Copied below is an amazingly arrogant assessment of Iran's current nuclear situation. It comes from official Israeli governmental sources, Defense Minister, Ehud Barak. Basically, Israel would deny Iran any nuclear rights whatsoever. This, from a country which is not a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty; a country that does not allow international nuclear inspectors, or abide by IAEA policies.
Is there a serious person anywhere in the world who does not acknowledge that Israel not only has nuclear weapons but also a nuclear weapons arsenal? Western intelligence sources - backed by Israelis themselves who have worked on their country's nuclear facilities - estimate the size of Israel's nuclear arsenal at between a low of 150 weapons and a high of 500. Compare this with the estimate most experts have for North Korea - 4 to 6 weapons, or Pakistan - about 20, or India - approximately 50. Yes, none of these nations, even Israel, matches the tens of thousands of nuclear weapons possessed by the United States or Russia, or the sizable amounts - though way fewer than tens of thousands - thought to be held by England, France and China.
Nevertheless, Israel is an unquestioned nuclear world power - and Iran has no nuclear weapons at all. None. Not a single one. In fact, no one has yet produced anything more than a “fear” that Iran even has a nuclear weapons program. No proof at all. And still, Israel (fundamentally a nuclear outlaw nation) demands that Iran halt all enrichment of uranium. Why? Because they “fear” an Iranian nuclear weapons program - a fear they and others express without a shred of evidence that such a program exists. Does Iran enrich uranium? Yes. And they do so - just like some dozen and a-half other countries do around the world - for the purpose of supplying fuel for atomic reactors - reactors designed not to blow anything up but to provide electric power.
There is nothing new or unique about this. The world already has some 531 such reactors in use or under active construction and they are spread across the globe, located in 31 different countries. We, here in the US, have 104 nuclear power reactors and not a single one of them is connected to our nuclear weapons program. France has 59. Japan has 53 -and no one’s accused the Japanese of having nuclear weapons. In fact, there has never been any claim that any of the world's 500+ electricity generating nuclear reactors is a threat to the nuclear weapons peace. All they make is - electricity!
If nuclear power plants presented a weapons threat, the world’s major powers would not be the United States, Russia and China. Instead they would be ABB Construction Engineering, General Electric and Westinghouse.
Why is nuclear electric power not a threat to world peace? It's simple. Uranium enriched for use in making electric power cannot be used to manufacture nuclear weapons. It just can't. Much as your Honda or Subaru doesn’t scare the folks at NASCAR, so too nobody is going to make bombs from uranium enriched in Brazil, Australia or any of the 31 nations with nuclear power reactors.
It is exactly like nuclear medicine. We've all seen the signs in hospital corridors – “Nuclear Medicine.” Are you afraid? Of course not. Nothing used in nuclear medicine has any applicable usage in nuclear weapons. So, go ahead - do all the heart scans you wish. Nobody's in danger of being blown-up.
My opinion is that no reasonable and rational person would, ipso facto, deny nuclear electric power to anyone. Why would they? Would they deny food or water? Clean sanitation? Roads, dams, tunnels, airports? Of course not. Isn't everyone - no matter where they live - entitled to the use of modern technology for a better life? Can we enjoy all this and refuse to let others do the same?
And yet now officially, Israel would deny Iran any nuclear capacity of any sort whatsoever. Yes, a country that stockpiles nuclear weapons, with contempt for all world nuclear accords, is demanding that another country be denied modern electric power. Draw your own conclusions.
THE NEW YORK TIMES
October 23, 2009
Israel Signals Concern on Iran Talks
By ISABEL KERSHNER
JERUSALEM — The Israeli defense minister, Ehud Barak, said on Thursday that Iran must cease all uranium enrichment, a statement that reflected Israeli concern over a draft agreement taking shape in Vienna, where earlier this week Iran took part in nuclear talks with the United States, Russia and France.
Under the agreement, about three-quarters of Iran’s known stockpile of nuclear fuel would be shipped to Russia for enrichment to levels suitable for a peaceful nuclear reactor but too low for weapons. Such a deal would delay Iran’s ability to build a nuclear weapon for about a year, buying more time for President Obama to search for a diplomatic solution to the nuclear standoff.
In the first response by a senior Israeli leader, Mr. Barak said what was necessary was “the cessation of enrichment by Iran, and not just the removal of the enriched material.” Speaking at a conference hosted by Israel’s president, Shimon Peres, in Jerusalem, Mr. Barak urged “all the players” that “under no circumstances should any option be removed from the table,” meaning that the threats of tougher sanctions and military action should remain.
The emerging deal with Iran, while not yet approved, is generally being treated here with caution and suspicion
One former Israeli official with intimate knowledge of the nuclear issue said that it was better to have the fuel shipped out than left in Iran, but that there may be more nuclear fuel reserves in covert facilities in Iran.
Iran is openly and vehemently hostile to Israel, but insists that its nuclear program is intended for civilian purposes only. Israel is believed to have a large nuclear arsenal but maintains a policy of nuclear ambiguity, neither confirming nor denying its status as a nuclear power.
Earlier Thursday, Israeli officials confirmed that Israeli and Iranian envoys participated in discussions at a recent multilateral forum on nuclear issues in Cairo, but they said the two representatives held no private meetings and played down the significance of the event.
A spokesman for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization also denied that any separate meetings took place between the Iranian and Israeli delegations on the sidelines of the gathering, according to the Web site of Iran’s state broadcasting authority.
The regional meeting took place over two days in the Egyptian capital from Sept. 28 under the auspices of the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament, a forum of experts established at the initiative of the Australian and Japanese governments. Israel was represented by Meirav Zafary-Odiz, director of policy and arms control for the Israel Atomic Energy Commission, and Iran by Ali Asghar Soltanieh, ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
“There was a conference,” said Yael Doron, a spokeswoman for the Israel Atomic Energy Commission. “She was there and he was there, but there was no direct contact or dialog between them.”
Several other Middle Eastern countries took part in the discussions, including Saudi Arabia, which, like Iran, has no diplomatic relations with Israel.
The gathering was held behind closed doors, but details emerged last week in the Australian newspaper The Age.
The paper reported breathlessly that Australia had “helped accomplish the seemingly impossible — bringing Israel and Iran into the same room for high-level talks on nuclear weapons.”
The Web site of the Israeli newspaper Haaretz on Thursday published more details of the meeting.
But Israeli officials said it was not unusual for Israeli and Iranian officials to be in the same room and present their positions at international bodies and forums. The Iranian delegate, Mr. Soltanieh, has attended at least one such informal gathering with Israelis in the past.
The timing of the Cairo meeting may have added import, however, with the growing concern both in Israel and internationally over Iran’s nuclear program and a sense in Israel that time to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons may be running out.
In a separate development, Israel’s Supreme Court ruled for the first time Thursday in a case regarding a West Bank road where Palestinian traffic is prohibited by military order. Saying the measure caused disproportionate harm to the local Palestinian population, the court instructed the state to come up with alternative arrangements for the road — a thoroughfare south of Hebron — in the next three months.
The state argued that Palestinians were barred from using the road for the past eight years for security reasons, to protect the 150 or so Israeli residents of a Jewish settlement and an unauthorized outpost in the area. An Israeli human rights organization, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, petitioned the court in 2006 on behalf of 22 Palestinian villages with a combined population of some 45,000.
Several cases involving other so-called segregated roads in the West Bank are pending in the Israeli court.