by David Bedein
Jerusalem - The talks at the headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna ended in a draft agreement according to which Iran would transfer most of the uranium in its possession for enrichment outside its borders.
The fact that this refers to “most of the uranium” and not all of it, leaves a breach for a thief to slip through. Who can know for certain and who in Iran can force the regime to adhere to the Vienna agreement? The “small quantity” of uranium can be moved from one nuclear site to another and, at most by an optimistic forecast, the implementation of the agreement can somewhat delay the production of the doomsday weapon.
The news that Iran would hand over most of the low-grade enriched uranium in its possession for enrichment outside its borders was received by Israel as another Iranian victory, which would bring Tehran another step closer to the bomb.
It has not been lost on all Middle Eastern observers that Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s strategic objective is to develop nuclear weapons in order to become a regional power that can dictate the course of events in the Middle East.
His regime is serious, determined and cunning and will not give up such a supreme objective just because the enlightened world demands that it honor a previous commitment, which was given when Iran joined the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Officially, Israel has refrained from commenting on reports about a possible agreement with Iran, but behind the scenes, Jerusalem is following developments with concern and suspicion.
Israeli officials consider such an agreement as no more than an Iranian tactical move to buy more time and relieve the pressure.
Israel does not believe that Iran will agree to the conditions that the U.S., Russia and France have set, and believes that it will continue its effort to become a nuclear superpower. Israelis have little trust in the chairman of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed El-Baradei, who is involved in the talks.
Evidence of this suspicion could be heard in the statements that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak made yesterday during their meeting with Ms. Susan Rice, the United States ambassador to the United Nations.
Mr. Barak claimed that the superpowers must continue to keep track of Iran’s efforts to obtain nuclear weapons.
“The Iranians have misled the West in the past,” Barak said, pointing out preparations must continue for the imposition of severe sanctions on the Ayatollahs’ regime if it should turn out within several months that the Iranians are not cooperating fully with the international community.
Mr. Barak suggested to Ms. Rice that no alternative, including a military attack, could be ruled out, even if an agreement should be signed in the end, but it is found that Iran has tricked the West once again.
Israeli officials also remind the world that a uranium-enrichment compound, which was discovered in Qom. This stems from the belief, which the U.S. intelligence community shares, that these installations are only part of a more comprehensive network that the Iranians are hiding.
Barak added, in any case, Israel is not taking any option off the table.
View the original article in the Philadelphia Bulletin