Yadlin: Israel's job is to prevent a bad deal on Iran's nuclear program

Former military intel. chief calls on PM to adopt positive approach that welcomes effective Iranian dialogue.

Amos Yadlin 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Amos Yadlin 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israel’s role in the upcoming negotiations between Iran and the international community is to prevent a bad deal from being made, which would cement Tehran’s position as a breakout nuclear state, former Military Intelligence chief and the head of the Institute for National Security Studies, Amos Yadlin, said Monday.
He called on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to adopt a “positive approach” which welcomes effective dialogue and negotiations as tools that are preferable to a military solution to Iran’s nuclear program, but stressed that “dialogue is not a goal in itself, but rather a framework for the process, the goal of which is to neutralize the Iranian military nuclear threat.”
Israel should focus on “the substance of the agreement and its details,” Yadlin said, adding that “the devil is in the details.”
“Even if it’s clear that the Iranians will not accept all of the prime minister’s terms,” – a freezing of all enrichment activities, removing all enriched uranium out of Iran, shutting down the underground enrichment site at Fordow and the Arak heavy water reactor – “it’s important to define what agreement would significantly decrease the risks of the current situation, which is leading with a high probability to an Iranian bomb,” Yadlin stated in a communique.
An agreement that decreases the chances of Iran breaking out to the nuclear weapons stage would be significantly less risky than a military strike, he argued.
“The prime minister must clarify that supervision and transparency are not enough, that they’re only good as long as the agreement is in effect. Our obligation is to assume that the agreement could be violated unilaterally by the Iranians, similar to the agreement to freeze the nuclear program which [Iranian President] Hassan Rouhani committed himself to in 2003, in his capacity as chief negotiators with the Europeans,” Yadlin continued.
“In the event of a violation of the future agreement, it must be ensured that Iran is years away from a nuclear program, not months. It’s important to also reach an agreement with Obama over what the Western reaction will be to a future violation,” he added.
A good agreement would significantly reduce the number of uranium enrichment centrifuges spinning in Iran, restrict enrichment to 3.5 percent and remove and reprocess all enriched uranium before returning it to the Islamic Republic in a state that makes it impossible to use to construct atomic bombs.
“The agreement must include an additional protocol giving inspectors the right to search covert sites, in case the Iranians violate it,” he said.
Any agreement that cements Iran’s current capabilities; 10,000 first-generation centrifuges in action and thousands of additional new-generation centrifuges, and possession of enough low enriched uranium for seven to nine atomic bombs, is bad and must be rejected, Yadlin added.
“Such a deal, and keeping Fordow open, is an excellent basis for Iran to storm ahead and reach a bomb quickly at any time it chooses to exit the agreement,” he cautioned. Negotiations should also have a clear deadline, to prevent Iran from exploiting the talks to broaden its program further, whether by creating more centrifuges, enriching more uranium, developing its plutonium site at Arak, or working on a nuclear warhead, the former Military Intelligence chief advised.
“The Iranians excel at negotiations and they should face a team that is on their level,” Yadlin said, noting that the Iranians “still haven’t given a thing” despite all of the apparent moderation they exhibited in recent days. Yadlin also cautioned against confidence-building measures, saying negotiators should go straight to the end game.
The only reason the Iranians might be willing to compromise is because of heavy burden of sanctions, and therefore, gestures like easing sanctions can be agreed upon at the start of negotiations but should only be carried out when Iran does what it is required to do, first and foremost, significantly reducing the scope of its program, he said.
Yadlin said that Iran’s destructive role in harming the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians in the past two decades has been through its promotion of cruel terrorism.
He added: “Its most destructive role in Syria, where it is a full partner to the wide scale massacre, and its negative role in Lebanon, the Gulf, and Iraq, must also be addressed in any dialogue with US.”
A good agreement should be given a chance “even if we assess that the Iranian maneuver is a fraud. Exposing the fraud will have strategic advantages.”