Israel Army Radio is reporting that Israel got the news of the status of the negotiations from the EU who is angry that US Secretary of State Kerry is making deals behind their backs:
According to EU officials, US Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, have discussed increasing the number of centrifuges which Iran would be permitted to keep. In exchange, the Iranians would undertake an obligation to bring their influence to bear in order to ensure quiet in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria.
European diplomats are quoted by Israeli officials as saying that the US in recent weeks has made significant concessions in its talks with Iran, so much so that it is willing to permit Tehran to operate 6,500 centrifuges while lifting sanctions that have hurt its economy this past decade.
According to scientists 6,500 centrifuges will still allow Iran to quickly generate weapons-grade nuclear fuel.
The Europeans have told the Israelis that these concessions were offered in exchange for Iranian promises to maintain regional stability. According to Army Radio, the EU is opposed to the proposed linkage between the nuclear issue and other geopolitical matters. In fact, the Europeans suspect that Washington is operating behind Brussels’ back and that Kerry has not bothered to keep them in the loop in his talks with Zarif.
Israel is concerned that the Obama administration’s willingness to allow Iran to keep centrifuges would in effect render Tehran a “nuclear threshold state,” enabling it to assemble a nuclear bomb within months if it so chooses. Such a scenario is unacceptable to the Israelis.
The Associated Press believes the
sell-out deal may be structured differently.
The Associated Press reported on Tuesday that US and Iranian negotiators have been discussing a compromise that could break the main impasse to an agreement over Iran’s capacity to enrich uranium. Iran has been adamant that it will not accept a major reduction to its current capacity of about 10,000 operational centrifuges. Meanwhile, the US and its allies have been pushing for less than 4,000, on the grounds that any greater capacity would allow Iran to enrich enough weapons-grade uranium for a bomb within a year, should Tehran decide to build a nuclear arsenal.
The possible compromise under consideration, according to the AP, would see most of the 10,000 centrifuges in operation left in place but reconfigured so that they would be less productive. One way of doing that would be to spin the centrifuges more slowly.
Iran made the offer to slow down the centrifuges last year and it was rejected but now that there is a March deadline and Obama is searching for a legacy it is being reconsidered.
Other measures would be agreed upon to reassure the west that Iran could not make a warhead quickly, such as reducing its stockpile of uranium hexafluoride gas – the form in which uranium can be enriched by centrifuge.
A nuclear Iran is not only a threat to Israel but thanks to a missile deal with Russia, a threat to Europe and the US mainland. Beyond the threat from Iran directly, as one of the largest supporter of terrorism in the world Iran may very well share a nuclear weapon with Hezbollah, ISIS, its on -again buddy Hamas, or one of the other terrorist groups it supports.
President Obama is willing to sacrifice our safety and the safety of much of the world to give him a legacy of being a peacemaker, but it is more likely that like Neville Chamberlain before him, this President’s legacy will be as an appeaser who created many more deaths than he tried to save.