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July 7, 2015 / 20 Tammuz, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘nuclear weapon’

Panetta Announces $70 Million for Iron Dome

Friday, May 18th, 2012

The Obama administration said it would rush $70 million to Israel in order to enhance its Iron Dome missile defense system, with more money in the pipeline.

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said Thursday, after meeting with his Israeli counterpart Ehud Barak, that he was directed by President Obama to meet Israel’s needs for the system as indicated by Barak.

“My goal is to ensure Israel has the funding it needs each year to produce these batteries that can protect its citizens,” Panetta said. “That is why, going forward over the next three years, we intend to request additional funding for Iron Dome based on an annual assessment of Israeli security requirements against an evolving threat.”

Legislation under consideration in Congress, shaped in consultation with administration officials, would deliver $680 million to Israel for the system, which earlier this year successfully intercepted rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.

The system was funded in part by $205 million transferred by the United States to Israel in 2011.

Barak, in a statement, said he “greatly appreciated” the announcement, adding that “This additional funding for the Iron Dome system comes at a crucial time for the Israeli people.”

Barak is in Washington to discuss with Panetta and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton efforts to keep Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee also praised the Obama administration for its announcement.

“This funding will enable the Jewish state to better protect its citizens, thus preventing a wider conflict,” AIPAC said in a statement. “Missile defense programs are a cornerstone of U.S.-Israel cooperative programs. The two allies work together to develop innovative technologies that advance the security of both nations.”

Peres to AIPAC: ‘Iran Will Not Develop a Nuclear Weapon’

Sunday, March 4th, 2012

Israeli President Shimon Peres used his speech to the AIPAC Policy Conference to declare that Iran “will be stopped” and insist that Israel has “a friend in the White House.”

In a wide-ranging speech, Peres also spoke of Israel’s unremitting duty to continue pursuing “a peace based on a Two State Solution,” despite the fact that the Middle East was being rocked by a “storm” of change. He said that the principle of the “The Two State solution” was “a paramount Israeli interest.”

The dovish President also peppered his speech with harsh words about Iran, continuing the rhetorical battle that has picked up frequency and intensity in recent months. He spoke of “Iran’s ambition is to control the Middle East, so it can control a major part of the world’s economy.”

“It must be stopped. And it will be stopped.” Peres proclaimed.

“Peace is always our first option,” he continued. “But, if we are forced to fight, trust me, We shall prevail…The United States and Israel share the same goal – to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. There is NO space between us. Our message is clear: Iran will not develop a nuclear weapon.”

Peres also spoke reassuringly about US President Obama, saying that his “commitment to Israel is deep and profound.” To the audience, Peres insisted: “We have a friend in the White House.”

On a personal note, the Israeli president reminisced about his grandfather, Rabbi Tzvi Melzer, who had accompanied Peres to the train station on his way to Israel. Peres said that his grandfather “whispered in my ear only three words, ‘Shimon…. stay Jewish.'” Not long after, his grandfather and the remaining Jews were murdered by the Nazis.

“What remained was my Grandfather’s legacy, His last words to me ‘Stay Jewish.'”

Santorum: Obama Wants a Nuclear Iran

Monday, February 20th, 2012

The Associated Press  reports that Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum accused President Barack Obama of actively seeking ways to allow Iran  to gain a nuclear weapon and suggested that the administration had betrayed Israel by publicly disclosing what may be a plan to attack the Muslim nation.

“We’re throwing Israel under the bus because we know we’re going to be dependent upon OPEC,” Santorum said during a speech in Oklahoma City. “We’re going to say, ‘Oh, Iran, we don’t want you to get a nuclear weapon — wink, wink, nod, nod — go ahead, just give us your oil.’ Folks, the president of the United States is selling the economic security of the United States down the river right now.”

On Sunday, appearing on “CBS This Morning,” Rick Santorum said the U.S. should issue an ultimatum to Iran to dismantle its nuclear program and “take out those facilities” if that demand goes unmet.

The former Pennsylvania senator chided the Obama administration for not doing enough to thwart Iran’s nuclear ambitions. “Every time we’ve seen something brought up to try to curb Iran and their ability to develop that nuclear weapon, he’s opposed it or grudgingly gone along,” he said.

Later Santorum told CNN that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is divulging sensitive information about Israel’s plans to strike Iran and then inviting scorn upon the Jewish state from the rest of the world.

The Washington Post published a column last week saying that Panetta has concluded that an Israeli strike is likely before summer, but Panetta has declined to comment on that assertion.

In a speech in Greenville, South Carolina, two weeks ago, Santorum warned that Tehran would first destroy Israel and then turn its sights on the United States. “They cannot have a nuclear weapon, because you, in Greenville, will not be safe,” he said, according to the Washington Examiner.

48% of Likely US Voters Say US Should Help Israel if it Attacks Iran

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

According to a survey of 1,000 likely American voters, 48% of respondents want the US to assist Israel if it decides to launch a military attack on Iran.

Rasmussen Reports also found that 83% believe it is at least somewhat likely Iran will develop a nuclear weapon in the near future.

The national survey was conducted February 4-5, and has a 3% margin of error.

 

Israel Military Intelligence: Iran Has Enough Uranium For 4 Nukes

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

Speaking before the Herzliya Conference, Director of Military Intelligence Major General Aviv Kochavi revealed the military’s assessment that Iran can produce four nuclear bombs.

“Iran has enough nuclear material for four bombs,” Kochavi said. “Iran is vigorously pursing military nuclear capabilities and today the intelligence community agrees with Israel on that. Iran has over four tons of enriched materials and nearly 100kg of 20% enriched uranium – that’s enough for four bombs,” he said.

Kochavi stated that Iran’s motivation is threefold: regional hegemony, elevated deterrence, and its desire to be a prime mover in the Middle East. Kochavi added that despite Iranian claims that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, “[w]e have conclusive evidence that they are after nuclear weapons.”

Kochavi expressed his belief that the decision to weaponize the nuclear program hinges on Iranian Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei: “When Khamenei gives the order to produce the first nuclear weapon – it will be done, we believe, within one year.”

On Iranian Nuclear Issue, Mixed Signals Proliferate From Israel, The U.S. And Iran

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

WASHINGTON – Israel, the United States and Iran have all gone deep into mixed-signals territory.

Conversations with Israeli officials, including Defense Minister Ehud Barak, left one prominent journalist convinced that Israel will strike Iran by year’s end. Yet two weeks ago, Barak had said that any possible Israeli attack on Iran is “far off.”

Leon Panetta, the U.S. defense secretary, said in December that any military strike would only set Iran’s nuclear program back a couple years – a remark that some Israelis read as conveying a sense of resignation to the idea that if Iran really wants a nuclear weapon, eventually it will be able to get one.

But in a television interview broadcast Sunday, he vowed the U.S. would take “whatever steps are necessary” to stop Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

Meanwhile, Iran is responding to international sanctions with a mix of threats to shut down the Strait of Hormuz and efforts to placate Western concerns about its nuclear program by allowing in inspectors and calling for new talks.

Two questions remain the focus of considerable speculation: Will Israel strike Iran? And will the sanctions cause Iran to bend? The first question was the subject of a much-discussed Sunday New York Times Magazine cover story by Ronen Bergman, one of Israel’s best-connected security journalists. It featured rare and extensive on-the-record interviews with top Israeli officials, most prominently Barak.

Recent moves by the Iranians have underscored the significance of the second question.

Last week, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that Iran was ready to sit down for talks to discuss its nuclear program. On Sunday, a team of inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations nuclear watchdog, arrived in Tehran.

The team, according to the Associated Press, includes two weapons experts and will visit an Iranian nuclear facility near the religious city of Qom. President Obama’s revelation in 2009 of the until-then secret underground facility helped the U.S. make the case to the world community for intensified sanctions, leading to the recent international squeeze on Iran’s economy and energy sector.

The inspectors’ visit is the first since an IAEA report in November concluded that Iran was engaged in activities – particularly in the area of enhanced uranium enrichment capabilities – that could have no other discernible purpose but weaponization.

Iran continues to insist that its nuclear program has strictly civilian purposes. Ali Akbar Salehi, Iran’s foreign minister, was quoted by various media on Monday as saying that he was “optimistic” about the results of the inspectors’ three-day visit, and that it could be extended “if necessary.” “One shouldn’t get too carried away, but I assume they have something to offer or they would not agree to schedule this visit,” said Barbara Slavin, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council who has written a book on U.S.-Iran relations titled Bitter Friends, Bosom Enemies.

But Michael Adler, an Iran expert at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, noted that the Iranians resisted setting a formal agenda for the inspectors’ visit, which suggested a lack of seriousness by the Iranians.

“Iran has a history of offering to talk when it is under pressure, and then stalling so that the talks delay punitive measures against it,” Adler said.

Iran is also sending mixed messages to the United States in the region. In addition to its threat to shut the Strait of Hormuz in response to mounting sanctions, Iran’s army chief warned a U.S. aircraft carrier not to return to the Persian Gulf. But other Iranian officials later seemed to backtrack, calling the entry of another U.S. carrier into the gulf a routine event. Also this month, Iran test-fired cruise missiles that could be used against U.S. ships.

Israel’s plans, meanwhile, also have been the subject of speculation.

Bergman in his New York Times Magazine article concluded that an Israeli strike before year’s end was all but inevitable.

“I have come to believe that Israel will indeed strike Iran in 2012,” he wrote. “Perhaps in the small and ever-diminishing window that is left, the United States will choose to intervene after all, but here, from the Israeli perspective, there is not much hope for that.”

A number of Iran experts questioned his conclusions, noting that his article included a wealth of Israelis warning against such a strike – and even referred to Barak’s Jan. 18 statement that any decision to strike was “very far off.”

“It was a very odd article considering all the people he quoted who said that a strike was a bad idea,” Slavin said.

In part, Bergman argues, the feeling Israel will need to strike Iran stems from what he suggests is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s belief that the U.S. will not attack in its stead should Iran be on the verge of developing a nuclear weapon.

Panetta: Iran Could Produce Nuke Within a Year

Monday, January 30th, 2012

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, speaking on the CBS program “60 Minutes” on Sunday, said that Iran could develop a nuclear weapon within about one year.

Panetta qualified this statement by saying that it would likely take Iran upwards of three years to produce a missile or other payload that could deliver the weapon.

Panetta repeated the Obama administration’s position that it would “take whatever steps are necessary” to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, which he called a ‘red line’ for both the US and Israel.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/panetta-iran-could-produce-nuke-within-a-year/2012/01/30/

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