Bennett Pans ‘Shorter and Weaker’ Iranian Nuclear Deal
Prime Minister warns agreement will expire in less than three years, allowing Tehran “stadiums of centrifuges.”
By Pesach Benson, United With Israel
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett panned the emerging Iranian nuclear deal as “shorter and weaker” during Sunday’s weekly cabinet meeting.
“We may see an agreement shortly. The new apparent agreement is shorter and weaker than the previous one,” he said.
Bennett pointed out that the original JCPOA agreement, signed in 2015, was an agreement for 10 years, as opposed to the two-and-a-half years of the deal now being discussed by negotiators in. “Restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program are expected to expire in 2025,” as it would with the first deal, he explained.
“Two things have happened since the original signing: The Iranians have made great strides in building their enrichment capability and time has passed,” the Israeli premier noted.
“If the world signs the agreement again – without extending the expiration date – then we are talking about an agreement that buys a total of two and a half years, after which Iran can and may develop and install advanced centrifuges, without restrictions. According to the agreement, this would mean ‘stadiums’ of centrifuges,” he cautioned.
In exchange for what amounts to a two-and-half-year slowdown, Iran will be poised to reap billions of dollars as sanctions come to an end. This money, Bennett warned, will be used to benefit Tehran’s regional proxies, such as Hamas, Hezbollah and the Houthis.
“The state of Israel is in any case preparing and is ready for the day after, in every parameter, so that we can know how to protect Israeli civilians by ourselves,” he said.
Israel’s primary concern with the emerging nuclear deal is that it will give Iran less than a year of breakout time. Unconfirmed reports indicate the agreement will set the amount of time Tehran needs to produce the amount of highly enriched uranium needed for a nuclear bomb to four to six months.
Washington has reportedly acknowledged to Israel that Iran is a “nuclear threshold state” in terms of uranium production and blamed former President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the JCPOA for Tehran’s advances.
U.S. officials reportedly stressed to Jerusalem that failing to revive the JCPOA would leave the Iranians weeks away from accumulating the materials needed for a nuclear bomb, as opposed to months away under the terms of the current negotiations.
While uranium needs to be only 3.67 percent pure to generate nuclear power, Iran has enriched its uranium stockpile to 60%, a degree of purity that no country without an atomic weapon has pursued. A nuclear bomb requires uranium to be enriched to 90% purity.
Israel also fears that a premature lifting of sanctions will enable Tehran to boost its support for its terror proxies across the Middle East.
The controversial Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) of 2015 promised Iran economic incentives in exchange for limits on its nuclear program. Former president Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the agreement in 2018. Negotiating a return to the nuclear agreement has long been a key foreign policy goal of U.S. President Joe Biden.
Israel, the Gulf states and Saudi Arabia oppose an American return to the JCPOA agreement.
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