Israel didn’t leave it open to speculation about their position on the Iranian nuclear deal ahead of a meeting with United States President Donald Trump, amid growing speculation that Trump could pull the Americans out of the international arrangement. “Let me take this opportunity and clarify,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday. “Our position is straightforward—This is a bad deal. Either fix it or cancel it.”
The blunt comments, delivered in a meeting with Argentinian President Mauricio Macri and published by Netanyahu’s office, line up with a report from Israel Radio and republished by The Washington Post that Israel has multiple changes to the deal to suggest to Trump in their upcoming meeting. The report said one concern for Israel is the “sunset clause” that allows Iran to increase its operational centrifuges after 10 years, which is used to enrich uranium into nuclear fuel. Israel wants that to be a more permanent limitation. Enriched uranium can be used for electrical power, or if enriched further, for nuclear weapons.
Among their other goals, Israel also wants a new determination to prohibit Iran from developing of advanced centrifuges. The opposition by Israel to the Iran deal as it currently stands isn’t new, but the United States may be more open than ever before to withdrawing from the current arrangement.
Comments from U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley that “welcome” debate on the deal were already casting some doubts on Trump’s plans, which could take advantages of opportunities in the next month to declare Iran is not in compliance or otherwise find a way out of the deal.
In a speech in early September, Haley decried the reality that the nuclear deal is used in the global community to focus on Iran’s nuclear activities and ignore the nation’s other nefarious actions, all in an effort to keep the deal.
“The international community has powerful incentives to go out of its way to assert that the Iranian regime is in ‘compliance’ on the nuclear side. Meanwhile, the UN is too reluctant to address the regime’s so-called non-nuclear violations,” said Haley at the time according to comments released by her office. “The result is that Iran’s military continues its march toward the missile technology to deliver a nuclear warhead. And the world becomes a more dangerous place.”
Haley also noted Trump can open the door to ending U.S. support for the agreement. “If the president finds that he cannot in good faith certify Iranian compliance, he would initiate a process whereby we move beyond narrow technicalities, and look at the big picture,” said Haley. “At issue is our national security interest. It’s past time we had an Iran nuclear policy that acknowledged that.”
But as of Tuesday, U.S. State Department spokesman Heather Nauert wasn’t tipping the hand of the Trump Administration. “The Iran review is still ongoing,” said Nauert in comments released by the State Department. “We will continue to follow the letter of the law, but we believe that Iran is in violation of the spirit of the law, and I’m not going to get ahead of what that review will contain and I’m not going to forecast it either.”
Meanwhile, Netanyahu’s position on this is clear. “In the case of Iran, it is not merely terror, it’s also the quest for nuclear weapons that concerns us, and should concern the entire international community,” he said Tuesday. “We understand the dangers of rogue nations having atomic bombs.”
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, September 13, 2017)