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Israel Concerned by Emerging "Bad Deal" with Iran

Yesterday, the Associated Press reported on details of the emerging deal concerning Iran’s nuclear program. Today, Israel Hayom notes that Israel is concerned with these details that would reward Iran for supposed “good behavior”:

Israeli government officials in Jerusalem are not hiding their concerns about the progress in the ongoing nuclear talks between Iran and world powers, particularly in light of The Associated Press report on Monday that exposed the details of the emerging agreement.

According to the AP report, the deal would clamp down on Iran’s nuclear activities for at least 10 years but then slowly ease restrictions on programs that could be used to make nuclear weapons …

The core idea would be to reward Iran for good behavior over the last years of any agreement, gradually lifting constraints on its uranium enrichment and slowly easing economic sanctions.

The U.S. initially sought restrictions lasting up to 20 years; Iran has pushed for less than a decade. The prospective deal appears to be somewhere in the middle.

One variation being discussed would place at least a 10-year regime of strict controls on Iran’s uranium enrichment. If Iran complied, the restrictions would be gradually lifted over the final five years.

One issue critics are certain to focus on: Once the deal expires, Iran could theoretically ramp up enrichment to whatever level it wanted.

Experts say Iran already could produce the equivalent of one weapon’s worth of enriched uranium with its present operating 10,000 centrifuges. Several officials spoke of 6,500 centrifuges as a potential point of compromise, with the U.S. trying to restrict them to Iran’s mainstay IR-1 model instead of more advanced machines.

However, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said last year that his country needed to increase its output equivalent to at least 190,000 of its present-day centrifuges …

Israeli officials reacted with alarm to the AP report. Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said, “The agreement with Iran, as it is being formulated now, is a great danger to the peace of the Western world and threatens Israel’s security. This bad emerging deal would enable Iran to free itself from the economic siege and continue to enrich uranium as well. We will not compromise the security of Israel’s citizens. We will do everything we can and voice on every stage the expected dangers, as [Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu] will do next week in an important speech to Congress.”

International Relations, Intelligence and Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz called the reports of the emerging agreement “worrying,” saying such a deal would allow Iran to become a “nuclear threshold state.”

“We hope world powers refrain from signing such a deal,” Steinitz said.

Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett said, “These are decisive days in the history of the free world. When there is a nuclear attack in the U.S. or Europe in five to ten years, the world will look back at these days as the fateful time when it could have been thwarted. A few years ago, we had the ‘Arab Spring.’ Now, we have the ‘Nuclear Spring.’ If Iran gets nuclear weapons, there will be a nuclear arms race in the entire region — Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other countries. But it’s not too late. I call for all means necessary to be used to prevent a nuclear Iran.”

A source close to Netanyahu said Monday night, “Indeed, we believed the deal would go in the direction of a bad deal that endangers not only Israel, but also the entire region and the world. Congress could be the last barrier to stop a bad deal. This clarifies the need for the prime minister’s trip to Washington at the start of next week to address Congress. The timing of the trip is critical, as there appears to be an attempt to reach a framework agreement between world powers and Iran by the end of March.”

Tags: Iran , Israel

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