web analytics
August 28, 2014 / 2 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



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
The three salesmen -Netanyahu, Ya'alon and Gantz
Netanyahu Tries to Sell Bill of Goods that Israel Won Goals in the War
Latest News Stories
First Day of School

It’s Rosh Chodesh Elul, and that means school has begun in the Chareidi school system.

Dell Smitherman at The Jewish Press.

Smitherman has witnessed firsthand both how damaging income inequality has been to the poor and how it negatively impacts families and communities.

Nick Di Iorio at The Jewish Press last week.

“It was embarrassing to be asked, Why is Egypt right now a better ally than America? Why is Israel doing more than the U.S. to protect Israel?”

The three salesmen -Netanyahu, Ya'alon and Gantz

Has Netanyahu ever heard of Lincoln’s phrase, “You cannot fool all of the people all of the time?”

This shot may have come from a Syrian tank…

Hamas recently indicated to international press that it would continue building up its underground network while restocking arsenal, rockets and other weaponry

Iran vowed on Monday to “accelerate” its rearming of PA Arabs in Judea and Samaria, one day after it claimed that it shot down an Israeli spy drone over its airspace.

The case of missing U.S. yeshiva student Aaron Sofer, studying in Israel, remains unsolved after six days.

“We are strong chassidic women and we take the name, we embrace it, and we own it.”

After a month, should the quiet hold, Israel and Hamas will restart indirect negotiations in Cairo on easing Israel’s blockade of the coastal strip and disarming the enclave.

Israel’s political landscape awoke Wednesday to the latest ceasefire with a sharp round of criticism for Prime Minister Netanyahu, and jostling for position amongst senior politicians who have begun to smell the aroma of early elections, possibly in the first half of 2015.

Palestinian terrorists threw stones at Jewish-owned cars in the Wadi Joz section of Jerusalem Wednesday. Three children were injured and treated on the spot. A 22-year-old man was arrested, and police told Israel Radio the man has confessed to other incidents as well. In Shuafat, in northern Jerusalem, Palestinians threw rocks at the Jerusalem light […]

Nearly 90 percent of Gaza residents support attacks on Israel, say rockets help ‘deterrence’

Chaim Yellin: We don’t want government support. We need quiet in the morning.

Mortar fire crossed the border into northern Israel from Syria near Quneitra. Two cars were damaged. Accidental shelling?

NYC lawmaker Laurie Cumbo presses Miami-Dade officials to find Rabbi Joseph Raksin’s murderer.

More Articles from Ron Kampeas
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

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.

Secretary of State Kerry and Prime Minister Netanyahu

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.

Expansive outreach, of course, is nothing new for AIPAC. But in the wake of battles over Iran sanctions legislation that pitted the pro-Israel lobbying powerhouse against the White House, many congressional Democrats and liberals more generally, AIPAC’s traditional emphasis on Israel as a bipartisan issue has taken on added urgency.

Administration officials and Jewish groups sympathetic to Kerry’s initiative say there is a longer-term agenda in preempting attacks on the framework peace agreement the Obama administration is expected to propose soon.

“As we have since the beginning of the process, we continue to support Secretary Kerry’s diplomatic efforts to achieve a secure and lasting peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians,” AIPAC spokesman Marshall Wittman said in a statement to JTA.

WASHINGTON – Until recently, the rule of thumb in the pro-Israel community was that the bigger the academic group, the less likely it was to consider a boycott of Israeli colleagues.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

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: