Leading Israeli Nuclear Scientist Proposing Closing Dimona in Return for Ending Iranian Nuke Program
Uzi Even, one of Israel’s leading nuclear scientists, proposed in an article in Maariv (the Alternative Information Center also covered the story) that Israel offer to shut down its Dimona reactor in return for Iran closing ending nuclear research for military purposes. It’s a radical, far-reaching and innovative proposal which, for that reason, has no hope of being adopted. Israel’s leaders have no interest in shutting Dimona, even if they could end the threat of Iranian nuclear weapons. They’d far prefer to destroy the facilities militarily and so not to have to engage in any negotiations with the Iranians or to be beholden to them in any way.
In some ways, Even’s suggestion is quite clever since Dimona is considered the oldest operating nuclear plant, about which he’s warned Israel in the past. It’s similar to the Fukushima reactor design and therefore quite vulnerable to cooling system failure. He believes it should be retired. It’s not clear that Even is saying that Israel should shut down its entire nuclear weapons program. If that wasn’t on the table it doesn’t seem like a fair deal. But still it’s intriguing because it moves the debate away from military force and toward a negotiated solution.
Even also believes that even if Iran does achieve a nuclear weapon, that this doesn’t pose an existential threat to Israel:
No one in the world believes that Israel stands empty-handed in the face of an Iranian nuclear weapon. The entire Arab world including Iran [sic] are convinced that we have a full complement of nuclear weapons. A nuclear Iran is something we definitely could live with.
Think about this, one of Israel’s foremost nuclear scientists who worked for many years in its weapons program believes Israel can live with this threat. While a prime minister who never rose above middling rank and has no particular expertise as a military strategist, believes Israel’s existence is in mortal danger from such a potential weapon. The general says Israel is wrong to attack. The civilian says it must. Whose perspective would you trust more?
An interesting footnote to Even’s career is that he was fired from his senior military post in Israel’s nuclear program because he was gay. When he came forward to publicly reveal this, it forced Israel to change its policy about gays serving in the IDF.
14 thoughts on “Leading Israeli Nuclear Scientist Proposing Closing Dimona in Return for Ending Iranian Nuke Program – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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What the eminent scientist fails to grasp is that some people cannot be persuaded, cannot be reasoned with, cannot be cajoled or threatened.
Some people just like to watch things burn.
Israeli military and politicians, eh?
Another footnote that’s worth mentioning is that in May 1981, he leaked the top-secret preparations of the Opera operation for the attack on the Iraqi “Osirak” nuke reactor.
Because of the leak, Peres urged Begin (rhymes with Fagin) not to attack, but to ask France, the supplier of the reactor to Iraq, to pressure Saddam to abandon the program instead.
At the end, the operation was executed a month later, and we all have to thank Begin today for not listening to Mr Peres.
Who are “we all” ? Apart from you and your navel….
Everyone who would have been affected by Iraqi nukes, if those existed.
for Example, Israelies, Palestinians, Iranians, kuwaitis, 1991 coalition forces, and the rest of the world’s economy.
nice trolling, btw
Use of the term “troll” in this context was entirely inappropriate. You are moderated.
Yeah, of course you were thinking about the Palestinians ! Well, then maybe we should ask someone to bomb Dimona.
Your answer just confirms my impression: you think your national interests (and I’ll let other Israelis comment whether it is Israeli interests or not) are the interests of the rest of the world.
For the thousand time. OSIRAK was a small light water research reactor (40 MW) under construction. A reactor intended for peaceful scientific research. It would have been impossible for Iraqis to use OSIRAK for producing materials for nuclear weapons in a realistic time frame. The reactor was build by the French and was under under intensive international safeguards. No nuclear scientist in the world was/is ready to ruin his/hers reputation by publicly claiming that OSIRAK was intended and fit to produce nuclear weapons.
Israeli leadership was fully aware of these facts of what OSIRAK was. The operation Opera and destroying OSIRAK was a pure propagandist raid with the message “We, Israel (Jews), do not allow you (Arabs) to develop industrially and scientifically.” The attack did not destroy or delay any Iraqi nuclear weapon program. Peres as the father of the Israeli nukes and nuclear industry had much more knowledge of what Iraqis were doing than former terrorist chief Begin ever could have got. Begin needed desperately wars and conflicts (operation Opera and Lebanon invasion) to finance Israel and keep it in the US spotlight in the same way every single Israeli prime minister has needed and will need in the near future.
By the way Nimrod everyone is affected with Israeli nukes. The people in Middle East and Europe, actually the whole Eurasia and Africa. Israel is the world third strongest nuclear power and certainly the most aggressive and unpredicted. The danger is not Iran (or Iraq n the past), the present real danger to us all is Israel. Israel is daily threatening to attack Iran, not vice versa.
OSIRAK was a successful propaganda ploy because neither Israelis nor Americans know that the reactor was not a nuclear threat and destroying it achieved only the propaganda goal. Joel and Nimrod, for example, haven’t a clue about this. They buy the crazed Arab regimes and the good little Israel tall tale.
And, yes, Israel is by far the main source of instability and uncertainty in the ME and in much of the world, not Iran or Iraq. Americans do not want another war, not now with the economy so weak and, if Israel drags America in, many will come to know that Israel is not a responsible or attentive “ally” and should go it alone in the future. This is the positive side of the dumb war scenario.
Homosexuality is a capital crime in Iran (as well as Saudi Arabia and several other Muslim countries).
Israel’s record on gay civil rights has been less than perfect, but there is no comparison to other countries
in the ME.
BTW, Saudi Arabia executes people for witchcraft on a regular basis.
Yes, there are WITCH TRIALS in the 21st century.
With countries like this as neighbors, Israel needs nukes to survive.
This is something like arguing that because your child comes home from school with lice, you should nuke it to eliminate the threat.
No. Fair is fair. If Israel cans its nukes, then Iran should forget nuclear weapons as well. This would eliminate the threat of Iranian attack which is the stated cause of Israeli belligerency in the first place. What’s the argument against? Threatening neighbors? Israel has proven to be the major source of threat and military excursions in the ME by a wide margin. How many major cross “border” attacks has Israel undertaken since 1948?
I like the idea of starting a discussion of negotiating (or actually starting negotiating) — if either would slow down the VERY SHORT TERM PUSH FOR (USA involvement in a new) WAR.
Simohutta rightly points out that the OSIRAK reactor was an very unlikely tool for the production of sufficient fissionable material for even one nuclear explosive device. What he fails to note, as explained in an earlier note, the target was the highly enriched U-235 fuel for that reactor; of which France planned to supply 80 kg, according to one authority, previously cited. No reactor : no fuel. Orthogonal strategy.