Iran has been working for over 20 years to obtain nuclear weapons capabilities despite its declared commitment to pursue only civilian nuclear energy.
During this time, Iran has repeatedly deceived the international community about its nuclear program, including its efforts to conceal enrichment facilities at Natanz and Qom. Iran has also systematically defied United Nations Security Council resolutions which call upon it to end its enrichment.
Brazenly violating these resolutions, Iran has increased the number of centrifuges from 164 in 2006 to over 18,000 today, and it has amassed during negotiations with the international community several tons of enriched uranium.
An Iran with military nuclear capabilities would threaten world peace and stability as well as the security of countries across the Middle East, including Israel, which it threatens to annihilate.
Iran continues to develop missiles of various ranges, including intercontinental ballistic missiles designed to carry nuclear warheads. These missiles pose a threat to the Middle East, Europe, the United States and other countries.
As a result of Iran’s actions, the UN Security Council has adopted a series of resolutions. The most recent one, UNSC Resolution 1929 from June 2010, determined that Iran must:
1. Fully and sustainably suspend all enrichment, reprocessing and heavy water-related activity.
2. Refrain from any activity related to developing ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.
In the resolution, the Security Council determined that Iran had breached previous UNSC resolutions.
Over the years, the international community has imposed on Iran sanctions to compel it to end its military nuclear program. However, Iran continues to blatantly violate Security Council resolutions and to advance its military nuclear program, even as it negotiates with the P5+1.
Today, another round of negotiations between the P5+1 and Iran will begin in Geneva. These negotiations begin at a time when the Iranian regime is under great pressure because of the sanctions and is desperately trying to have them removed. Sanctions must not be eased when they are so close to achieving their intended purpose.
Now is an opportune moment to reach a genuine diplomatic solution that peacefully ends Iran's nuclear weapons program. However, this opportunity can be realized only if the international community continues to put pressure on Iran and does not ease the sanctions prematurely. It would be an historic mistake not to take full advantage of the sanctions, by making concessions before ensuring the dismantling of Iran's nuclear weapons program.
Israel will embrace a genuine diplomatic solution which would bring about the dismantling of Iran's nuclear weapons program. Such a solution would require Iran to comply with Security Council resolutions and other steps which call upon it to:
- Cease all nuclear enrichment.
- Remove from its territory all the stockpiles of enriched uranium.
- Dismantle the underground facilities near Qom and Natanz, including the centrifuges inside them.
- Stop all work on the plutonium-producing heavy water reactor in Arak.
Unfortunately, we have seen no evidence that Iran is willing to accept such a solution. On the contrary, Iran continues to enrich uranium without letting up. It insists that it has the "right to enrich." But as President Rouhani revealed in his 2011 book:
"A country that can enrich uranium to about 3.5% will also have the capability to enrich to 90%... Having fuel cycle capability virtually means that a country that possesses this capability is able to produce nuclear weapons.
Rouhani's goal is clear. Furthermore, the "Supreme Leader" Khamenei is the true decision maker regarding Iran's nuclear program. Khamenei has not given any indication whatsoever that he has changed his objective of attaining nuclear weapons.
Iran claims that it supposedly has the "right to enrich." But a country that regularly deceives the international community, that violates UN Security Council resolutions, that participates in the slaughter of civilians in Syria and that promotes terror worldwide, has no such right.
Israel does not oppose Iran having a peaceful nuclear energy program. But as has been demonstrated in many countries, from Canada to Indonesia, peaceful programs do not require uranium enrichment or plutonium production. Iran's nuclear weapons program does.
Israel calls upon the international community not to reach a partial agreement that would fail to bring about the full dismantling of the Iranian military nuclear program, and at the same time, could lead to the collapse of the sanctions regime.
Iran believes it can get by with cosmetic concessions that would not significantly impede its path to developing nuclear weapons, concessions that could be reversed in weeks. In exchange, Iran demands an easing of the sanctions, which have taken years to put in place.
The international community must reject Iran’s attempts to reach a deal that leaves it with the capability to develop nuclear weapons and must insist upon a genuine and sustainable agreement.