As Iran nuke deal falters, Israel revisits the military option

This Jerusalem Post article is alarming because even if a deal is inked between Iran and the west, Israel  may feel compelled to take out the Iranian nuclear program anyway.

Historic negotiations with Iran will reach an inflection point on Monday, as world powers seek to clinch a comprehensive deal that will, to their satisfaction, end concerns over the nature of its vast, decade-old nuclear program.

But reflecting on the deal under discussion with The Jerusalem Post on the eve of the deadline, Israel has issued a stark, public warning to its allies with a clear argument: Current proposals guarantee the perpetuation of a crisis, backing Israel into a corner from which military force against Iran provides the only logical exit.

The deal on the table

World powers have presented Iran with an accord that would restrict its nuclear program for roughly ten years and cap its ability to produce fissile material for a weapon during that time to a minimum nine-month additional period, from the current three months.

Should Tehran agree, the deal may rely on Russia to convert Iran's current uranium stockpile into fuel rods for peaceful use. The proposal would also include an inspection regime that would attempt to follow the program's entire supply chain, from the mining of raw material to the syphoning of that material to various nuclear facilities across Iran.

Israel's leaders believe the best of a worst-case scenario, should that deal be reached, is for inspections to go perfectly and for Iran to choose to abide by the deal for the entire decade-long period.

But "our intelligence agencies are not perfect," an Israeli official said. "We did not know for years about Natanz and Qom. And inspection regimes are certainly not perfect. They weren't in the case in North Korea, and it isn't the case now – Iran's been giving the IAEA the run around for years about its past activities."

"What's going to happen with that?" the official continued. "Are they going to sweep that under the rug if there's a deal?"

On Saturday afternoon, reports from Vienna suggested the P5+1 – the US, United Kingdom, France, Russia, China and Germany – are willing to stop short of demanding full disclosure of any secret weapon work by Tehran.

Speaking to the Post, a senior US official rejected concern over limited surveillance capabilities, during or after a deal.

"If we can conclude a comprehensive agreement, we will have significantly more ability to detect covert facilities – even after its duration is over – than we do today," the senior US official said. "After the duration of the agreement, the most intrusive inspections will continue: the Additional Protocol – which encompasses very intrusive transparency, and which Iran has already said it will implement – will continue."

The closer we get to the deadline the more desperate the US and the west are to make a deal. Iran is playing on this and milking the situation for all it's worth. They will almost certainly not have to come clean about their past weapons program, and the inspection regime will not be unfettered.

But even these huge concessions have apparently failed to get Iran any closer to a deal. Thus, Israel is once again facing an existential threat and mulling military options. They are still unpalatable for the most part. Any attack - save an invasion - would probably not destory the entire Iranian nuclear infrastructure, which would mean that military action would only delay the program, not end it. And an attack would have unknown effects on the region.

It's clear that Israel is prepared to do what it must do to survive - regardless of the cost. Relations with the US can't get much worse so worrying about American reaction to an attack is pretty far down the list. That said, any attack on Iran would isolate Israel diplomatically which carries its own set of problems for the Jewish state.

An Israeli attack would be the consequence of American inaction in confronting Iran and its nuclear program while there was still a chance to prevent a war. It's no Obama's fault alone, but he bears a lot of responsibility for seeking the false nirvanna of a deal while Iran continued to build its stockpile.

 

 

This Jerusalem Post article is alarming because even if a deal is inked between Iran and the west, Israel  may feel compelled to take out the Iranian nuclear program anyway.

Historic negotiations with Iran will reach an inflection point on Monday, as world powers seek to clinch a comprehensive deal that will, to their satisfaction, end concerns over the nature of its vast, decade-old nuclear program.

But reflecting on the deal under discussion with The Jerusalem Post on the eve of the deadline, Israel has issued a stark, public warning to its allies with a clear argument: Current proposals guarantee the perpetuation of a crisis, backing Israel into a corner from which military force against Iran provides the only logical exit.

The deal on the table

World powers have presented Iran with an accord that would restrict its nuclear program for roughly ten years and cap its ability to produce fissile material for a weapon during that time to a minimum nine-month additional period, from the current three months.

Should Tehran agree, the deal may rely on Russia to convert Iran's current uranium stockpile into fuel rods for peaceful use. The proposal would also include an inspection regime that would attempt to follow the program's entire supply chain, from the mining of raw material to the syphoning of that material to various nuclear facilities across Iran.

Israel's leaders believe the best of a worst-case scenario, should that deal be reached, is for inspections to go perfectly and for Iran to choose to abide by the deal for the entire decade-long period.

But "our intelligence agencies are not perfect," an Israeli official said. "We did not know for years about Natanz and Qom. And inspection regimes are certainly not perfect. They weren't in the case in North Korea, and it isn't the case now – Iran's been giving the IAEA the run around for years about its past activities."

"What's going to happen with that?" the official continued. "Are they going to sweep that under the rug if there's a deal?"

On Saturday afternoon, reports from Vienna suggested the P5+1 – the US, United Kingdom, France, Russia, China and Germany – are willing to stop short of demanding full disclosure of any secret weapon work by Tehran.

Speaking to the Post, a senior US official rejected concern over limited surveillance capabilities, during or after a deal.

"If we can conclude a comprehensive agreement, we will have significantly more ability to detect covert facilities – even after its duration is over – than we do today," the senior US official said. "After the duration of the agreement, the most intrusive inspections will continue: the Additional Protocol – which encompasses very intrusive transparency, and which Iran has already said it will implement – will continue."

The closer we get to the deadline the more desperate the US and the west are to make a deal. Iran is playing on this and milking the situation for all it's worth. They will almost certainly not have to come clean about their past weapons program, and the inspection regime will not be unfettered.

But even these huge concessions have apparently failed to get Iran any closer to a deal. Thus, Israel is once again facing an existential threat and mulling military options. They are still unpalatable for the most part. Any attack - save an invasion - would probably not destory the entire Iranian nuclear infrastructure, which would mean that military action would only delay the program, not end it. And an attack would have unknown effects on the region.

It's clear that Israel is prepared to do what it must do to survive - regardless of the cost. Relations with the US can't get much worse so worrying about American reaction to an attack is pretty far down the list. That said, any attack on Iran would isolate Israel diplomatically which carries its own set of problems for the Jewish state.

An Israeli attack would be the consequence of American inaction in confronting Iran and its nuclear program while there was still a chance to prevent a war. It's no Obama's fault alone, but he bears a lot of responsibility for seeking the false nirvanna of a deal while Iran continued to build its stockpile.