A senior US official visiting Israel to coordinate sanctions policy with senior Israeli security officials told Israel Army Radio on Monday that “sanctions are having an impact on Iran,” but admitted that “more needs to be done.”
David Cohen, undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, discussed US plans to impose additional sanctions on Iran in the summer. In an interview with Haaretz, Cohen said: “If we don’t get a breakthrough in Moscow there is no question we will continue to ratchet up the pressure.”
Cohen said his government will also continue to confer with Israel to intensify pressure on Iran. “We have today and over the past years had very close cooperation with the Israeli government across a range of our sanctions programs,” he told Haaretz. “They are a very good partner. They are creative. They are supportive and we will continue to consult with the Israelis.
“The important point for the Israeli public to understand and for the Iranian leadership to understand is that if we are not able to make progress on the diplomatic track there is additional pressure that can be brought to bear on the pressure track.”
Cohen is slated to hold talks with the heads of the Mossad and IDF Intelligence, as well as Israel’s national security adviser.
Meanwhile, suspicions continue to mount that Iran is building a third gas centrifuge enrichment plant.
In a recent report for the Insitute for Science and International Security, David Albright and Andrea Stricker noted that despite IAEA demands for Iran to comply with its legal obligation to disclose any construction relating to nuclear facilities, “under Iran’s interpretation of its […] obligations, Iran can essentially finish construction of a gas centrifuge plant before notifying the IAEA of its existence.” According to Albright and Stricker, “Iran is trying to assert that is has a right to build a centrifuge plant in secret.”
“In avoiding its responsibility,” the report concludes. “Iran risks that any site subsequently discovered being built in secret will be viewed as a threat, increasing the risks of military confrontation.”
JTA contributed to this report.