Israeli Security Experts Offer Divergent Views on Iran Nuclear Deal

Not All Agree With Benjamin Netanyahu's Assessment

getty images

By Nathan Jeffay

Published November 29, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 3 of 3)

Yadlin said that the agreement can only be weighed against two other possibilities: the absence of any agreement, and the draft agreement that was being discussed a few days earlier which was more favorable to Iran. The Geneva agreement is better than either of these alternatives, he said — even though he believes that it will only slightly set back the Iranian nuclear program.

“If there were not an agreement Iran would continue to enrich uranium to 20%; Iran would go on to install more centrifuges; and Iran would continue to advance with its plutonium program at Arak,” he said.

Regarding what some analysts see as the agreement’s shortcomings, he said: “We would have all been happy if this agreement now would have taken Iran backwards in accordance with the decisions of the [United Nations] Security Council, but we see it wasn’t possible.”

Yadlin believes that the Geneva deal would have been “very bad” if it were a permanent deal, but stresses that it is an interim deal. A permanent deal should look far better from Israel’s perspective, he said, and could lead to the removal of low-enriched uranium.

He rejected the concern that the interim agreement could morph in to something more permanent. “The final agreement will not be this agreement and there is no way that this agreement will be extended for another six months and another six months, said Yadlin. “Rather, if after six months there is no agreement the Americans will nullify the relaxation of sanctions.”

••

Soli Shahvar, one of the foremost Israel-based experts on Iranian politics, thinks that a permanent accord could harm Israeli interests by boosting Iranian-funded terrorists.

Increased Iranian prosperity as the result of a deal with the West would lead to Iran having more money to invest in groups like Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad, predicted Iranian-born Shahvar, director of the Ezri Center for Iran & Persian Gulf Studies at the University of Haifa.

“A byproduct of improving relations with Iran is giving them more possibility of increasing support for these organizations,” he said.

Shahvar thinks that while the West would continue to categorize these groups as terror organizations, it would oppose them less aggressively, in an unofficial move to “appease Iran.”

In contrast to Landau, he believes that Iran will stick to the rules during the interim period — in part to disprove Israeli claims that it is untrustworthy. “I don’t think they will be stupid enough to lose this opening given to them for six months,” Shahvar said. He expects Iran, in the short term, to even stop work in secret facilities that he believes exist.

What should Israel do during this period? It should soften criticism of the current agreement and lobby for a best-case scenario permanent agreement that prevents a nuclear military option; however, he finds it “hard to believe” that Iran will destroy any facilities that are already built. He thinks that a “surgical attack” by Israel could theoretically yield “some positive results,” but he is opposed because of what he considers the inevitable loss of civilian life.

••

For Mordechai Kedar, in Geneva the international community waved goodbye to a golden opportunity to end the Iranian regime.

“If sanctions remained, it may have led to the toppling of the regime, and now the regime can last forever,” said Kedar, who worked for 25 years in military intelligence, specializing in Islamists.

In his assessment, the Iranians “can cross the line whenever they want, and they are on the threshold of becoming a nuclear state.” The agreement slows their advance toward this nuclear line “but doesn’t take them backwards.”

Kedar thinks the deal will be ineffective for two reasons. First, he thinks there are undeclared facilities where Iran will continue to race toward a nuclear bomb despite the deal, and second, he thinks that provisions in the deal for inspections are hollow because it is easy to obfuscate and limit access. “What they show is what they show,” he said.

Kedar believes that in the current climate, Israeli diplomatic pressure on the West to shape the permanent deal that could follow the six-month interim period is “a waste of time.” Israel’s most promising option is sabotage, said Keder,. Though he didn’t specify particular operations, the 2010 Stuxnet virus, widely attributed to Israel and the United States, caused chaos at Iran’s Natanz plant, impairing uranium manufacture and temporarily stopping centrifuges.

Sabotage would not need to be cyber, in Kedar’s view. “If one morning we learn a reactor or plutonium facility blew up in a mysterious way, this could be done regardless of any agreement,” he said.

The other promising possibility, according to Kedar, relies on gathering intelligence to undermine the deal. “What Israel should do is increase its intelligence efforts to show the world over the next six months that Iran didn’t do what it said it would do.”

Contact Nathan Jeffay at jeffay@forward.com


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • The eggplant is beloved in Israel. So why do Americans keep giving it a bad rap? With this new recipe, Vered Guttman sets out to defend the honor of her favorite vegetable.
  • “KlezKamp has always been a crazy quilt of gay and straight, religious and nonreligious, Jewish and gentile.” Why is the klezmer festival shutting down now?
  • “You can plagiarize the Bible, can’t you?” Jill Sobule says when asked how she went about writing the lyrics for a new 'Yentl' adaptation. “A couple of the songs I completely stole." Share this with the theater-lovers in your life!
  • Will Americans who served in the Israeli army during the Gaza operation face war crimes charges when they get back home?
  • Talk about a fashion faux pas. What was Zara thinking with the concentration camp look?
  • “The Black community was resistant to the Jewish community coming into the neighborhood — at first.” Watch this video about how a group of gardeners is rebuilding trust between African-Americans and Jews in Detroit.
  • "I am a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man who was raised Catholic, but now considers himself a “common-law Jew.” We are raising our two young children as Jews. My husband's parents are still semi-practicing Catholics. When we go over to either of their homes, they bow their heads, often hold hands, and say grace before meals. This is an especially awkward time for me, as I'm uncomfortable participating in a non-Jewish religious ritual, but don't want his family to think I'm ungrateful. It's becoming especially vexing to me now that my oldest son is 7. What's the best way to handle this situation?" http://jd.fo/b4ucX What would you do?
  • Maybe he was trying to give her a "schtickle of fluoride"...
  • It's all fun, fun, fun, until her dad takes the T-Bird away for Shabbos.
  • "Like many Jewish people around the world, I observed Shabbat this weekend. I didn’t light candles or recite Hebrew prayers; I didn’t eat challah or matzoh ball soup or brisket. I spent my Shabbat marching for justice for Eric Garner of Staten Island, Michael Brown of Ferguson, and all victims of police brutality."
  • Happy #NationalDogDay! To celebrate, here's a little something from our archives:
  • A Jewish couple was attacked on Monday night in New York City's Upper East Side. According to police, the attackers flew Palestinian flags.
  • "If the only thing viewers knew about the Jews was what they saw on The Simpsons they — and we — would be well served." What's your favorite Simpsons' moment?
  • "One uncle of mine said, 'I came to America after World War II and I hitchhiked.' And Robin said, 'I waited until there was a 747 and a kosher meal.'" Watch Billy Crystal's moving tribute to Robin Williams at last night's #Emmys:
  • "Americans are much more focused on the long term and on the end goal which is ending the violence, and peace. It’s a matter of zooming out rather than debating the day to day.”
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.