Published on 15 July 2015

BICOM Briefing: Iran nuclear deal

Britain Israel Communication & Research Center (BICOM)'s overview on the agreement

Published on July 14, 2015 
You can download BICOM’s factsheet on the framework above
Following the announcement of the deal on Iran’s nuclear programme, BICOM Senior Visiting Fellow Brig. Gen. (res.) Michael Herzog, a former Chief of Staff to Israeli Defence Ministers, said:
“This deal, if implemented, will legitimize Iran as a nuclear threshold status after 10 to 15 years, posing a major threat to the security of Israel and its Arab neighbours. In the meantime, it may further inflame a very volatile Middle East by emboldening Iran’s destabilizing policies. The US and its allies must therefore reassert deterrence, making clear Iran will face punishing consequences if it violates, and ensuring Iran does not use the deal to enhance its radical and sectarian agenda in the region.”
What are the main concerns with the deal? 
Senior US former officials and lawmakers have joined Israel and Sunni Arab states in expressing deep concerns about the deal.
Henry Kissinger and George Schulze wrote in the Wall Street Journal in April: “Negotiations that began 12 years ago as an international effort to prevent an Iranian capability to develop a nuclear arsenal are ending with an agreement that concedes this very capability.”
President Obama himself, admitted after the announcement of the framework in April: “[the] fear would be that in year 13, 14, 15, they have advanced centrifuges that enrich uranium fairly rapidly, and at that point the breakout times would have shrunk almost down to zero.”
A cross party US group of experts and former officials backed a position statement on 24 June stating: “we fear that the current negotiations … may fall short of meeting the administration’s own standard of a ‘good’ agreement.” The statements signatories included: David Petraeus (director of the CIA, 2011-2012), General James Cartwright (vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 2007-2011), Olli Heinonen (deputy director general of the IAEA, 2005-2010), Dennis Ross (special assistant to President Obama and NSC senior director for the central region, 2009-2011), Robert Einhorn (special advisor to the Secretary of State for nonproliferation, 2009-2013), James Jeffrey (U.S. ambassador to Iraq, 2010-2012),  Gary Samore (coordinator for arms control and WMD under President Obama, 2009-2013).
BICOM Senior Visiting Fellow Brig. Gen. (res.) Michael Herzog outlined major concerns about the deal in the Financial Times on 29 June, writing: “Iran’s nuclear threshold status could trigger nuclear proliferation. Regional rivals, not least the Saudis, may race to catch up. It could also embolden the Iranians to advance their radical and sectarian agenda.”
What do Israeli leaders think about this deal?
The concerns expressed by Prime Minister Netanyahu about this agreement are shared by opposition leaders in Israel, even whilst they challenge Netanyahu over his handling of the issue.
Netanyahu said on Sunday 12 July that the deal, “Paves Iran’s way to many nuclear bombs and gives it hundreds of billions of dollars for its terrorism and conquest machine, thereby endangering the peace of the entire world.”
Speaking on 13 July Opposition leader Isaac Herzog described it as a “horrible deal, one that will go down as a tragedy of the ages.”
Speaking on Monday 13 July leader of the opposition Yesh Atid party described the deal as “a bad deal, which endangers the security of Israel and the world’s security.”
Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon told the Knesset on Monday 13 July: “The bottom line is that they’re going for a bad deal, which will obviously require us afterward to continue to get ready to defend ourselves by ourselves”... Read full article.