A positive move by the Prime Minister which is likely to strengthen Israel’s position.
Israel’s policy has always been that Iran must not be allowed to retain any enrichment capacity. Zero enrichment, zero centrifuges.
In fact this was one of the linchpins of Netanyahu’s speech before the Congress. One of the main reasons why he lambasted the negotiations was because they would allow Iran to have limited enrichment capacity on its soil.
However, two days after his election as Prime Minister, in an interview with MSNBC, Netanyahu suddenly changed course.
According to the JTA, quoting the MSNBC interview:
In the MSNBC interview, however, he made a significant concession, saying Israel could tolerate a limited uranium enrichment capacity for Iran, although with a number lower than the 6,500 reported to be part of an emerging deal.
“A smaller number is something Israel and its Arab neighbors wouldn’t love but could live with,” he said.
By the look of things, not only Netanyahu’s Congress speech failed to convince any Congressmen to change their mind regarding the Iran deal, but as it turns out the only person who seems to have changed their stance towards the Iran negotiations since then is Prime Minister Netanyahu himself.
Welcome to the world of Realpolitik Mr Netanyahu. No one wants the Iranian regime to have nuclear weapons. But your zero enrichment demand was so unrealistic that it hurt Israel’s credibility.
And no, limited enrichment capacity under tough inspections will not allow Iran to have nuclear weapons as soon as it chooses. Robert Einhorn, one of the world’s foremost experts in this subject explains succinctly why in this op-ed.
For for the record, your truly and Brigadier General Shlomo Brom were the first Israeli specialists of this topic to have the guts to go on the record as far back as in October 2012 to state that Israel could live with limited enrichment on Iranian soil. This was not an easy statement for two Israelis to make as back then Ahmadinejad was still in office and we were still being subjected to his vicious anti-Israel rhetoric.
The situation in Yemen is deteriorating. The Shia Houthi rebels are making advances in their battle
The flag of Yemen
against the elected Sunni president Abd Rabbu Hadi.
The Financial Times interviewed its Persian Gulf correspondent Simeon Kerr about the conflict.
One of the things he addresses is how some Yemenis are discussing the idea of Yemen splitting up again, to North and South, as was the case until 1990. Until then there was North and the Communist South Yemen.
Today’s warring factions are mainly the Sunnis and the Zaidi Shia. The Sunni side, which are Saudi backed are mainly concentrated in the South of Yemen. The Zaidi Shia reportedly supported by Iran are based in the North.
So if Yemen is going to split again, this time instead of using geographical terms (North and South) why not become franchised. Something like “Saudi Yemen” and “Iranian Yemen”. Just a thought.
You can listen to the entire 7 minutes podcast here
A new row has broken out between the Netanyahu and Obama administrations.
Former head of the Mossad Meir Dagan. Source
According to the Guardian:
The US has accused Israel of spying on international negotiations over Iran’s nuclear programme.
Meanwhile according to the Wall Street Journal which first broke this story, its not just the alleged spying thats really upsetting the Obama administration:
“It is one thing for the U.S. and Israel to spy on each other. It is another thing for Israel to steal U.S. secrets and play them back to U.S. legislators to undermine U.S. diplomacy,” said a senior U.S. official briefed on the matter.
This new story reminded me of a quote which I read, by Meir Dagan the former chief of the Mossad.
In an interview with the Yediot Ahronot newspaper on the 27th of February he stated:
“What message does it send when our prime minister says that we don’t need information from the talks and that we have our own sources? Is he implying that we are spying on the United States?”
What this statement possibly tells us is that there were already concerns in Israel that Netanyahu’s statements alone, for whatever reason, could make the Americans think that Israel was spying on them.
The fact that this concern was aired in Israel 3 weeks before the Obama administration made the accusations is certainly noteworthy.
These are just assumptions. But what is not an assumption is that every week many of us think Israel – US government relations can’t get any worst, and every week reality proves us wrong.
This has got to stop.
Happy Nowruz, in Hebrew. Its also celebrated here in Israel by Kurds and Persians.
Today is Nowruz. Its the first day of spring and the beginning of a new year in the Persian calendar.
This festival is celebrated not just in Iran, but also by Kurds everywhere and in lands as far away as Kazakhstan and India.
I wish that in the year ahead, the animosity between the Iranian government and Israel ends. I also hope and pray that the people of Israel and Palestine will move closer to peace.
OK, NOW PUMP UP THE VOLUME ON YOUR COMPUTER!!
Yes, I mean YOU.
Its time for another Nowruz tradition, which is to dance and be happy. This is a fantastic Nowruz song by the UK-based Iranian band AJAM. LOVE IT!
Republican Senator Tom Cotton (above) wrote the letter to the Supreme Leader of Iran. Picture: WIkipedia
47 Republican Senators recently signed a letter which warned the supreme leader of Iran that:
any deal negotiated by the current White House could be reversed by a new president “with the stroke of a pen’’ in as little as 22 months.
In other words: Dear Mr Khamenei, if you reach a deal with the current U.S President (Obama), such a deal could be considered as meaningless to the next leader of the United States.
Many are wondering what impact this latest development could have inside Iran.
In my opinion, it could end up strengthening the voice of those inside Iran who want a deal with the U.S.
It could also increase the credibility of Obama as someone Iran could reach a deal with.
My logic goes as follows:
Inside Iran, especially to those surrounding the supreme leader, it is most probably becoming increasingly clear what massive pressure Obama is facing at home. How his rivals are trying their level best to scuttle a deal with Iran.
More importantly, it is most probably becoming clear in Tehran how Obama is fighting tooth and nail to keep the chances of a deal alive. How he is going out of his to defend the negotiations, despite the massive and unending pressure.
And this could lead to the conclusion in Iran that:
Look at Obama’s efforts. He is someone we could do business with. He is our last chance to reach a deal to end the sanctions. It’s unlikely that someone like Obama will come to power in the U.S any time soon. So it’s now or never.
Prime Minister Netanyahu just finished his speech at the Congress.
As I have stated before I respect and support his right to speak anywhere he wishes, but at a reasonable cost. His decision to sideline the President of the US so he can speak at the Congress could be too costly and detrimental to the interests of U.S – Israel relations.
Now that he has spoken, I have the following questions to ask:
1 – How many Congressmen/women did Netanyahu convince with his speech? 10, 20, 50?
This is an important question to ask, as the state of Israel has just taken a great risk by side lining President of America, for the sake of this speech. The goal was to convince Congressmen/women to vote against a deal with Iran. So did Netanyahu achieve this goal? How many Congressmen/women did he convince?
2 – What if Khamenei says no to a deal?
We have to remember that Netanyahu took the great risk of alienating the President of the United States for the sake of his speech, before Khamenei has even accepted the current deal. What if after all this, Khamenei says no to a deal? That he did not want a deal after all?
I agree with Netanyahu that Iran should stop calling for the annihilation of the state of Israel. Its repulsive and highly offensive to the citizens of this country.
The citizens of Israel deserve an answer for Question 1. Additionally, if Iran leader Khamenei ultimately says no to a deal, then as an Israeli tax payer, I will want my money back. Millions of Shekels would have been spent on this trip for nothing.
I don’t want the current rulers of Iran to have a nuclear weapon. Not for a second. Not even for a nanosecond. Never. No, no, no, no, a thousand times NO to a nuclear armed Islamic Republic of Iran.
But at the same time, I don’t agree with the way Netanyahu has been managing the Iran question on behalf of Israel and Israelis. I know he is doing his job, but his method is causing damage to the credibility of Israel’s legitimate concerns regarding why it does not want the current rulers of Iran to have a nuclear weapon.
In my recent interview with SKY news, I have explained why.