Ex-intel chief: If Iran’s uranium isn’t exported, US will have failed with deal
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Ex-intel chief: If Iran’s uranium isn’t exported, US will have failed with deal

Amos Yadlin, Zionist Union’s candidate for defense minister, says public criticism of US positions toughened Obama administration’s stance

Lazar Berman is a former breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Former Military Intelligence chief Amos Yadlin speaks at an event in Jerusalem on February 22, 2015. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Former Military Intelligence chief Amos Yadlin speaks at an event in Jerusalem on February 22, 2015. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

A former head of the IDF’s military intelligence branch said Tuesday morning that the emerging nuclear agreement with Iran would be a “bad deal,” if it is indeed finalized around the terms that have been made public.

However, said Amos Yadlin in an interview to Israel Radio, three “core technical issues” are still not agreed upon by Tehran and the P5+1 powers – research and development, the military aspects of Iran’s nuclear program, and the shipping out of fissile material to a third-party country.

“Without the export of the 7-8 tons of low-enriched uranium, the Americans do not have the goal they set” of keeping Iran a year away from enough fuel for a nuclear weapon, said Yadlin, the Zionist Union’s pick for defense minister during the recent elections, who currently runs the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv.

Midnight Tuesday is the deadline for a framework nuclear deal between Iran and global powers the US, Russia, Britain, France, China, and Germany.

Yadlin had some criticism for the way Israel under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu handled disagreements with the US over the nuclear talks. “We needed to sit with the Americans, and discuss what are the parameters that define a year to breakout. What do the Americans mean when they say ‘No deal is better than a bad deal?’ These things were not done with the Americans. What is the way to verify that the Iranians, who are known for violating agreements, are breaking or not breaking the agreement.”

“And in my eyes the most important thing for agreement between Israel and the US, what will the US response be, and what support will they give for Israeli reactions, to violations of the agreement?”

But Yadlin indicated that displeasure with the Barack Obama administration from other quarters forced the US to harden its positions. Criticism from Arab partners, and the potential of a nuclear race in Arab world, were especially important factors, as was public dissent from nuclear experts not generally critical of Obama.

The advance of Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen also affected the American position, Yadlin said.

Obama understood that without the threat of new sanctions legislation from Congress, the Iranians would keep introducing new demands, Yadlin argued.

Yadlin spent 33 years in the Israeli Air Force, including at the helm of the IDF intelligence directorate, and as Israel’s military attache in Washington.

The former fighter pilot, one of eight who raided the Osirak reactor in Iraq in 1981, said there were “many alternatives between a bad deal and military action,” such as new harsher sanctions and covert action.

After 18 months of tortuous talks, foreign ministers from Iran and the P5+1 are in marathon talks to try to reach an accord to end the standoff that has been threatening to escalate dangerously for 12 years.

An army of technical and sanctions experts worked late into the night in Switzerland on Monday exchanging documents and groping for ways to figure out the outlines of this potentially historic agreement.

“There are marathon meetings happening all over the place. There are several issues that have not been resolved yet. These are important issues,” an Iranian negotiator said late Monday.

AFP and Times of Israel staff contributed to this report. 

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