Iran blatantly defies five key Geneva Pact commitments – heads for nuclear arsenal

In short, what Iran is seemingly looking to do is be able to up the production capability to where it can build nuclear weapons within two weeks. A two week time period would be too short of a period of time for most nations to react, especially as nations today are forming ‘coalitions’ in order to mitigate political backlash. Throw in the usual stalling/delay tactics as well as Russia and China blocking all efforts in the UN, combined with a United States that is slowly bringing resources to the Asian “pivot” and we might have a perfect recipe for disaster. Once again, Israel will find itself mostly alone with its back against the wall and left no choice but to strike preemptively or in reaction to an attack — neither make a difference now.

Iran’s utilization of advanced IR-2m centrifuges for enriching uranium, in violation of the interim Geneva accord, was presented by the US and the five powers Wednesday, Jan. 8, as the main difficulty in its implementation. This claim allowed the follow-up meeting to take place in Geneva on Thursday, Jan. 9.DEBKAfile’s Iranian and intelligence sources report that this was a lame excuse to account for the real situation, which is that Iran has not even started implementing any part of the Geneva accord it signed last November 24. The follow-up talks this week are not expected to break out of this impasse, any more than the first round did on Dec. 19-20.

This is because the obstacles are far from technical; they arise from Iranian domestic politics.  Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has fenced in President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammed Jawad Zarif with hard-line objectors to the tactics employed till now by the Iranian team, led by Iranian deputy foreign minister Abbas Araqchi. In future, negotiators will be required to refer all the conclusions reached with the powers to the policy-making levels in Tehran for approval and abide by their guidelines. Continue reading

Seven loopholes favoring a nuclear Iran in deal signed by the world powers

DEBKAfile was the first to report that a secret deal was for months already in the works, and it has come to pass. Now, here what we see is how much of a deal the Iranians get as opposed to what the US and Israel get, which is nothing out of it.

The first preliminary nuclear deal the six world powers (US, Russia, China, UK, France and German) signed with Iran before dawn Sunday, Nov. 24, at the end of a four-day marathon, failed to address the most questionable aspects of Iran’s nuclear program, i.e. its clandestine military dimensions. The accord confined itself to aspects of uranium enrichment and stockpiles. UN inspections were expanded – but not applied, for instance, to Iran’s concealed nuclear sites – or even the Parchin military base where Iran is suspected of having tested nuclear-related explosions. Continue reading

VIDEO: Iranian president brags about deceiving the West

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has gone on a charm offensive lately with multiple interviews with American media promising collaboration, but a recent video shows he takes pride in deceiving the West. “Gone is the age of blood feuds,” Rouhani stated in an op-ed in the Washington Post. “World leaders are expected to lead in turning threats into opportunities,” he wrote in the Post Friday.

In interviews with ABC and NBC, Rouhani said that Iran will never develop nuclear weapons and that he has the authority to make a deal with the West. “In its nuclear program, this government enters with full power and has complete authority,” Rouhani said. “Under no circumstances would we seek any weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, nor will we ever.” Continue reading

Iran’s Dual Path to Nuclear Arms

Plutonium versus uranium: A very keen observation that many have failed to distinguish. Many forget that these are two variants that can help Iran achieve the same goal: Nuclear weapons. The Iranians know how to exploit the naïveté and continue to laugh off sanctions and diplomacy. As the article points out, the world might shortly find itself more concerned about how to contain the King of the South in the medium-term rather than halting it. Either way, whether it’s now, soon or later… war is eventually on the horizon.

Iran has two options: uranium or plutonium bombs.

The talks were fruitless. The Iranians are too far along to stop now. Look at the Iranian pursuit of nuclear weapons in the past. No amount of sanctions can stop them. When Iran has stopped its work in the past it has only been temporary, or a flat-out lie. Europe was pushing Iran to stop centrifuge-based uranium enrichment back in 2003. The Iranians seemed compliant, yet they continued developing the technology, if not the enrichment. We are 10 years on and Iran has the technology. If it stops uranium enrichment, it will have another option, as it did back in 2003.

The heavy-water plant can be used to create plutonium. If Iran stops producing uranium, it can turn its attention to plutonium. Continue reading

Israel Loses Patience with Obama, Starts Countdown to Unilateral Decision on Nuclear Iran

Differences between Israel and the United States over a nuclear Iran brought relations to rock bottom this week. Israeli officials frankly and openly criticized the Obama administration out of a sense of being left in the dark and cornered by a campaign of misinformation.

Most of all, they were irked by the way the one-day Istanbul meeting between the six world powers (P5+1) and Iran on April 14 was held up by Washington and Europe as a constructive and successful exercise because Tehran had deigned to keep on talking in Baghdad on May 23, five weeks hence.

In fact, that was the sum-total of its success.

Then, they discovered that, before Istanbul, the US and Iran had reached certain understandings in private, bilateral contacts in Paris – revealed here for the first time. Those understandings rendered the get-together in Turkey a mere formality and were designed to predetermine the “agreed” outcome in Baghdad, i.e. more “progress” and a third session scheduled for the second half of August.

Therefore, unbeknownst to Israel, Washington had prepared the script for the formal negotiating track well in advance. It set out a leisurely timeline affording Iran time to produce more highly-enriched uranium and to tuck its bomb-making nuclear facilities away in fortified underground hideaways, safe from any Israeli attempt to destroy them.

Israel brings out big guns to shoot down false reports

This was the “freebie” to which Prime MinisterBinyamin Netanyahu referred on April 15, after a long conversation with visiting US Senator Joe Lieberman. He accused the US and the world powers of granting Iran a free five-week run to continue uranium enrichment undisturbed up until May 23 in Baghdad. He pointedly mentioned the US separately.

The point was taken instantaneously – distance being no object.

The US president used the press conference winding up the Western Hemisphere summit in Cartagena, Colombia, to retort: “The notion that somehow we’ve given something away or a ‘freebie’ would indicate Iran has gotten something. In fact, they’ve got some of the toughest sanctions that they’re going to be facing coming up in just a few months if they don’t take advantage of these talks.”

It is precisely on this point that Israeli officials felt they were being misled.

For some weeks, Israeli officials have been fighting a rearguard action to fend off the false assertions leaked to the US media. One is that Netanyahu promised President Obama that he would not order an attack on Iran before the November 2012 presidential election. Another, that Israel lacks the military capability to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Obama did not get the last word. On Tuesday, April 17, Jerusalem brought out its big guns to rebut what is seen there as a tissue of falsehoods, while also bringing some rare clarity to its intentions.

Three figures in the prime minister’s confidence on the Iranian issue offered revealing statements within hours of each other.

Israel reverts to an implacable front on a nuclear Iran

Defense Minister Ehud Barak led off by demanding a clear-cut outcome from the talks between the six world powers and Iran – quite simply, the discontinuation of Iran’s nuclear program. The bargaining must not drag on for months. Both these demands, voiced in a morning radio interview, were at odds with the Obama strategy for Iran. Barak went on to echo Netanyahu’s charge that the five-week interval between sessions had rewarded Iran with extra time for developing its nuclear capabilities.

Barak then set off for Washington to meet Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

The disenchantment coloring his and the prime minister’s comments was rooted, DEBKA-Net-Weekly reports, in their discovery that the “1,000 formula” agreed between US and Israeli officials had not been put on the table at Istanbul.

This formula (first revealed by debkafile on April 9) would have let Iran kept 1,000 centrifuges for enriching uranium to the low 3.5 percent grade, while stocking no more than 1,000 kilograms. Its 20 percent uranium would be exported.

Barak’s words indicated that since the Americans had ditched this formula, Israel too had withdrawn its concession on enrichment and reverted to an all-or-nothing stance.

The former Israel military intelligence MI chief, Maj. Gen. (res) Amos Yadlin came next.

“I don’t think that if Iran has a nuclear bomb it will rush to drop it on Israel,” he said. “But Israel can’t afford to risk letting a nation not only seeking, but actively preparing for, its destruction, attain a nuclear weapon.”

Dep. PM Ya’alon: Iran will have a dirty bomb in 2012

Yadlin’s point was that Israel cannot afford to subscribe to the Obama administration’s willingness to live with a nuclear-capable Iran so long as it stops at the threshold of a final decision to use the resources and technology in its power for actually building a bomb.

In ascending order of resonance, the loudest and toughest decibels came from the third speaker, Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon, who is also minister for strategic affairs.

He made six telling remarks in a television interview Tuesday afternoon:

1. Israel no longer believes the Obama administration.

2. “On the Iranian issue, the US and Israel are not in the same boat.”

3. By the end of the year, Iran will have a dirty bomb. This was the first time a senior Israeli figure has confirmed that Iran is building dirty bombs on the way to completing its nuclear weapons program.

Three hours later, Tehran, which avidly picks up on every word spoken or printed by the “Zionists,” announced the creation of a new “Crisis Management Center for Nuclear and Radiation Accidents,” to be headed by its Atomic Energy Organization’s director, Dr. Fereydoon Abbasi.

Announcing the appointment, Iran’s civil defense chief Gen. Gholam Reza Jalali said:

“Radiation defense will be carried out at national and provincial levels and includes confronting pollution, monitoring threats, treating the injured, cleaning polluted areas, disseminating information and decreasing threats as well as enhancing the level of preparedness, organizing and creating proper mechanisms for times of crisis and holding drills and public training and information dissemination.”

This sounded very much as though Iran was getting ready for an Israeli strike on its stock of dirty bombs after revealing their discovery.

Israel is fed up with Washington’s procrastination

4. Iran will be able to build a nuclear weapon any time between April 2013 and 36 months thereafter.

5. Israel does not accept President Obama’s demand to wait before striking Iran until the end of 2012, i.e. after the US presidential election. According to Ya’alon, Israel was assured that if in 2013 it still finds it necessary to go to war on Iran’s nuclear program, the Americans might undertake the initiative.

Asked by the interviewer if the US president was cynical enough to give his reelection precedence over the threat of a nuclear Iran, the Israeli minister answered with a curt “Yes.”

6. The stalling on an Israeli decision on military action is over. After the Baghdad talks of May 23, Israel will “review its steps,” said Ya’alon.

This was the first time a competent Israeli figure, a member of the top decision-making level, had mentioned dates in connection with a decision about launching an attack on Iran’s nuclear program. He would not have spoken without the authority of Prime Minister Netanyahu.

DEBKA-Net-Weekly‘s sources in Jerusalem say that within 15 minutes of the interview, telephones were ringing off the hook in Jerusalem with urgent demands for “clarifications” from the White House, the State Department and the Pentagon.

But clarifications were really unnecessary. Israel’s message was crystal clear: We are fed up with being kept in the dark; we don’t trust American diplomatic maneuvers to stop a nuclear Iran; and we’re getting ready to make our own decisions.

The most radical US maneuver – a major concession to Iran – was still to come, as will be revealed in a separate article in this issue.

Full article: Israel Loses Patience with Obama, Starts Countdown to Unilateral Decision on Nuclear Iran (DEBKAfile)

Iran could recover from attack on its nuclear sites within six months, says U.S. report

Israel finds itself in a very difficult situation ahead: Hit or be hit. Moreover, as the article indicates, the amount of time in peace it will buy before an Iranian recovery is to remain limited. Six months seems to be a worst case scenario whereas a generally reported five to seven years is best case. Combine that with diminished support from a turncoat US administration and the pressure of a closing window of opportunity builds up.

U.S. congressional report says Israel and U.S. do not know exact location of Iran nuclear facilities, which may be dispersed in such a way that an Israeli attack would not be successful.

Iran could probably rebuild most of its centrifuge workshops within six months after an attack on its nuclear sites, according to a new report by U.S. congressional researchers, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.

Full article: Iran could recover from attack on its nuclear sites within six months, says U.S. report (Harretz)

Study: Iran could enrich enough uranium by September for a 15-kiloton bomb

Earlier this year, the American Enterprise Institute’s Critical Threats Project concluded that Iran could have the fuel for a single nuclear bomb by September. That is a frighteningly short time away but luckily, Iran would still have to construct the bomb and fit it onto a missile. The question is: Where is Israel’s red-line?

The think-tank determined that Iran could make enough 20% enriched uranium for a bomb by June. From there, it would take only “two and one half months” to make the fuel for a 15-kiloton weapon, roughly the power of the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima.

This assessment is realistic. Top nuclear expert David Albright says that it would only take about 6 months to turn 20% enriched uranium into bomb-grade fuel if 500 to 1,000 centrifuges are used. In November, the IAEA reported that 412 centrifuges were installed at Fordow. It is presumed that Iran is adding more centrifuges as you read this. This supports the AEI study.

Full article: Study: Iran could enrich enough uranium by September for a 15-kiloton bomb (World Threats)

Ahmadinejad: Iran to reveal new nuke achievements

“Within the next few days the world will witness the inauguration of several big new achievements in the nuclear field,” Ahmadinejad told the crowd in Tehran’s famous Azadi, or Freedom, square.

Iran has said it is forced to manufacture nuclear fuel rods, which provide fuel for reactors, on its own since international sanctions ban it from buying them on foreign markets. In January, Iran said it had produced its first such fuel rod.

Apart from progress on the rods, the upcoming announcement could pertain to Iran’s underground enrichment facility at Fordo or upgraded centrifuges, which are expected to be installed at the facility in the central town of Natanz. Iran has also said it would inaugurate the Russian-built nuclear power plant in the southern port of Bushehr in 2012.

Full article: Ahmadinejad: Iran to reveal new nuke achievements (AP)