Nuclear deal would leave Iran 2 to 3 weeks from The Bomb, says former senior UN nuclear official.

iran-nuclear-graphic(Washington, D.C.) — The Obama administration and the rest of the P5+1 leaders are adamant that the interim nuclear deal on the table is:

A) the best that can be accomplished; and

B) will make it much harder for Iran to build the Bomb.

Are either of these things true?

Not according to a former senior IAEA nuclear official who says Iran could break the deal at any time and be just two to three weeks away from building operational nuclear warheads.

“One day before Iran began implementing its nuclear deal with world powers, a former United Nations watchdog said the Islamic Republic would only be two to three weeks away from a nuclear weapon if the agreement were broken,” reports Haaretz.

“Olli Heinonen, former deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, appeared on a Sunday radio show, where he discussed recent remarks from Iran’s top nuclear negotiator,” the Israeli daily newspaper noted. “Abbas Araghchi said last week that Iran could resume enriching uranium to levels prohibited by the nuclear deal in one day’s time. Heinonen told Aaron Klein’s WABC Radio show that it would take Iran ‘two, three weeks to have enough uranium hexafluoride high-enriched for one single weapon.’”….

“If [Iran] in reality [breaks the deal] tomorrow, they still have quite a substantial stock of uranium hexafluoride, which is enriched to 20 percent,” said Heinonen. “So if this all happens in the next, let’s say, weeks, this is really true. They can start to produce 20-percent enriched uranium….They have to put perhaps some 6,000 centrifuges to work in this kind of a mode.

“If they do that, which they can technically do, it will take certainly a little bit more than one night to do. But then once they have sorted it out, it would take about two, three weeks to have enough uranium hexafluoride high-enriched for one single weapon,” Heinonen added.

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Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog

Fmr. senior Israeli official writes oped for New York Times: “A Most Dangerous Deal: The Iran Agreement Does Not Address the Nuclear Threat.”

NYT_home_bannerYaakov Amidror stepped down last month as Israel’s National Security Advisor. He was — and remains — one of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s most trusted advisors.

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, the New York Times published an op-ed by him. It was an important message to the U.S. and the Western world, but it may very well have been missed because of the holidays.

Here are critical excerpts. I commend the entire column to your attention.

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“Just after the signing ceremony in Geneva on Sunday, President Hassan Rouhani of Iran declared that the world had recognized his country’s ‘nuclear rights.’

He was right.

The agreement Iran reached with the so-called P5+1 — the United States, Britain, China, France and Russia, plus Germany — does not significantly roll back Iran’s nuclear capabilities. Iran made only cosmetic concessions to preserve its primary goal, which is to continue enriching uranium. The agreement represents a failure, not a triumph, of diplomacy. With North Korea, too, there were talks and ceremonies and agreements — but then there was the bomb. This is not an outcome Israel could accept with Iran.       

Harsh sanctions led Iran to the negotiating table. The easing of those sanctions will now send companies from around the world racing into Iran to do business, which will lead to the eventual collapse of the sanctions that supposedly remain.       

Might economic relief, reduced isolation and new goodwill lead to greater pressure on the Iranian regime to reach a fuller agreement later? I doubt it: As recently as last week, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, denounced Israel as a “rabid dog,” a jab that Western leaders failed to condemn.       

The deal will only lead Iran to be more stubborn. Anyone who has conducted business or diplomatic negotiations knows that you don’t reduce the pressure on your opponent on the eve of negotiations. Yet that is essentially what happened in Geneva.       

Iran will not only get to keep its existing 18,000 centrifuges; it will also be allowed to continue developing the next generation of centrifuges, provided it does not install them in uranium-enrichment facilities. Which is to say: Its uranium-enrichment capability is no weaker.       

Under the deal Iran is supposed to convert its nearly 200 kilograms of uranium enriched to 20 percent purity — a short step away from bomb-grade material — into material that cannot be used for a weapon. In practice, this concession is almost completely meaningless.       

The agreement does not require Iran to reduce its stockpile of uranium enriched to 3.5 percent, not even by one gram. Transforming unprocessed uranium into 3.5 percent-enriched uranium accounts for more than two-thirds of the time needed to transform unprocessed uranium into weapons-grade material. And given the thousands of centrifuges Iran has, the regime can enrich its stock of low-level uranium to weapons-grade quality in a matter of months. Iran already has enough of this material to make four bombs.

The Geneva deal, in short, did not address the nuclear threat at all. This was Iran’s great accomplishment. No wonder Mr. Rouhani boasted that the world had recognized Iran’s nuclear rights.

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Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog

“Iran two weeks away from weapons-grade uranium”: former IAEA senior official.

Delegates from the P5+1 and Iran meet in Geneva, at the start of two days of talks regarding Tehran's nuclear program, Tuesday, October 15, 2013 (photo credit: AP/Fabrice Coffrini)

Delegates from the P5+1 and Iran meet in Geneva, at the start of two days of talks regarding Tehran’s nuclear program, Tuesday, October 15, 2013 (photo credit: AP/Fabrice Coffrini)

“Iran could produce enough weapons-grade uranium to build an atomic weapon within two weeks and has, “in a certain way,” already reached the point of no return in its nuclear program, a former senior International Atomic Energy Association official said Monday,” reports the Times of Israel.

“I believe that if certain arrangements are done, it could even go down to two weeks. So there are a lot of concerns out there that Iran can hopefully now address, in this new phase, both at the P5+1 [talks between Tehran and six world powers] and with the IAEA,” former IAEA deputy director Olli Heinonen said, confirming a report released last week by the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security, which stated Iran could muster enough uranium for a bomb by converting all of its 20-percent enriched stockpile within 1 to 1.6 months.

Excerpts from the Times story:

  • Earlier on Monday, IAEA Director Yukiya Amano met in Vienna with Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi, Tehran’s top nuclear negotiator, ahead of two days of technical talks between Iranian representatives and the UN’s nuclear watchdog, Amano described his meeting as important in addressing ‘the outstanding issues regarding Iran’s nuclear program.’ Speaking to journalists on a conference call organized by The Israel Project, Heinonen contrived to sound optimistic and pessimistic at the same time.”
  • “They are forward looking,” he about the Iranian negotiators. “And I think they have realized that they don’t get away from this situation unless they answer properly the questions raised by the IAEA and concerns raised by the international community. So I’m to a certain degree hopeful. But we have to make sure that everything is covered.”
  • “Asked specifically if Iran had passed the ‘point of no return’ in its nuclear program, Heinonen, today a senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, replied, “Yes, in a certain way. But we have to remember what are the capabilities of Iran. People have slightly different definitions of breakout capability.”
  • In his assessment, which appears to concur with that of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a critical level is reached when the Iranians have enriched enough uranium to weapons grade, in the form of hexafluoride gas enrichment, to create a nuclear bomb.
  • “But you still don’t have a nuclear weapon,” Heinonen added. Preparing the highly enriched uranium for a nuclear bomb would take another month or two, “assuming that someone has all the knowledge.” After that, assembling an actual nuclear weapon that can be delivered with a ballistic missile would take perhaps another year, he said.
  • Iran continues to install hundreds of new advanced centrifuges every month, drastically reducing the so-called breakout time it would require in order to produce weapons-grade uranium if it decided to do so, he said.
  • Israel has called for Iran to be stripped of all enrichment capability, saying even low-grade uranium could be made suitable for a nuclear weapon in a short time with enough centrifuges running. “Regarding Iran, we are not impressed by the discussion surrounding the issue of 20% enrichment,” Netanyahu said Sunday, referring to reports that Tehran has been insisting on retaining the ability to enrich uranium to that level. “Its importance is superfluous as a result of the improvements the Iranians have made in the past year, which allow them to jump over the barrier of 20% enrichment and proceed directly from 3.5% enrichment to 90% within weeks, weeks at most.”

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Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog

Senior Israeli minister: Iran is on course to develop a nuclear bomb in 6 months: Does that mean Israel is preparing to strike? (Listen to “Damascus Countdown” as an audiobook.)

damascuscountdown-audiobook>> Senior Israeli minister: Iran is on course to develop a nuclear bomb in 6 months

(Washington, D.C.) — With the eyes of the world riveted on Syria, Iran and Israel — and interest in the current crisis, the prospect of a possible coming larger war, and the prophecies of Isaiah 17 & Jeremiah 49 concerning the future of Damascus growing — I’m getting emails, Facebook comments and Tweets asking me many questions about my recent novel, Damascus Countdown. It’s encouraging to see people so engaged in the book and the scenario it portrays, and curious about what the future really holds.

That said, not everyone who is interested in such things has the time to sit down read a work of fiction given their already busy lives.

So I’m very grateful to Brilliance Audio for producing Damascus Countdown — and all of my works of fiction and non-fiction — as audiobooks.

These audiobooks are available in abridged and unabridged formats, on CD, on MP3, and versions that can be immediately downloaded onto your iPod, or into iPhone, Android or other smart phones.

I love listening to all kinds of audio books, fiction and non-fiction, on my phone, whether I’m doing errands, driving long distances, on an airplanes (and I do a lot of flying), or on vacation.

If you haven’t listened to one of my books on audio yet, Damascus Countdown might be a good place to start.

You can find my audio books — produced by Brilliance — at your favorite local book retailer, and/or online through retailers such as:

>> Podcast #8: Joel addresses Iran Alive Ministries Banquet in Dallas, TX, on Jeremiah 49:34-39 and the future of Iran (9/13/13).


Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog