Israel Rips U.S. Deal With Iran
The emerging U.S.-led deal that would allow Iran to enrich uranium at a limited rate, with the restrictions easing over time, poses a “great danger” to the Western world and Israel from a “messianic, apocalyptic” nation, Israel’s defense minister declared Monday.
Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon made the comments as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, against the wishes of President Obama, prepares for a trip to Washington next week to explain in an address to both houses of Congress why he is against the negotiations.
The prime minister’s aides have claimed Israel was being left out of the information loop regarding the talks. Their claims were supported by a European official who told the New York Times that U.S. negotiator Wendy Sherman warned him not to share information with the Israelis because “the details could be twisted to undermine a deal.” Since then, Obama administration officials have acknowledged the limiting of information-sharing with Israel.
Currently, negotiators are discussing a compromise of allowing 6,500 centrifuges with strict controls in place for 10 years and a gradual lifting over five years, the Associated Press reported. The easing could bring the number of centrifuges back up to the current 10,000, the news wire reported.
But Israel contends the impending deal leaves the door open for Iran to covertly gain nuclear-weapons capacity, because the final stages of uranium enrichment needed to create fuel for a weapon can be done in small spaces that can be easily hidden.
Netanyahu on Friday said he was “astonished” that the Obama administration continues diplomatic talks with Tehran after the International Atomic Energy Agency acknowledged again in its latest report that Iran is likely building a nuclear bomb.
Some Democratic members of Congress have said they will boycott Netanyahu’s March 3 speech, and the Obama administration has already said the president will not meet with him, insisting it would be inappropriate so close to Israel’s March 17 elections.
“The majority of informed Americans view Israel as the ‘canary in our coalmine’ and share his concerns over growing existential threats against the United States, Israel, thousands of Jews residing in the Diaspora and millions of innocent Christians in Muslim lands,” Epstein wrote.