Home > Uncategorized > A Bizarre Policy Roller-coaster of US Administration in Dealing with Iran Nuclear Program

A Bizarre Policy Roller-coaster of US Administration in Dealing with Iran Nuclear Program

In the last 24 hours US administration has asserted two extreme contradictory views in dealing with Iran nuclear program.

1) A new US Intelligence assessment on Iran’s nuclear program shows the Iranians continue to make progress on all aspects of its nuclear program. The sources said the new assessment shows further progress on the two other critical areas: efforts to miniaturize a nuclear warhead to fit on a missile, called “weaponization,” and developing the delivery systems to launch a weapon, such as long-range missiles.

2) WASHINGTON, Aug 9 (Reuters) – The United States still believes that Iran is not on the verge of having a nuclear weapon and that Tehran has not made a decision to pursue one, U.S. officials said on Thursday.

But why such a drastic change in the views of US officials in so short period of time? Here are some thoughts. They came to realize that:

1. The time for playing wagging-the-dog game is not there yet

2. Constraints by the Presidential Election, has to watch the approval rating

3. Time for appeasement and ass-kissing with Mullahs is not over yet

4. It is not the time for combining the Iran and Syrian Chaos into one big regional Disarray as yet

5. True story has to be shut off because the real policy here is to let the Mullahs get access to Nuclear Bomb, you know the containment policy

………. [DID]

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1) Iran: High stakes nuclear poker game?

There is a cartoon in the Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot that pretty well sums up the nail-biting showdown facing the United States and Israel when it comes to Iran’s nuclear program.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. President Barack Obama and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are sitting at a table playing poker, sweating and looking at one another, with a nuclear weapon as a big pot in the middle.

Who is bluffing? Will Ahmadinejad go for the bomb? Will Netanyahu take out the Iranian nuclear program before that happens? Will Obama save the day? When it comes to high-stakes nuclear poker, everyone is trying to outsmart the other.

Israeli officials say a new U.S. intelligence assessment on Iran’s nuclear program that Americans shared with them moves the two countries even closer to an understanding on the scope and pace of the development of the program.

The analysis, the officials say, shows the Iranians continue to make progress on all aspects of its nuclear program. While the international community has a great deal of knowledge of Iran’s uranium enrichment, the sources said the new assessment shows further progress on the two other critical areas: efforts to miniaturize a nuclear warhead to fit on a missile, called “weaponization,” and developing the delivery systems to launch a weapon, such as long-range missiles.

The sources said the information in the new analysis doesn’t come as a big surprise in Israel because the two governments already have an extremely close relationship when it comes to intelligence sharing.

On Thursday White House Press Secretary Jay Carney would not discuss whether the president had received a new NIE (National Intelligence Estimates) and would only say President Obama “remains committed to preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.”

But does this new intelligence assessment change the calculus about when military action would be required to take out the nuclear program before it is too late?

It doesn’t seem so because the differences between their government and Washington are not about intelligence assessments, the Israeli officials say, but about policy.

The debate between the two countries centers around a decision by Iran to acquire a nuclear bomb versus its “breakout capacity” to do so, what Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak refers to as the “zone of immunity.”

Israel worries that Iran’s nuclear developments will progress past a point where the Israelis can stop Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon by themselves. And the Israelis feel they can’t put their security in the hands of another country, even an ally as close as Washington, when it comes to what Israel considers an existential threat.

This month Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told CNN the United States had no intelligence to indicate a decision by Iran to go after the bomb. But Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, Barak and others argue Iran can continue to develop the expertise and technology needed to make a bomb and gain this breakout capacity without having made an official “decision.”

In this scenario Israel’s greatest fear is Iran will have all of its ducks in a row and can quickly assemble a nuclear weapon after a decision is made. Panetta told CNN once Iran has made the decision to build a bomb, the United States believes it would take Iran “about a year” to complete the required work to finish it. Israel argues it could take as little as a few months.

With Iran’s program continuing to progress, nuclear talks having failed to produce an agreement for Iran to curb its nuclear ambitions and sanctions that are slow to bite Iran enough to change its calculus, Israel is feeling a greater sense of urgency.

That concern is clearly felt in Washington as well, as evident by a wave of visits to Israel by several top U.S. officials over the past month, including Panetta, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and National Security Adviser Tom Donolon in what has been dubbed by many Iran watchers as the “Please Don’t Bomb Iran Tour” of summer 2012.

But those visits don’t assure Netanyahu that when the time comes President Obama will, in his own words “have Israel’s back.” Indeed, with an American election approaching, Israeli officials don’t view the Obama administration as seriously considering any action in the next few months.

No one is showing his hand in this high stakes game of nuclear poker, but as one Israeli official summed it up, “the mood is not good.”

Elise Labott

Aug 09, 2012

Related link – http://tinyurl.com/bthejl2

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2. Iran Nuclear Program: U.S. Believes Iran Not On Verge Of Nuclear Weapon

WASHINGTON, Aug 9 (Reuters) – The United States still believes that Iran is not on the verge of having a nuclear weapon and that Tehran has not made a decision to pursue one, U.S. officials said on Thursday.

Their comments came after Israeli media reports claimed U.S. President Barack Obama had received a new National Intelligence Estimate saying Iran had made significant and surprising progress toward military nuclear capability.

Later, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak suggested that the new U.S. report, which he acknowledged might be something other than a National Intelligence Estimate, “transforms the Iranian situation into an even more urgent one.”

But a White House National Security Council spokesman disputed the Israeli reports, saying the U.S. intelligence assessment of Iran’s nuclear activities had not changed since intelligence officials delivered testimony to Congress on the issue earlier this year.

“We believe that there is time and space to continue to pursue a diplomatic path, backed by growing international pressure on the Iranian government,” the spokesman said. “We continue to assess that Iran is not on the verge of achieving a nuclear weapon.”

U.S. officials would not directly comment on whether there was a new National Intelligence Estimate on Iran, which is a compilation of views of the various U.S. intelligence agencies.

The last formal NIE on Iran in 2007, partially made public by the administration of President George W. Bush, became highly controversial because it said Tehran had halted nuclear weaponization work in 2003, although other aspects of the overall program continued. A later update to that report retained that central assessment, sources have previously said.

James Clapper, U.S. director of national intelligence, said in congressional testimony in January: “We assess Iran is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons, in part by developing various nuclear capabilities that better position it to produce such weapons, should it choose to do so. We do not know, however, if Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons.”

Another U.S. official said the United States regularly exchanges intelligence reporting with its allies, which would include Israel.

The United States has been concerned that Israel may conduct a unilateral strike on Iran’s nuclear sites, adding to turmoil in the Middle East.

Israel sees an atomic armed Iran as a threat to its existence and there is persistent speculation over whether it will launch a pre-emptive military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities.

Tehran denies it is trying to build nuclear bombs, saying it is enriching uranium only for peaceful purposes.

Washington has tightened sanctions on Iran and sought to ramp up international diplomatic pressure to curb Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.

Barak told Israel Radio: “There probably really is such an American intelligence report – I don’t know if it is an NIE one – making its way around senior offices (in Washington).”

“As far as we know it brings the American assessment much closer to ours … it makes the Iranian issue even more urgent and (shows it is) less clear and certain that we will know everything in time about their steady progress toward military nuclear capability.”

Israel, widely believed to have the Middle East’s only nuclear arsenal, says little time remains before Iran achieves a “zone of immunity” in which Israeli bombs would be unable to penetrate deeply buried uranium enrichment facilities.

Reuters

Aug 10, 2012

Related link – http://tinyurl.com/9ff87b8

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