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Netanyahu: Iran Is a Bigger Threat Than ISIS

October 26, 2014

“They set a net for my steps; my soul was bowed down.  They dug a pit in my way, but they have fallen into it themselves.”  (Psalm 57:6)

As the world turns its attention to the fighting in Syria and the Islamic State (ISIS), the November 24th final agreement between world powers and Iran regarding its nuclear energy program is fast approaching.

Last Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stressed the urgency of ensuring that a proper decision is made regarding Iran’s nuclear capacity, calling the Iranian nuclear threat greater than that posed by ISIS.

Netanyahu stressed that any agreement that leaves Iran—which has been linked to numerous anti-West and anti-Israel terrorist attacks—as a nuclear threshold state with centrifuges, will mean that it is able to complete construction of a nuclear bomb at will.

Netanyahu-General Assemby_nuclear Iran_red line

In 2012, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the general debate of the sixty-seventh session of the General Assembly, drawing a red line for Iran’s capacity to build a nuclear bomb.  That red line has not changed since Iran has threatened Israel with annihilation many times.  Netanyahu contends that “nothing could imperil the world more than a nuclear-armed Iran” and that a nuclear-armed Iran would set off an nuclear arms race in the already volatile Middle East.

Speaking at an event honoring Israel’s former prime minister, Yitzhak Shamir, Netanyahu said, “This is a threat to the entire world, and, first and foremost, this is a threat to us.”

“Today, we are facing the danger of an agreement [between world powers and Iran] that would leave Iran as a nuclear threshold state, with thousands of centrifuges with which it could produce material for a nuclear bomb within a short period of time,” the prime minister said.

Yuval Steinitz, Minister of Intelligence and Strategic Affairs

Yuval Steinitz, Minister of International Relations, Intelligence, and Strategic Affairs

In an op-ed in the New York Times, International Relations, Intelligence and Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz wrote that “Israel is deeply concerned about the trajectory of the ongoing negotiations,” adding that the talks were “moving in the wrong direction, especially on the core issue of uranium enrichment.”

He warned against any agreement with Iran saying, “Iran has softened its inflammatory anti-Western rhetoric and shown some flexibility on less important issues but we must not be duped by these gestures.  President Obama must stand by his declaration that no deal with Iran is better than a bad deal.”

“A bad deal would pave the road to nuclear proliferation and herald the dawn of a nuclear arms race in the unstable Middle East,” he said.  “Other countries in the region will rush to build equivalent enrichment programs, which the international community will no longer be able to resist in good conscience, and which will drastically increase the risk of nuclear weapons falling into the hands of radical Islamists.”

Meanwhile, Yukiya Amano, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said that he could not guarantee that Iran’s atomic energy program is entirely peaceful.  (Times of Israel)

He also admitted that his agency has made little headway in its quest to get Iran to implement the nuclear transparency measures it had agreed to in an earlier deal that was to have been carried out by late August.

Speaking before a conference at IAEA headquarters with regard to nuclear safeguards, he said the UN agency was not able “to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran.”  (Reuters)

In other words, the United Nations cannot verify whether or not Iran is working to construct a bomb.

Yukiya Amano, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

Yukiya Amano, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

Israel Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon in an interview last week with Charlie Rose said that Iran is no more than one year away from the development of its first bomb and revealed that they already possess the delivery system, which is not being discussed in the negotiations.  

What is being discusses is how many centrifuges Iran is allowed to have and its indigenous capability to enrich uranium.

Regarding the efforts of the US in these negotiations, Ya’alon stated, “We appreciate very much the common objective that by one way or another this military nuclear project should be stopped.  But we are afraid that we might have bad deal, and we claim that no deal is better than bad deal.”

Ya’alon says that even one centrifuge in Iran is a bad deal and confirmed that the red line for Israel to strike is still the same as it was a year ago—250 kilograms of 20% enriched Uranium—which is enough to fuel one bomb.


U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel (left), and Israeli Minister of Defense Moshe Ya’alon (right) at the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., Oct. 21, 2014.

And to those who say that Israel can only delay Iran’s nuclear potential but not take it out, the Defense Minister reminded Rose that “even members of Israeli cabinet argued in 1981 when we decided to take out Osirak [nuclear facility] in Iraq—they said they might get another reactor from the French at that time, so in four months or one year they might have a renewed facility—and as well as we know, it didn’t happen.”

It didn’t happen because Prime Minister Menachem Begin ordered a surprise attack named Operation Babylon.  On June 7, 1981, Israeli Air Force heavily bombed Iraq’s nuclear reactor that it had purchased from France and which was still under construction.

This military action established the Begin Doctrine, outlining Israel’s preventive strike and counter-proliferation policy.  The document states, “On no account shall we permit an enemy to develop weapons of mass destruction against the people of Israel.  We shall defend the citizens of Israel in good time and with all the means at our disposal.”

Applying this doctrine to the current Iranian threat, Ya’alon affirmed that “at the end, we understand that Israel should be ready to defend itself by itself.”

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