web analytics
October 24, 2014 / 30 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Home » News & Views » US »

Defining The Candidates’ Differences On Iran


Missile-101912

WASHINGTON – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made headlines last month with this question: What are the U.S. red lines when it comes to Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons program?

The two presidential campaigns are offering two different answers.

“Recently, President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have talked about weaponization and Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan talk about nuclear weapons capability,” said Michael Makovsky, a Bush administration Pentagon official who now directs the National Security Project at the Bipartisan Policy Center.

So what do the terms weaponization and capability mean as red lines?

The issue of red lines was lent urgency on Sept. 11, when at a blistering news conference, Netanyahu seemed to warn that a failure to set red lines for Iran could trigger a strike by Israel – an action the Obama administration has tried mightily to prevent.

“Those in the international community who refuse to put red lines before Iran don’t have a moral right to place a red light before Israel,” Netanyahu said at the time. The term “red lines” refers to actions that could trigger military action to stop Iran from progressing further.

In the Oct. 11 vice-presidential debate, the differences between the two U.S. presidential tickets on the Iranian nuclear issue were apparent.

Ryan, Romney’s running mate on the Republican Party ticket, cast the Iranian threat as one predicated on the degree of its enrichment.

“We cannot allow Iran to gain a nuclear weapons capability,” Ryan said, using a threshold that Romney has embraced.

The Netanyahu government has long employed the term “capability” to define a bridge too far in Iran’s nuclear program, and the term has been picked up in a number of recent bipartisan congressional measures.

“Now let’s take a look at where we’ve gone – come from. When Barack Obama was elected, they had enough fissile material – nuclear material to make one bomb,” the Wisconsin congressman continued. “Now they have enough for five. They’re racing toward a nuclear weapon. They’re four years closer toward a nuclear weapons capability.”

Biden pushed back, seeming to suggest that the proper measure should be how close Iran is to achieving a weapon.

“When my friend talks about fissile material, they have to take this highly enriched uranium, get it from 20 percent up, then they have to be able to have something to put it in,” Biden said.

“There is no weapon that the Iranians have at this point. Both the Israelis and we know – we’ll know if they start the process of building a weapon.”

But Israeli officials repeatedly have expressed the concern that Western intelligence agencies have failed to detect weaponization in time in the cases of Pakistan, India and North Korea.

Makovsky said the problem was especially acute in Iran because the regime there, which denies an interest in building a nuclear weapon, has denied access to inspectors at key sites.

“It’s a very hard thing to know, and we haven’t been able to detect it before,” he said.

The question is whether enrichment defines “capability,” and if so, at what level of enrichment is a country nuclear-capable.

The Iranians, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN nuclear watchdog, already have achieved enrichment up to 20 percent – the level cited by Biden. Israel’s concern, outlined last month by Netanyahu in his speech to the UN General Assembly, is when they will get to the “and up” mentioned by the vice president.

Uranium is weapons-capable when it is enriched to above 90 percent.

“By next spring, next summer at most,” Iran will have finished the “medium enrichment” stage, Netanyahu said. “From there it’s less than a few months, possibly a few weeks, until they get enough uranium for an enriched bomb. The relevant question is not when will Iran get the bomb; the question is at what stage can we stop Iran?”

Michael Adler, an Iran expert at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington, said that Netanyahu effectively aligned himself with the Obama administration’s red line with that speech.

“Netanyahu has walked capability back a lot saying it won’t come until next year,” Adler said.

That may have been in part because Netanyahu and Obama had spoken extensively between Netanyahu’s Sept. 11 news conference and his UN speech. U.S. and Israeli officials have said subsequently that the two leaders better understood each other on the Iran issue.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “Defining The Candidates’ Differences On Iran”

  1. The details of an Israeli attack on Iran are revealed in Jonathan Bloomfield’s award-winning book, “Palestine.”.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Miniature Torah at the women's section of the Western Wall Friday morning.
Women of the Wall Smuggle Tiny Torah Scroll to Western Wall
Latest News Stories
Miniature Torah at the women's section of the Western Wall Friday morning.

They had to use a magnifying glass to read the letters.

Dr. Craig Spencer and his girlfriend, Morgan Dixon.

Officials preach calm but are frantically trying tracing every step the doctor took in the city.

The car that crashed into a Jerusalem train station, killing an infant and injuring eight, in what is being probed as a terrorist attack.

“God is trying to wake us up,” said the grandfather.

Former Presidential candidate Gov. Mitt Romney and former Vice Presidential candidate Sen. Joe Lieberman will address the inaugural Israeli American Council (IAC) National Conference in Washington next month. The IAC’s stated mission is “to build an active and giving Israeli-American community throughout the United States in order to strengthen the State of Israel.” The number […]

Dozens of Arab rioters attacked Jewish owned buildings in Jerusalem’s Old City.

J Street U blames Jews buying homes in Jerusalem for triggering Hamas terrorist’s murderous rampage.

Boko Haram kidnapped an additional 20 Nigerian girls.

A healthcare worker has returned to the US from West Africa suffering with symptoms resulting in testing for the Ebola virus at NYC’s Bellevue Hospital.

Despite PM Netanyahu’s vow to “assert sovereignty” over all parts of Jerusalem, Arabs continue to carry out potentially lethal rock attacks.

Israel’s prime minister and the mayor of Jerusalem met today with security brass over the terror attack that wounded 8 and killed a 3-month-old baby.

For the first time since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Boeing Aerospace and Defense has made a sale to Iran.

Syria’s once-lucrative oil wells dissolve under U.S.-led coalition air strikes targeting the ISIS terror organization.

In Lebanon, a man in his 20s suspected of being ill with the Ebola virus has been placed in quarantine at a Beirut hospital.

Israelis of all ages watched in fascination as the Hawaiian-born Japanese-Samoan former sumo star, Konishiki Yasokichi shared his moves during a special workshop for children in Jerusalem.

The Legal Forum for Israel calls on Transportation Minister Katz to amend the law and revoke drivers’ licenses of convicted terrorists.

Kerry still thinks Muslim terror in Israel is different from elsewhere.

More Articles from Ron Kampeas

It’s not yet clear if Nemmouche was acting on orders and, if so, whether the orders came from ISIS.

Capital-Bldg-091214

“The Jewish community is going to have to work harder,” said one veteran official who has worked both as a professional in the Jewish community and a staffer for a Jewish lawmaker.

The disagreements don’t seem to have gone away, despite a cease-fire that appears to be firmly in place.

“On the Hill and with some people with whom I have spoken who are robust Israel supporters, people are concerned if not angry,” one of the staffers, a Democrat, told JTA

President Obama in an April 25 press conference seemed ready to take a break. “There may come a point at which there just needs to be a pause and both sides need to look at the alternatives,” he said.

Obama himself suggested that a break from the process may be necessary.

But Israel’s stance is not sufficiently consequential to set off a fight between friends, neoconservative scholars said.

Tensions between Russia and the West are mounting over the Russian military takeover of the Crimean Peninsula, with the United States and European countries threatening to impose sanctions.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/us-news/defining-the-candidates-differences-on-iran/2012/10/17/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: