatic points for Russia in its rivalry with the US. However, there is another aspect that has cropped up over the idea of Iran sending 1,200 kilograms of its declared 1,500 kilograms of low grade uranium to Russia and France for further enrichment to 20% which Iran says it requires for its civilian purposes. (Some 93% enrichment is required for nuclear weapons development. However, the technology for low grade enrichment can also be harnessed for upgrading to 93%-D.E.)

Tehran originally raised the idea of sending its low grade uranium abroad for upgrading with the intention of buying time while it continued its covert nuclear weapons program - the secret uranium enrichment facility being built near Qom was an example of Iran's duplicity. However, hardliners in the Iranian regime are even opposed to this subterfuge, although it serves Iran's nuclear arms ambitions. They argue: 'Why should we send almost four years production of enriched uranium to other countries which might refuse to send it back, if more evidence is revealed about Iran's nuclear weapons project'. And those extremists also contend that once the Western countries believe they solved the uranium enrichment issue, they will then turn to other aspects of Iran's nuclear weapons project.

The Iranian Missile Range

Menashe Amir also points to another loophole in the Iranian nuclear proposal:who knows if Iran is telling the truth about the total amount of low-grade uranium it has squirreled away? He believes that even if Iran does send some three-quarters of its low grade uranium abroad for further enriching, it could make up this shortfall within six months to a year. Moreover, another crucial point is what kind of international inspections will be carried out at Iran's nuclear installations. The danger is that the IAEA proposal will now deter the Americans from carrying out a military strike and opting for harsher sanctions while the Iranians push ahead with their nuclear weapons plans. In Menashe Amir's opinion, the nuclear agreement should also have focused on halting the military enrichment operation at the existing Natanz plant as well as inspection of the new Arack nuclear reactor. An IAEA team of inspectors is scheduled to tour the secret facility at Qom, three weeks after it was uncovered. The question was what if anything could now be detected at this point.

David Essing

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