Iran nuclear deal doesn´t rule out Israeli strike, Barak says (ISRAEL HAYOM) Shlomo Cesana, Eli Leon, Yoni Hirsch, Gadi Golan, Gideon Allon, Lilach Shoval and The Associated Press 05/23/12)
Israel Hayom Articles-Index-Top
Hours ahead of a second round of nuclear talks between Iran and the
West, Defense Minister Ehud Barak insists that the world "must not
blink, concede or cave at the last minute" U.S. voices skepticism
regarding agreement between Iran and the IAEA, saying "we are waiting
to see if Iran will really allow access to all the sites. This
agreement is only one facet of what Iran must do."
Hours before a second round of nuclear talks between Iran and six
world powers was set to begin on Wednesday in Baghdad, Defense
Minister Ehud Barak reiterated that Israel has not ruled out any
option as a means of stopping Tehran from developing nuclear weapons.
"[U.S. President Barack] Obama and the representatives of the West
are not naive," Barak told Army Radio, referring to the
representatives of the five permanent UN Security Council members
plus Germany who will be negotiating with Iran. "But they want to
achieve progress, so they are willing to compromise," Barak added.
"Israel is demanding a complete halt to Iranian uranium enrichment,"
Barak declared, adding in an Israel Radio interview that the West, in
stark contrast, was setting the bar too low and demanding too little.
"We mustn´t blink, concede, or cave at the last minute," he stressed.
Barak went on to say that foot-dragging in negotiations between Iran
and the West was problematic and that the talks must be held as
frequently as possible. "North Korea also maintained dialogue with
the West, but in the end it conducted nuclear tests," Barak said.
Commenting on the negotiations earlier this week between
International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano, who visited
Tehran, and Iran´s nuclear negotiator, Barak said the results were to
be expected. "The Iranians orchestrated things in such a way that
when the Baghdad talks rolled around they would be able to tell the
world powers that they were already coordinating the procedural
details with the IAEA, and when Amano wanted to talk about the
essential issues they could say that they were working those out with
the world powers. It gives them a little wiggle room."
Earlier this week, Amano spoke with reporters in Vienna after holding
talks with chief Iranian nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili in Tehran
and said that an agreement would soon be signed. Amano said a
decision was made to reach an agreement on the mechanics of giving
the IAEA access to sites, scientists and documents it seeks to
restart its probe into Iranian nuclear efforts.
It is believed that according to the agreement, Iran will allow IAEA
inspectors to visit Parchin, a key military site near Tehran where
IAEA officials suspect Iran has carried out explosives testing with a
possible connection to nuclear weapons development.
U.S. officials, however, have stated that the agreement was not
satisfactory. State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said that
the Obama administration wanted to see progress on both tracks the
IAEA agreement and talks with the West simultaneously.
"An announcement of an agreement is one thing, but we are waiting to
see if Iran will really allow access to all the sites. This agreement
is only one facet of what Iran must do. We want to see a really
concrete, serious discussion about steps that will demonstrate that
we are moving in the right direction," Nuland said.
In a statement Tuesday, Robert A. Wood, the chief U.S. delegate to
the IAEA, said Washington appreciated Amano´s efforts but
remained "concerned by the urgent obligation for Iran to take
concrete steps to cooperate fully with the verification efforts of
the IAEA, based on IAEA verification practices."
"We urge Iran to take this opportunity to resolve all outstanding
concerns about the nature of its nuclear program," Wood said. "Full
and transparent cooperation with the IAEA is the first logical step."
Last week, White House press secretary Jay Carney said that "the
pressure will be on the Iranians to demonstrate continued good
faith." He called on Tehran to address its nuclear program "in
concrete ways" with the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and
Germany, and said sanctions and pressure on Iran would continue as
well, spearheaded by the United States.
Israeli leaders are pessimistic about the effectiveness of the
agreement with Iran. Officials in the Prime Minister´s Office, the
Defense Ministry and the Foreign Ministry pointed out on Tuesday that
the agreement only relates to monitoring and is not enough to halt
Iran´s nuclear progress.
"The problem is Iran´s program is continuing unabated and needs to be
stopped," a senior official said. "We have seen what happened with
agreements between the IAEA and Iran in the past. Terms were agreed
but facilities were still set up openly, like Natanz in 2002 and Qom
in 2009. The latest IAEA report reveals Iran´s scams and deceptions."
PMO officials also cited the case of North Korea which tested two
nuclear explosions after signing an agreement with the agency. Syria,
they say, also continued developing its covert nuclear program
despite IAEA monitoring. "We must not give in to Iran, they are
serial violators of agreements," one official said.
Echoing the concerns of Israeli officials, Maj. Gen. Itai Baron, head
of the Military Intelligence research department, said on Tuesday
that Iran was moving ahead with its nuclear program enriching
uranium and maintaining full operation of the facilities near Qom and
Bushehr. Baron presented a comprehensive analysis of the situation to
members of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and said
that Iran has trebled its pace of uranium enrichment to 20 percent.
According to Baron, by the end of 2012, the amount of uranium Iran
will have enriched to 20% will be enough for a single nuclear device,
but it will take Iran a while to complete the remaining bomb-
Ahead of the Baghdad talks, Israel made it clear that in its view,
Western powers must focus on three demands: a complete halt to
uranium enrichment, transfer of existing enriched uranium out of the
country, and the decommissioning of the Fordo underground enrichment
facility near Qom. Israeli officials also said a timetable for these
measures must be imposed.
On Tuesday, Barak said that "it appears that the Iranians are trying
to strike a technical agreement that would create the illusion of
progress in order to relieve some of the pressure ahead of the
Baghdad talks and to stave off tougher sanctions."
"Israel believes that Iran must be faced with clear demands, so that
there is no window or crack through which it can continue to advance
toward a military nuclear program," he said.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman met his British counterpart
William Hague on Tuesday and discussed, among other things, the
Iranian issue. Lieberman told the British Foreign Secretary that the
Iranians were trying to create "a calm and pleasant atmosphere, but
their objective has remained the same achieving nuclear capability."
Addressing the issue at the Negev Conference in Beersheba, President
Shimon Peres said "I think we should walk hand in hand with the U.S.
as they work toward imposing tougher sanctions and exerting heavy
pressure on Iran."
Another reaction to the IAEA agreement and upcoming talks came from
the east. Israel Defense Forces Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Benny
Gantz, currently in China on an official visit, met Vice President Xi
Jinping on Tuesday. Gantz reminded Jinping, who is soon to become
president, of China´s significant influence on Iran. Jinping
responded that China understands Israel´s concerns regarding Iran and
that the diplomatic track must first be exhausted before any other
action is taken.
Meanwhile Tuesday, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported
that Iranian scientists had inserted a domestically made fuel rod,
which contains pellets of 20% enriched uranium, into the core of a
research nuclear reactor in Tehran.
If true, the advance would be another step in achieving proficiency
in the entire nuclear fuel cycle. Iran said in January that it had
produced the first nuclear fuel rod, and that it had to find a way to
make them because Western sanctions prohibit their purchase from
foreign markets. This announcement could render the West´s proposal
to supply Iran with fuel rods in exchange for its existing enriched
Return to Top
MATERIAL REPRODUCED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY