10 thoughts on “Aipac’s Tortured Role in Iran Nuclear Talks: Tear Down Deal, While Appearing to Support It – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Turkey waving the white flag on Syria?

    Turkey and Iran as partners for peace. Start talks on Syria, Kurds and economic ties

    (Hürriyet Daily News) – Iran’s agreement with Western powers over its nuclear program may be bad for Israel and Saudi Arabia, who turn out to be not just fellow-spoilers, but also strange bed-fellows in this equation. It is, however, good for the region and for the world.

    It is also good for Turkey, of course, and there is no shortage of articles in the Turkish media referring to the economic advantages that will accrue in Turkey as a result of the easing of sanctions on Iran. There is, however, the political dimension too, which is perhaps equally, if not more, important at a time when the Middle East is in turmoil.

    Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu was in Tehran on Nov. 26 for a timely meeting with the Economic Cooperation Organization, and while there he lauded the nuclear agreement arrived at with Tehran. He went on to argue this accord will also enable Turkey and Iran to “join hands” in order to become “the backbone of regional stability.”

    “At a place and time where some try to instigate sectarian conflicts, the dialogue between Iran and Turkey is the most important dialogue in the region,” Davutoğlu was quoted saying by agencies.

    Turkish, Iranian intelligence agencies work in “close collaboration”

  2. 20% enriched uranium isn’t weapons grade of itself, but
    it’s a step closer to it than 5% enriched uranium.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weapons-grade Very little of the
    reporting that I have seen actually manages to convey this quite
    important distinction. 80% enriched uranium might do for the outer
    layer of a composite core that had a small quantity of weapons
    grade plutonium in the centre, because plutonium fission has a
    reasonably high probability of producing the occasional neutron
    with enough energy to fission either 238 or U235. Weapons grade
    plutonium is a tricky one, and you don’t get much by using too
    highly enriched uranium in your reactors. All the fuss about
    nuclear weapons is beside the point if Iran has the means to
    produce significant amounts of persistent nerve gases like VX, but
    precisely because the industrial base for a nuclear weapons
    programme is so big and so distinctive, it makes a much better
    bargaining chip. There doesn’t seem to be anything in the agreement
    about medium range rocket development, which could be used to
    deliver non-nuclear WMD, and perhaps concerns should be focused
    there rather than on the enrichment issue, which I’ve long felt to
    be a bit theatrical.

    1. First and foremost, I want to say a Happy Thanksgiving to anyone so inclined…

      Second, I’ve spend the past week reading this deal for myself and ignoring the spin.

      “Iran has a large amount of 20% enriched uranium. Under the deal, a significant portion of it would be reprocessed so that it could not be used as part of any weapons-making process. This is extremely important since Iran’s 20% enriched material is what would be needed to make a bomb. Without that, it can’t proceed toward nuclearization.”

      The deal does call for them to deplete its 20% enriched uranium stockpiled down to 5% (still more than needed for peaceful civilian nuclear power facility) but it takes more than 20% enriched uranium for a bomb. The 20% number is key b/c the lengthiest and most difficult part of enriching uranium takes place b/w 3.5% and 20%. The decision to allow them 5% is somewhat curious as it gives them a leg up vs. 3.5% (that 1.5% is significant). IF (that’s a huge if) Iran’s holds up its end of the deal, all this has done is set them back 30-90 days but in no way has it stopped them from having the ability proceed with weaponization. This deal was about buy time. We are gambling that we can learn a ton about the Iranian nuclear breakout capability in the six months. On the other hand, Iran essentially gave up nothing and made $7b…. mo wonder they are happy.

      1. @ Ari Greenfield: Saying that Iran has the ability to “proceed with weaponization” is about as precise as saying that I’d like to be a billionaire. Sure I would, but how will I make it happen?

        In short, you’re talking about enriching uranium. That in itself doesn’t allow you ‘weaponize.’ There are thousands of other things that have to accompany that including producing a missile & warhead that can carry the bomb, which Iran hasn’t done yet. It’s important that language is precise here so that we don’t get confused or lapse into errors.

      2. As I indicated, though I don’t know what happened to my paragraph breaks, which were there when I typed, putting 5% enriched uranium into a reactor may actually reduce the chances of getting weapons grade plutonium out. Otherwise I can’t see how it’s supposed to be desirable either.

        The longer fuel rods are left in the reactor, the more Pu240 they end up containing and that cannot be removed from the Pu239 afterwards. The UK’s Magnox reactors supposedly did not use enriched fuel at all,this and the ability to remove a few rods while the reactor was running (after a very brief burn) was key to their ability to produce plutonium that was not just weapons grade (less than 7% Pu240 as opposed to 93% Pu239) but which met a higher standard of less than 3% Pu240, needed to reduce the radioactivity of warheads that were due to be stored on ships and submarines in close proximity to crews for extended periods of time. Much of the UK’s weapons grade uranium was obtained by swapping this naval-grade plutonium with the Americans, who had plenty of weapons grade material suitable for making air-force bombs normally stored in bunkers well away from where servicemen lived, but not very much of the very clean stuff.

        Weapons grade plutonium is safer to handle than non-weapons grade, and naval grade is safer still.

        So, if Iran’s reactors are set up to use 5% enriched uranium with a long burn-up time, it would be very tricky to make them produce weapons grade plutonium without shutting them down and changing the setup.

        So I think the 5% “concession” is to make it possible for the Iranians to run their power stations in a way which makes the production of weapons grade plutonium much less likely, but I can see why the diplomats wouldn’t have spelled that out in so many words.

  3. Richard,
    Netanyahu has obvious reasons for his constant belaboring the Iran “enrichment” issue meanwhile, it’s “business as usual” in the West Bank and Gaza is still under siege.
    Tomorrow Nov 30, 2013 – hundreds of Palestinian children will gather to launch nearly 200 mini arks into the se to challenge the Israel blockade.


    Nov 30, 2013 – Day of Rage against the Prawer Plan

    I know this isn’t on the topic of Iran – bit since Iran serves as a distraction to Netanyahu from issues on his doorstep, I want to mention it. I realize, you already are appraised, but I wanted to post anyway.
    Thank you.

  4. Netanyahu to Obama: ‘Of course I support talks for a two-state solution.’
    Netanyahu to Kerry: ‘Sure, I’ll delay the next trench of 20,000 settler homes.’

    Netanyahu to attend party meet dominated by hawkish agenda

    Premier will appear at Likud convention next month which will discuss annexation of Judea and Samaria, Temple Mount prayer rights.

    Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has decided to attend a controversial Likud convention meeting next month, despite his opposition to right-wing proposals that are expected to pass at the event, sources close to him said.

    Netanyahu has tried to prevent a convention in his party on diplomatic issues from being held for years. But the meeting will be held December 18 with an agenda that is being approved by a panel headed by hawkish Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon.

    The proposals set to come to a vote at the convention include annexing Judea and Samaria, guaranteeing the right to Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount and preventing politicians who vote in the cabinet or Knesset against convention decisions from running again with the party.

    Remember Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount in 2000? Speaking of the third intifada …

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