Oblivious to the Obvious: U.S. vs Iran
"Yesterday, an Iranian general brazenly declared, and I quote, ‘Israel’s destruction is non-negotiable’, but evidently, giving Iran’s murderous regime a clear path to the bomb is negotiable. This is unconscionable. I agree with those who have said that Iran’s claim that its nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes doesn’t square with Iran’s insistence on keeping underground nuclear facilities, advanced centrifuges and a heavy water reactor. Nor does it square with Iran’s insistence on developing ICBMs and its refusal to come clean with the IAEA on its past weaponization efforts. At the same time, Iran is accelerating its campaign of terror, subjugation and conquest throughout the region, most recently in Yemen."
"The concessions offered to Iran in Lausanne would ensure a bad deal that would endanger Israel, the Middle East and the peace of the world. Now is the time for the international community to insist on a better deal. A better deal would significantly roll back Iran’s nuclear infrastructure. A better deal would link the eventual lifting of the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program to a change in Iran’s behavior. Iran must stop its aggression in the region, stop its terrorism throughout the world and stop its threats to annihilate Israel. That should be non-negotiable, and that’s the deal that the world powers must insist upon."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
"[W]hen I look from the parameters which I know, it looks to me that if there are 6,500 centrifuges remaining installed and in operation – it might be difficult to get it to one year or longer, the breakout time. It will be clearly below. And then we have to add all the uncertainties, the unknowns."
"You are more or less fencing [with] one hand behind your back and it might be difficult to find the proper places [hidden nuclear installations] and detect them early enough. [The IAEA] has not been able yet to verify the completeness of Iran’s declarations. So we don’t know at this point of time whether all the uranium which is in Iran is really subject to IAEA verification."
Olli Heinonen, former Deputy Director-General for Safeguards, International Atomic Energy Agency
President Netanyahu is more than a trifle exercised that while the P5+1 is negotiating with Iran, and treating with it as though it represented any other nation on Earth; credible, trustworthy, honourable; the commander of the Basij militia of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps stated on the very day the negotiations were to have reached its final framework, that Iran: "will accelerate the arming of the West Bank and we reserve the right to give any response."
As a major supplier of deadly weapons to Hamas, Iran ensures that the terrorist group on Israel's flank has ample measures of Iranian-made Fajr rockets and Syrian-produced M302 rockets built to Iranian technology specifications, with the range to strike deep within Israel. And then again there is the issue of Iran's technology and trade pact with North Korea; their nuclear co-operation should be scrutinized as part of the mechanism in dealing with this outlier pair of nuclear-aspiring countries and the demands made on Iran reflective of this reality.
The North Korean-designed nuclear reactor that Israel destroyed in 2007 at Deir al-Zor in Syria was an Iranian project, to extend its reach and functionality in a country it is assured it has complete control over. That facility was initiated simultaneously to an Iranian opposition group disclosing in 2002 the extent and breadth of Iran's nuclear program and its future ambitions. Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, senior cleric and then-president writes of that connection in his autobiography, frankly and without apparent guile.
He refers to Tehran's relations with Pyongyang through reproducing memoirs comprised partially of date-timed journal entries, discussing Iran's arms and missile procurement deal with North Korea. Around 1991 Rafsanjani writes obliquely of "special and sensitive issues" in relations with North Korea when his previous candour gives way to a more shielded description. Writing of guided missiles he was openly self-congratulatory, writing of suspected nuclear advances, he became guarded, but write of them he did.
He writes of summoning Majid Abbaspour, his technical adviser on "chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear industries", according to senior fellows Ali Alfoneh and Reuel Marc Gerecht of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in the United States, expressing interest in the importation into Iran of a "special commodity" from North Korea. The return to North Korea would be expressed in oil shipments; gaining Tehran "technical know-how", from Pyongyang's proven advances in nuclear weaponry production.
"The North Koreans want oil, but have nothing to give in return but the special commodity. We, too, are inclined to solve their problem", he wrote, ordering Akbar Torkan, defence minister at the time to organize a task force analyzing risks and benefits of embracing the "special commodity". The response was a task force recommendation that the president take advantage of the "risk of procuring the commodities in question".
Mr. Rafsanjani wrote that: "I discussed [this] with the Leader [Ayatollah Ali Khameni] in more general terms and it was decided to take action based on the [task force] recommendation". A 1992 journal entry has Rafsanjani waxing poetic that the U.S. Navy tracked a North Korean ship en route to Syria, but overlooked two ships heading for Iran from North Korea. When, several days on, the "special commodity" arrives in Iran, he wrote: "The Americans were really embarrassed"; if they indeed knew.
CIA director John Brennan speaks authoritatively that Langley is capable of detecting an Iranian decision to sneak its technology bombward. That's debatable. What is beyond debate is that the leniency with which the Obama administration is dealing with Tehran, in watering down its demands and acceding to Iran's counter-demands, totally ignores the reality of whom they are dealing with. A war-mongering, threatening imperialist state whose ties with terrorism should ring alarm bells everywhere.
Special consideration as well should be taken of the fact that during this period then-president Rafsanjani's second-in-command on the issue was none other than the current president of Iran in whom so much hope for a turn toward 'normalcy' was invested, President Hassan Rouhani, the very man who wrote winkingly himself, of having duped inspectors and negotiators on a previous occasion relating to Iran's nuclear ambitions.
"It seems that it [the final agreement] will leave in Iran’s possession underground installations, the nuclear reactor at Arak and advanced centrifuges, the same things that only a few months ago we were told [by Obama] were not essential to a nuclear program designed for peaceful purposes."
"Iran’s breakout time for achieving fissile material for nuclear bombs will not be measured in years, as was said at the outset; in our assessment the time has been reduced to less than a year, probably much less. And all of this is before taking into account the ballistic missiles that Iran is continuing to manufacture, the ongoing development of advanced centrifuges, Iran’s obdurate refusal to reveal to the IAEA its activities to develop nuclear weapons and, I add, Iran’s campaign of conquest and terrorism – which is open to all, everyone sees it, before our very eyes – from the Golan Heights to Yemen, from Iraq to Gaza and so many other places."