Putin and Iran: Israel’s $2.6 Billion for a Nuclear Strike

Iran and Israel’s $2.6 Billion for a Nuclear Strike


Howard Adelman

In the blog sent out by Dow Marmur today that I received an hour ago, he discussed the published rumor or deliberate leak by the government of Israel that it has set aside billions of shekels (10) to finance a possible strike on Iran, implying that Israel planned to go ahead with the strike without American involvement. Dow envisioned three scenarios:

1. The least likely: the leak was simply theatre, in which Yaalon’s second insult directed at the American Defence Minister was part of the act, to convince Iran that Israel carried the big stick if Iran started procrastinating in reducing its nuclear program. In that scenario, Dow wrote that the Iranians may be part of the theatre for they would be too knowledgeable to be taken in by such a ruse and “thus remain as smiling sweetly and as steely intransigent as they’ve been hitherto.”

2. The most ominous: Israel may indeed bomb Iran with catastrophic results for Israel, Iran and the whole Middle East.

3. Business as usual: Yaalon is a straight shooter and is telling it as it is..

I want to suggest another answer. First, it depends to some degree on knowing that Iran is cooperating fully according to the first interim agreement and is NOT “smiling sweetly” while they remain as “steely intransigent as they’ve been hitherto”.  According to the Institute for Science and International Security 20 March Report from Washington written by the Director General updating everyone on the “voluntary measures” that Iran obligated itself to undertake as part of the Joint Plan of Action that took effect on 20 January of this year, Iran was to take no further steps to improve its nuclear production facilities or enrich any uranium further and was to begin a process of reducing it nuclear capability in return for an easing of the boycott.

IAEA Report: Status of Iran’s Nuclear Programme in relation to the Joint Plan of Action[/url]

The Report unequivocally states that Iran has NOT enriched any more uranium above 5%, has NOT carried out any reprocessing and enrichment in any of its other nuclear facilities, has NOT operated its cascades in an interconnected configuration, and has NOT carried out further improvements in its Fuel Enrichment Plant, Fordow or Arak. Iran has diluted almost 75 kg of enriched uranium from 20% to no more than 5% and fed a further almost 32 kg for conversion to uranium oxide. Iran has also fully conformed to the continuing plans for further decommissioning of much of its 20% enriched uranium by providing updated detailed design information re the IR-40 Reactor. Iran began the preliminary steps needed to draft a Safeguards Agreement while it continues utilizing the safeguard practices in place, has, as agreed, continued the construction of the plant for converting 5% U-235 to uranium oxide, has provided access to international inspectors of its uranium mine and mill at Gechine, daily access to Natanz and Fordow, and managed access to centrifuge assembly and rotor production workshops as well as storage facilities.

So what is the meaning of this nonsense about Iran remaining steely intransigent! Iran has been cooperating fully under the terms of the interim agreement? So why is Israel NOW leaking plans to devote $2.9 billion dollars for the cost of bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities?

As Barak Ravid reported in Haaretz, “Netanyahu tells IDF: Get ready to strike Iran during course of 2014” and has earmarked $2.6 billion (sic!) in preparation for a possible attack. I suggest the following. It is not theatre – easily tested. It has to do with the follow-up after 20 July when a full agreement is to be in place. With the events in Crimea, the West has lost Putin as an active partner in pushing the best agreement possible. Further, as indicated by Yaalon’s insults directed at America, the USA has taken the military option almost totally off the table in dealing with Russia (and presumably with Iran), not simply in dealing with the fait accompli of Crimea, but to de-escalate the rhetoric and not provide Russia with an excuse to invade eastern Ukraine under the pretext of stirred up ferment by Russian bully boys in the eastern regions or provinces (oblasts) of Ukraine east of the Dnieper River or the Donbas, namely Donetsk and Kharkiv and possibly Luhansk.

Whether leaving the stick on the floor rather than waving it in the air through NATO may or may not be the best policy to deter Russia and, alternatively, invite Russia’s continuing engagement in de-escalation, Israel believes it needs to wave the big stick to keep Iran on course without continuing Russian pressure. The danger of forming a Russian-Iranian axis is real and the Israeli government sees its action as a threat so that Iran continues its path in throwing off the bad habits of the previous regime. Iran’s practices in cooperation and in shutting down an extremist media outlet critical of Iran’s nuclear cooperation with the international community seems to provide a signal that Iran is continuing on the cooperation course even though Russia will likely be out of the pressure game.

As America sees it, the real rewards and the least risk of a conflagration comes through the economic big stick and not through military big sticks. Israel, from its own perspective, disagrees that this is sufficient. Hence the threat and the $2.9 billion.

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