Steinitz: Iran deal must prevent cooperation with North Korea

If the Iranians get the right centrifuges, they will be two or three months away from nuclear weapons, intelligence minister warns.

November 21, 2014 07:01
2 minute read.
Kim Jong-Un

Kim Jong-Un. (photo credit: REUTERS)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


With Israel concerned the world powers and Iran might indeed meet Monday’s deadline for a nuclear agreement, Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz called on Thursday for closing two huge loopholes that could enable Iran to race toward a nuclear weapon.

Steinitz, at a press briefing organized by the Israel Project, stressed two points he said were not the focus of the current talks and were considered secondary issues, “but if not properly handled may make any agreement meaningless.”

The first point is to prevent Tehran from including in the agreement permission to proceed with research and development of a generation of more advanced centrifuges. If these advanced centrifuges are indeed built, it would dramatically shorten the time it would take Iran to dash to the nuclear finish line, reducing the time needed to build a bomb after “breakout” from 12 months to two or three months.

“This loophole should be closed,” Steinitz said. “They can’t be permitted to complete research and development on more efficient centrifuges.”

The other loophole that needed to be addressed, he said, had to be to include measures preventing any nuclear cooperation with North Korea or other “rogue states.”

Steinitz said Israel was concerned about possible nuclear cooperation between Iran and North Korea. “If this loophole is not closed, and if Iran under an agreement can have some kind of research and development, knowledge exchange and participation in other countries like North Korea, then this is also the way to bypass an agreement by simply not doing it alone in Iran, but by cooperating with North Korea or other rogue countries.”

Not wanting to go into specifics, the minister said there were good reasons for Israel’s concern, adding that North Korea has been heavily involved in other clandestine and illegal nuclear projects in the region, specifically in Syria a few years back.

“We all know that Iran, Syria and North Korea are very close to each other.”

Steinitz repeated a message that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has been voicing for weeks, urging the US and the other members of the P5+1 – Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany – not to sign a “bad deal” with Iran, even if that means that no agreement will be signed. The Iranians have made almost no concession on the core issue of giving up their ability to enrich uranium, Steinitz said.

Regarding the scenario that the November 24 deadline will pass without an agreement, and that – for the third time in a year – another deadline will be set, Steinitz said that while Israel “would not like it,” it would be preferable to an agreement that would enshrine Iranians status as a nuclear threshold state.

Rolling over the deadline would be helpful if the pressure on the Iranian economy would then be increased, he said. “You simply have to apply more pressure to help those inside Iran say, ‘We have no choice, we have to choose – if we want to save the economy, we have to give away the military nuclear infrastructure... We cannot have them both.’”

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

The aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) sails in the Indian Ocean near Indonesia, February
May 22, 2019
Potential Iranian attacks against Americans have been 'put on hold' - U.S. official