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Apr 26

Further to the conclusion of this post,

Iran Ready for a Nuclear Deal?

One can argue that this might in fact be a good time for the Iranians to back off. Sanctions are having real effects and will get worse unless…There is no practical need for Iran actually to move towards a real bomb now, nor to risk a strike by Israel, the US, the US/Israel, or whomever. They have the knowledge and the facilities to move ahead again fairly rapidly in the future if they decide the international situation is more favourable to them, and if they are willing then to risk the consequences of breaking any deal–e.g. amongst other things by limiting the effectiveness of inspectors, indeed maybe throwing them out.

Though one suspects any deal-breaking would be a more slow and ambiguous process, such as the one that has slowly, slowly got us to where we are now. Unless the need for weapons were seen as truly urgent.

Ali Khamenei Cunctator?

one finds rather a brave fellow (and, er, nuanced) in terms of taking on the head of government:


Asked whether 2012 is also decisive for Iran, [Israeli Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny] Gantz shies from the term. “Clearly, the more the Iranians progress the worse the situation is. This is a critical year, but not necessarily ‘go, no-go.’ The problem doesn’t necessarily stop on December 31, 2012. We’re in a period when something must happen: Either Iran takes its nuclear program to a civilian footing only or the world, perhaps we too, will have to do something. We’re closer to the end of the discussions than the middle.”

Gantz says the international pressure on Iran, in the form of diplomatic and economic sanctions, is beginning to bear fruit. “I also expect that someone is building operational tools of some sort, just in case. The military option is the last chronologically but the first in terms of its credibility. If it’s not credible it has no meaning. We are preparing for it in a credible manner. That’s my job, as a military man.”

Iran, Gantz says, “is going step by step to the place where it will be able to decide whether to manufacture a nuclear bomb. It hasn’t yet decided whether to go the extra mile.”

As long as its facilities are not bomb-proof, “the program is too vulnerable, in Iran’s view. If the supreme religious leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei wants, he will advance it to the acquisition of a nuclear bomb, but the decision must first be taken. It will happen if Khamenei judges that he is invulnerable to a response. I believe he would be making an enormous mistake, and I don’t think he will want to go the extra mile. I think the Iranian leadership is composed of very rational people. But I agree that such a capability, in the hands of Islamic fundamentalists who at particular moments could make different calculations, is dangerous.”..

Mark Collins is a prolific Ottawa blogger

4 Responses to “Mark Collins - “IDF chief to Haaretz: I do not believe Iran will decide to develop nuclear weapons””

  1. MarkOttawa Says:

    The general’s political boss responds:

    ‘Barak restates Israeli hard line on nuclear Iran

    Defence Minister Ehud Barak restated Israel’s fears of a nuclear-armed Iran on Thursday after his top general clashed with the government’s line by describing the Islamic republic as “very rational” and unlikely to build a bomb.

    Addressing foreign diplomats on Israel’s independence day, Barak said Iranian leaders were not “rational in the Western sense of the word - connoting the quest for status quo and the peaceful resolution of problems”.

    Believing otherwise “borders on blindness or irresponsibility”, said Barak, who branded Iran, with its religiously fuelled calls for the Jewish state’s demise, as seeking regional hegemony and being “undeterred by the apocalyptic”.

    While the speech reiterated international concerns that Iran’s civilian uranium enrichment programme has secret military designs, and Israel’s readiness to attack its foe pre-emptively, some of the language was unusually strong for Barak. A transcript circulated to the media had key passages underlined.,,’

    Mark Collins

  2. MarkOttawa Says:

    More on a possible compromise after all:

    “U.S. signals major shift on Iran nuclear program
    The Obama administration might support letting Iran continue enriching uranium up to 5% purity if it agrees to other U.N. restrictions.

    In what would be a significant concession, Obama administration officials say they could support allowing Iran to maintain a crucial element of its disputed nuclear program if Tehran took other major steps to curb its ability to develop a nuclear bomb.

    U.S. officials said they might agree to let Iran continue enriching uranium up to 5% purity, which is the upper end of the range for most civilian uses, if its government agrees to the unrestricted inspections, strict oversight and numerous safeguards that the United Nations has long demanded.

    Such a deal would face formidable obstacles. Iran has shown little willingness to meet international demands. And a shift in the U.S. position that Iran must halt all enrichment activities is likely to prompt strong objections from Israeli leaders; the probable Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney; and many members of Congress.

    But a consensus has gradually emerged among U.S. and other officials that Iran is unlikely to agree to a complete halt in enrichment. Maintaining an unconditional demand that it do so could make it impossible to reach a negotiated deal to stop the country’s nuclear program, thereby avoiding a military attack…”
    http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-iran-nuclear-20120428,0,353079.story

    Mark Collins

  3. MarkOttawa Says:

    As of April 30:

    “Experts Believe Iran Conflict Is Less Likely”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/30/world/middleeast/chances-of-iran-strike-receding-us-officials-say.html

    Mark Collins

  4. MarkOttawa Says:

    Plus from Tom Ricks:

    “Aid to Obama? Another Israeli security official speaks out against attacking Iran”
    http://ricks.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/04/30/aid_to_obama_another_israeli_security_official_speaks_out_against_attacking_iran

    Mark Collins

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