Major Israel-US rift over Washington planl to let Tehran continue enriching uranium with sanctions relief
DEBKAfile Special Report November 7, 2013, 10:12 AM (GMT+02:00)
Israel announced early Thursday, Nov. 7, that it is utterly opposed to the new proposal for Iran’s nuclear programwhich the United States plans to put before the two-day Geneva conference beginning later today .
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, when he met US Secretary of State John Kerry in Jerusalem Wednesday night, bitterly accused the Obama administration of yielding to the Russian-backed Iranian position. Should Tehran renege on the deal, the US proposal leaves it with the capacity for enriching enough weapons-grade uranium in 10 days to build several nuclear weapons.
This US proposal calls for Iran to halt enrichment of uranium up to 20-percent grade (a short jump to weapons-grade) and slow construction on the Arak heavy water plant for plutonium production. In return, the US offers a start on selective sanctions relief. This proposal is likely to be approved by the six powers at the Geneva conference.
Kerry was reminded of his pledge that “no deal is better than a bad deal.” This deal is bad, Israel says because it leaves Iran wth all the stocks it has already built up of 20-percent enriched uranium and the ability to continue the production of low 5-percent grade unrestricted.
debkafile’s sources report that the Palestinian issue did not come up in either of the two conversations Kerry held with Netanyahu Wednesday. Both were dominated by the Iranian row and ended with differences as wide as ever.
Israel accused Washington of capitulating to the plan Moscow and Tehran handed in to President Barack Obama last week. That plan, according to our sources, entails suspending the work of 10,000 centrifuges on all grades of enrichment (3, 5 and 20 percent). However, Iran has a total of 19,000 machines of which only 9,000 are active anyway. Therefore, the offer to freeze 10,000 already idle centrifuges was a subterfuge. It is nonetheless being presented by the Russians – and now by the Americans, too – as a major Iranian concession.
The truth is that Iran is being allowed to keep its full stock of centrifuges intact, operational and available for use at any time.
This means that if Tehran decides tomorrow to renege on its deal with Washington and the world powers - after its approval in Geneva – it will retain the capacity to restart centrifuge operations in full and within 10 days accumulate enough weapons-grade material to build several nuclear bombs or warheads.
By the time Washington or the nuclear watchdog catch on, it will be too late: Iran will have The Bomb.
Last week, Moscow claimed that Iran had agreed to “restrain the weaponization processes.” This admission alone belied Tehran’s insistence that its entire nuclear program was peaceful and exposed as false Moscow’s denials of proofs that Iran was engaged in developing nuclear arms.
According to our sources, the “restraint” on offer refers only to the process of miniaturizing a nuclear bomb for use in a missile warhead or dropped from an airplane.
In sum, therefore, the US president has agreed in essence to “photograph” Iran’s nuclear program and freeze it as it stands now. Tehran would place nuclear development in suspension without, however, relinquishing a single component of its program.
The new American proposal broke surface Wednesday, as the seven delegations gathered in Geneva for the morrow’s session.A nameless US spokesman told reporters that America was now proposing that Iran, as a first step, stop its nuclear program advancing any further and start rolling parts of it back. In return, Washington offered "very limited, temporary, reversible sanctions relief.”
The spokesman said: “This phase must involve levels of Iran's uranium enrichment, its stockpiles of the material as well as international monitoring.”
Israel is not buying this plan.