Israeli Minister on Iran Proposal: It's a 'Joke'
Israel's Minister of Intelligence, Yuval Steinitz, called a new proposal for a deal on Iran's nuclear program a "joke," according to the Jerusalem Post on Wednesday. The terms of the deal, reported by the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday evening, include lifting sanctions on Iran in return for ceasing uranium enrichment at 20%, closing a hidden enrichment facility near Qom, and allowing more aggressive international inspections.
"Closing the Qom facility means Iran will be able to produce five instead of six nuclear bomb[s] in the first year, and giving up enrichment at 20% is less meaningful now that Iran has 20,000 centrifuges," Steinitz said, according to the Post. " He added that Israel would agree to a deal allowing Iran to use nuclear energy to generate electricity, but would not permit any enrichment of uranium isotopes within Iran itself.
Former U.S. Ambassador to the UN John Bolton had a similar reaction to the proposed deal on Tuesday, telling Breitbart News that the terms were "complete bullshit" and "pure propaganda." With the Obama administration committed to a policy of engagement with the new "moderate" administration of Iran's President Hassan Rouhani, however, a gap between U.S. and Israeli policy may continue to widen.
That gap seemed evident in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's remarks to the UN General Assembly on Oct. 1, in which he warned that Rouhani's overtures were likely a ploy to fool the international community and buy time for additional nuclear enrichment. He added that Israel was prepared to act by itself if neccesary: "If Israel is forced to stand alone, Israel will stand alone," he told the delegates.