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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

David Ignatius, "Iran — the Next Stage": Israeli Advocates Are "Bombastic"

One week ago, addressing his Basij militia, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei declared:

"It came from the mouth of the rabid dog of the region -- Israel -- that Iran is a threat to the world! No, the fake regime Israel and its allies are the threat."

Khamenei went on to say:

"We want to have friendly relations with all nations, even the United States. We are not hostile to the American nation. They are like other nations in the world."

"Death to America,"his Basij militiamen responded.

Today, in his latest Washington Post opinion piece entitled "Iran — the next stage" (http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/david-ignatius-where-iran-nuclear-talks-go-next/2013/11/27/304f0afc-57a6-11e3-835d-e7173847c7cc_story.html?hpid=z2), David Ignatius, Obama's foreign policy cheerleader tells us that Israeli advocates are "bombastic." Ignatius concludes this flighty opinion piece, which is interesting primarily because it provides a window into what Obama is really thinking, by stating:

"As Washington pushes ahead to engagement with Tehran, U.S. officials understand they must reassure their Sunni Arab allies that they haven’t tilted toward Shiite, Persian Iran. The U.S. message, not well communicated so far, is that it seeks an equilibrium in the Sunni-Shiite schism. Regaining this balance means aggressive outreach, especially to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. As part of this effort, President Obama spoke Wednesday with Saudi King Abdullah, and more such contacts are planned.

A wild card in these negotiations is Israel. Obama has asked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to take a breather from his clamorous criticism and send to Washington a team that can explore with U.S. officials a sound end-state strategy. Perhaps the United States and Israel need a back channel, outside the bombastic pressure campaign by Israeli advocates.

Getting to 'yes' with Iran was difficult enough last weekend, but the truly hard part of these negotiations is just beginning."

Obama has decided to create a new "equilibrium" involving America's traditional Sunni allies in the Middle East - Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt and the UAE - and Shiite Iran? I am certain that King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is just tickled pink, but heck, with the flameout of Obamacare, America's president must seek some new means of establishing a legacy.

Israeli advocates are "bombastic"? And here I thought it was Khamenei who has been regularly threatening Israel - a "rabid dog," a "fake regime," a "cancerous tumor" that needs to be excised - with annihilation. Ignatius's choice of the word "bombastic" is also peculiar, given that it is the Islamic Republic of Iran that has been desperately seeking to build its first atomic bomb.

But are Israeli advocates indeed bombastic? Consider the guest op-ed of Yaakov Amidror, the former head of Israel's National Security Council, which appeared in yesterday's New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/28/opinion/the-iran-agreement-does-not-address-the-nuclear-threat.html?_r=0) and which states regarding the P5+1 agreement with Iran:

"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."

Bombast or common sense? You decide.

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