Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has instructed the heads of Israel’s intelligence community to look for proof that Iran is violating an interim deal signed with the international community last week over its nuclear program, a British newspaper reported on Sunday. The Israeli spying effort to expose Iranian duplicity represents a direct challenge to US President Barack Obama’s efforts, it said.
Mossad, as well as the IDF’s Military Intelligence Directorate, have been told to dig up evidence of Iranian duplicity ahead of Obama’s push to win support for the deal in Congress and thus head off legislators’ demands for further sanctions against Iran, the Sunday Times reported, citing Israeli defense sources.
“Everyone has his own view regarding the Geneva agreement,” an Israeli intelligence source was quoted as saying. “But it is clear that if a smoking gun is produced, it will tumble like a house of cards.”
If Israel does produce evidence that Iran is flouting its deal with the world powers, the agreement could prove a tough sell for Obama in Congress.
The Israeli search for evidence of Iranian subterfuge will focus on three aspects of the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program — secret enrichment sites such as Fordo, which the Iranians hid under a mountain in the holy city of Qom; ballistic missile production; and attempts to design and construct a bomb — the Sunday Times report said, citing unnamed Israeli defense sources.
“If Israel gets its way, what Netanyahu described as a ‘historic mistake’ will soon be exposed as a sham, the report said.
Representatives of Iran and the P5+1 nations are to meet in Geneva this week to discuss unresolved aspects of the agreement, which was sealed early last Sunday in the Swiss city after a weekend of intensive negotiations.
A solid majority of Americans supports the deal, according to a recent Reuters poll.
Israeli officials at the weekend denounced Obama for presiding over the negotiations, which they said granted the Islamic Republic the right to enrich uranium and was rapidly eroding the sanctions regime against Tehran.
That elaborate wall of sanctions, painstakingly constructed over years, is already crumbling and “will collapse within months,” the unnamed officials were quoted as saying by Israel’s Channel 2.
Publicly, Netanyahu has slammed the Geneva deal as a “historic mistake,” said Israel is not bound by it, and vowed to thwart Iran’s nuclear weapons drive alone if necessary.
In a phone conversation with Obama last Sunday, Netanyahu agreed to send a team led by his national security adviser to Washington to try to impact world powers’ upcoming efforts to reach a permanent accord to thwart Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons drive.
Privately, the unnamed officials were quoted as indicating, Jerusalem is feeling a bitter, dismayed and helpless sense of “we told you so.”
Claiming that officials and businesspeople from around the world — notably including China, Turkey, France, Russia and India — are already converging on Iran, ready to resume large-scale oil, banking and all manner of other business dealings as sanctions are eased in the wake the Geneva deal, the officials reportedly said that Israel knew the sanctions pressure would collapse, “but even we didn’t imagine it would happen this fast.”
The State Department has acknowledged that Iran is currently enjoying a “window” of time before the six-month interim deal takes effect, during which it is not bound to take any credible steps toward disabling its ability to produce a nuclear weapon. The terms of the deal, which are still being worked out, will only kick in come January.
According to a source in the Obama administration quoted by The New York Times Saturday, “If there’s any evidence of some secret nuclear site the Iranians forgot to [mention], this is over.”