Israeli Experts Voice Skepticism on Steps Against Iran

Nov 16, 2011 No Comments by

From Global Security Newswire
Israeli former officials and analysts are saying that international efforts appear unlikely to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear-weapon capability, despite concerns raised about the Middle Eastern nation’s atomic activities in an International Atomic Energy Agency report issued last week, Reuters reported on Tuesday (see GSN, Nov. 14).
The safeguards assessment from IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano expresses “serious concerns” that Iran is secretly moving to establish a nuclear-weapon capability (see GSN, Nov. 9). Iran has consistently denied assertions that its nuclear program is geared toward weapons development.
“Can this (IAEA) report create a new basis for increasing the pressure on Iran? There is no good reason for being optimistic,” Ephraim Kam, a former Israeli military intelligence officer, said during an event at Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies.
“Iran wants a bomb, or at least the capacity to make a bomb, and is willing to pay the price,” said Kam, now deputy head of the institute.
A number of event attendees suggested that Iran would press ahead in its nuclear efforts despite any potential new economic penalties, and none suggested that armed force against the nation’s atomic assets was probable.
“We have reached a limit in terms of sanctions,” said Pal Sidhu with the Center on International Cooperation at New York University. Iran possesses “a complete (nuclear) fuel cycle that is unlikely to be stopped only with outside technical sanctions,” he said (Dan Williams, Reuters, Nov. 15).
Speaking to CNN on Monday, Israeli President Shimon Peres urged governments to join in adopting “tighter economic sanctions (and) closer political pressure” on Iran, the Xinhua News Agency reported 
(Xinhua News Agency, Nov. 15).
The United Kingdom would not rule out potential armed action against Iran, Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Monday in remarks reported by the London Telegraph.
“We are not considering that at the moment. We are not calling or advocating military action. At the same time we say all options should remain in future,” Hague said.
“Of course we will also look over the coming months to increase the peaceful legitimate pressure on Iran as part of our dual track approach of being available for negotiations if they’re real negotiations, but at the same time placing more pressure on Iran through sanctions,” he said (London Telegraph, Nov. 14).
France, though, cautioned against attacking Iran, Agence France-Presse reported.
“It is clear that the IAEA report shows that Iran is making progress in its project to build a nuclear weapon. It is a major danger for the stability of the region and the world,” Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said on Monday.
Still, “a military intervention would be the worst thing and it would drag us into an uncontrollable spiral,” Juppe said.
Because Iran has “zero” interest resolving the dispute diplomatically, “we will reinforce our sanctions,” he said.
”We will ask the [European Investment Bank] to stop investing in Iran (Agence France-Presse/Defense News, Nov. 14).
Meanwhile, Iran rejected a report that it was receiving atomic and missile assistance from hundreds of North Korean specialists, the Yonhap News Agency reported on Tuesday.
“Iran’s nuclear technology is completely domestically made, thus no foreign experts are needed,” the Iranian Embassy in Seoul stated in an e-mail (Yonhap News Agency/Korea Times, Nov. 15).
Elsewhere, 175 Iranian activists in exile in a statement on Monday urged Iran to halt its uranium enrichment activities, which can yield civilian fuel as well as weapon material, the Wall Street Journal reported.
High-profile reformists inside Iran have viewed and approved of the statement, but the potential for reprisal prevented them from endorsing it publicly, according to one of the document’s authors (Farnaz Fassihi, Wall Street Journal, Nov. 15).

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Ron Ross worked as the first Sports Editor at WINTV. In Wollongong. He ran The Hamburger Hut an outreach and discipleship program for youth. He served with Youth With a Mission in Hawaii, Philippines and Australia. He was senior pastor of the Noosa Baptist Church, Queensland for 9 years. He reported news from Jerusalem for five years and is now the Middle East correspondent for United Christian Broadcasters and travels regularly preaching and teaching.
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