UN chief denounces threats to destroy Israel, Holocaust denial
At the Non Aligned Summit in Tehran, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said “I strongly reject threats by any member state to destroy another or outrageous attempts to deny historical facts such as the Holocaust…Claiming that Israel does not have the right to exist or describing it in racist terms is not only wrong but undermines the very principle we all have pledged to uphold.”
Report on Iran Nuclear Work Puts Israel in a Box
JERUSALEM — For Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the International Atomic Energy Agency on Thursday offered findings validating his longstanding position that while harsh economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation may have hurt Iran, they have failed to slow Tehran’s nuclear program. If anything, the program is speeding up.
• Document: International Atomic Energy Agency Report on Iran
• Inspectors Confirm New Work by Iran at Secure Nuclear Site (August 31, 2012)
But the agency’s report has also put Israel in a corner, documenting that Iran is close to crossing what Israel has long said is its red line: the capability to produce nuclear weapons in a location invulnerable to Israeli attack.
With the report that the country has already installed more than 2,100 centrifuges inside a virtually impenetrable underground laboratory, and that it has ramped up production of nuclear fuel, officials and experts here say the conclusions may force Israel to strike Iran or concede it is not prepared to act on its own.
…. American officials have repeatedly tried to assure the Israelis that they have the country’s back — and to remind them that Israel does not have the ability, by itself, to destroy the facility, built beneath a mountain outside Qum. The United States does have weaponry that it believes can demolish the lab, but in Mr. Obama’s judgment there is still what the White House calls “time and space” for diplomacy, sanctions and sabotage, a combination the Israelis say has been insufficient.
“They can’t do it right without us,” a former adviser to Mr. Obama said recently. “And we’re trying to persuade them that a strike that just drives the program more underground isn’t a solution; it’s a bigger problem. …
Encountering Peace: Nukes out of the box
By GERSHON BASKIN
The repercussions of an Israeli attack are far beyond the ability of any expert to predict.
Baskin warns against a unilateral Israeli attack on Iran and advises Israel opening its nuclear program to international inspection toward the goal of establishing a nuclear-free Middle East. But this is not simply a utopian pacifist gambit by Baskin; he’s dead-set against a nuclear-armed Iran. It’s worth a read.
To Calm Israel, U.S. Offers Ways to Restrain Iran
This article explores the difficult multi-player chess game going on with Iran and Israel, over the former’s nuclear program:
…. On Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to criticize Mr. Obama for being too vague about how far Iran can go. “The international community is not setting Iran a clear red line, and Iran does not see international determination to stop its nuclear project,” he told his cabinet. “Until Iran sees a clear red line and such determination, it will not stop the progress of its nuclear project — and Iran must not be allowed to have nuclear weapons.”
… the most immediate goal of the United States and its allies [is]: Slowing Iran’s nuclear development. So inside the American and Israeli intelligence agencies, there is continuing debate about possible successors to “Olympic Games,” the covert cyberoperation, begun in the Bush administration and accelerated under Mr. Obama, that infected Iran’s nuclear centrifuges and, for a while, sent them spinning out of control. An error in the computer code alerted Iran to the attack in 2010, and since then many of the country’s nuclear sites have been modified to defend against such attacks, according to experts familiar with the effort.
…. The administration has already quietly proposed a “stop the clock” agreement to get Iran to halt production of the fuel that is closest to bomb-grade — and to ship it out of the country, according to diplomats from several countries involved in the discussions. But Iranian officials have rejected those calls, insisting on a lifting of all sanctions, and there has been no talk of a broader, more permanent deal. …