The situation surrounding the negotiations with Iran and Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech to Congress daily grows more ominous, more convoluted, and more contentious.
I would like to begin with the latest “scoop” – which is supposed to put the lie to Bibi’s charge in 2012 in the UN (complete with that famous chart) that Iran was on the cusp of becoming a nuclear power.
As Arutz Sheva described the situation yesterday:
“Al Jazeera began publishing Monday night several documents allegedly leaked from the Israeli Mossad – via the Spy Cables database shared with the British Guardian.
One of the documents alleged that, just a few weeks after the famous speech Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu gave in 2012 assessing Iran as being about one year away from building a nuclear weapon, the Mossad sent a confidential report to South Africa’s State Security Agency (SSA) stating that, in their estimation, ‘Iran does not engage in the necessary activities required for the production of weapons of mass destruction.’ (Emphasis added)
Ah ha! went the cries of those opposed to Bibi’s speech – See, he exaggerated, he misrepresented, he’s not to be trusted.
No so, my friends. And please do not take my word for this.
Today I contacted Brig. Gen. (ret.) Yossi Kuperwasser, until recently the director-general of the Ministry of Security Affairs. There is no contradiction between the alleged Mossad report and what Bibi said, Kuperwasser explained:
The Mossad was talking about weaponization. And it’s true that in 2012 Iran was not involved in the weaponization process – they had already done this before 2003. (I note that by 1998 Iran was domestically producing the Shahab-1 and Shahab-2, and by 2003 the Shahab-3 – ballistic missiles being one part of the weaponization.)
What the prime minister was talking about, said Kuperwasser, was the enrichment process: Iran had stocks of uranium enriched to 20%, and were in the position of being able to follow through to do enrichment to 90+%, which is what is needed for weapons purposes.
What must be made clear, however, is that in bringing the uranium to 20%, 90% of the enrichment effort has already been expended. That is, the hard part is getting it to 20%. To move it from 20% to 90+% – which is weapons grade uranium – is a relatively quick and simple process. This is the danger Netanyahu was warning the world about in 2012.
But there is even more, which I ask you to note as well, from Yossi Melman, intelligence correspondent, writing in the JPost (emphasis added):
“After promising to release a bombshell of leaked secret Mossad cables, Al Jazeera’s publication of documents later Monday fell short of that mark…Al Jazeera did not obtain an original and authenticated document from the Mossad…
“What they published was a South Africa Sate Security Agency (SSA document that is based on a briefing given to them by the Mossad. The document from 2013 contains no secrets and any reader, or follower of public reports on Iran’s nuclear program, especially the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is familiar with the facts written in that document.
“The Mossad provided details in its briefing, such as the quantities of Iran’s enriched uranium at its two levels – 3.5% and 20% – about the development of Iran’s nuclear reactor at Arak, and its statement that Iran is ‘not performing the activity necessary to produce weapons.’
“That assessment was correct – it isn’t possible to utilize fissile material for a bomb only with 20% enriched uranium – an enrichment of 93% is required – and Iran did not have it at the time of the document’s writing, and doesn’t have it now. Certainly it doesn’t present any evidence of a wedge between the Mossad and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with regard to Iran’s nuclear program…
“Israeli intelligence estimates are that Iran is working to be a nuclear power – a few months way from the ability to assemble the bomb – but not capable of building it now.
“More than anything, Iran wants the international community to lift the economic sanctions.
“Israeli intelligence researchers know that Iran is already on the verge of becoming a nuclear threshold state. It has the know-how, technology and materials to construct the bomb in a matter of a few months or perhaps a year, if and when the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei gives the order.”
And so please, my friends, do not believe everything you read and hear in the current effort to discredit Netanyahu.
Please see, as well, yet another piece – “Now we know who to believe on Iran,” by David Horovitz, editor of Time of Israel (emphasis added):
“The Obama administration claimed Israel was misrepresenting its deal with the ayatollahs. Reports from Geneva indicate Israel’s concerns were all too accurate…
“After anonymous sources in Jerusalem leaked to Israeli reporters in recent weeks the ostensible terms of the deal being hammered out, various spokespeople for the Obama administration contended that the Netanyahu government was misrepresenting the specifics for narrow political ends. They sneered that Israel didn’t actually know what the terms were. And they made the acknowledgement — the astounding acknowledgement for a United States whose key regional ally is directly and relentlessly threatened with destruction by Iran — that the Obama administration is consequently no longer sharing with Jerusalem all sensitive details of the Iran talks.
“And yet among the terms of the deal being reported by the Associated Press from Geneva on Monday are precisely those that were asserted in recent weeks by the Israeli sources, precisely those that were scoffed at by the Administration. Centrally, Iran is to be allowed to keep 6,500 centrifuges spinning, and there will be a sunset clause providing for an end to intrusive inspections in some 10-15 years. If anything, indeed, some of the terms reported by the AP are even more worrying than those that were leaked in Jerusalem: ‘The idea would be to reward Iran for good behavior over the last years of any agreement,’ the AP said, ‘gradually lifting constraints on its uranium enrichment program and slowly easing economic sanctions.’ There is also no indication of restrictions on Iran’s missile development — its potential delivery systems…
”It goes without saying that this weekend’s developments in Geneva have only bolstered Netanyahu’s determination to sound the alarm before Congress next Tuesday. It’s also still clearer today why the Obama administration has been so anxious to query his motives and seek to discredit his concerns.”
“It is also still clearer today why the Obama administration has been so anxious to query [Netanyahu’s] motives and seek to discredit his concerns.”
Keep this in mind, please, as you read the hysterical accusations against Bibi. And I ask that you do something else. Speak out with the facts. You know the routine: do talkbacks on the Internet, letters to the editor, call-ins on talk-shows, put this information on your FB pages and websites, put it up on group discussion lists, etc. etc. Here is an opportunity to help Israel.
Yet another charge that is being leveled at Netanyahu is that the unrest he is “causing,” the tension he is generating politically in the US, will result in a reduction of American support for Israel.
The only problem with this charge is that it’s not true. A Gallup poll conducted between February 8 and February 11 indicates that seven in 10 Americans continue to view Israel favorably, and there has been no significant change in that number from a year ago.
“According to Gallup’s explanation of the results, these numbers suggest that neither the friction between Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama nor last summer’s conflict in Gaza significantly impacted on the US public’s perceptions toward Israel or the Palestinians.”
And then this piece of news:
Two Democratic Senators, Richard Durbin (D-Illinois) and Dianne Feinstein (D-California), have written a letter to PM Netanyahu, inviting him to meet with Democratic lawmakers while he is in Washington next week. Their intention is to “maintain Israel’s dialogue with both political parties in Congress.”
I have no more information at this point, but this seems a positive turn of events.
The negotiations in Geneva? Terrifying. Rushing at break-neck speed to something disastrous. News about how the deal is shaping up, and other indications that it might not come together.
I will be writing about this in up-coming posts, needless to say, but hope also to touch some other bases.
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.
If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted.