Former Army Intel Chief: Iran Deal Better Than Alternative - No Deal

Israel must push for final deal that keeps Iran years rather than months away from a possible bomb, says Amos Yadlin.

Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen
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Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen

The deal reached between the world powers and Iran is just an interim stage. Its purpose is to enable negotiation about the final agreement, which is the important one, said former Military Intelligence chief Amos Yadlin on Sunday.

“If this were the final agreement – then it would really be a bad agreement, but that’s not the situation," said Yadlin, who presently heads the Institute for National Security Studies, in conversation with reporters. And while the agreement reached may not be ideal, he added, it has to be seen in the context of all the other alternatives.”

According to Yadlin, the interim agreement signed in the early hours of the morning is better in a number of parameters than the agreement considered 10 days ago – mainly in that uranium enrichment to 20 percent ceases, as does progress on the plutonium avenue at the Arak reactor.

“It is possible that had there been no agreement, [Iran] would have decided to make the breakthrough to a bomb, because the sanctions are hurting it badly,” he said.

Israel should now focus on efforts to achieve a final agreement with Iran in another six months, which will keep Iran years away from the possibility of a bomb, rather than months – as is the case today, Yadlin said.

“Though we don't like this agreement, it's better than the alternative of no agreement, and obligates us to make every effort to ensure that the agreement six months from now rolls back the Iranian nuclear program. The present agreement doesn’t do that. It cuts it back only very slightly – by turning the 200 kilograms that have been enriched to 20 percent into fuel rods. That’s a very small step,” Yadlin said.

The future agreement must include reference to all the dimensions of the nuclear program, including the level of enrichment, the number of centrifuges, the amount of enriched material, he said.

“The final agreement must ensure that the number of centrifuges will be as low as possible, and if possible, for it to drop to zero, and also that the enriched material leave Iran,” he said. “That would be an agreement that would distance Iran from the bomb for several years rather than a few months. So if the Iranians decide to violate the agreement, it will take them years rather than months.”

Yadlin also discussed the possibility of a military option for dealing with a nuclear Iran. Before making any such decision Israel needs to evaluate a number of issues, such as its operational capability, the legitimacy of the operation, the level of understandings with the United States, and the influence of a nuclear Iran as compared to the outcome of such an attack.

“I assume that we all know what the prime minister thinks, and professionally that is my opinion too – that a nuclear Iran is more dangerous,” Yadlin said, adding that “in the coming six months the legitimacy of an attack will diminish.”

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