Israel Provoking War With Iran?
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Monday that Israeli intelligence had smuggled physical documents detailing Iran's nuclear program out of Iran itself, and is claiming that it is proof that Iran has been lying about the country's ambitions to develop nuclear weapons.
“These files conclusively prove that Iran is brazenly lying when it said it never had a nuclear weapons program,” Mr. Netanyahu said, pointing to copies of what he said were 55,000 printed pages and 183 compact discs.
The implication being that the pretext upon which the Iranian nuclear deal was made would be proven a lie, and the country was only looking to ease economic sanctions by manipulating the P5 members using the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or the JCPOA, the full name of the Iranian nuclear deal that went into effect back in 2015. Easing these sanctions has resulted in billions being injected into the Iranian economy, which Israel has argued Iran is using to arm Hamas and Hezbollah in order to further destabilize Israel.
The news was dropped after the US hosted both French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who urged President Trump not to leave the Iranian deal.
Netanyahu said that the information had been already been shared with the United States.
Congress requires the US president to certify every 90 days that Iran is upholding its part of the agreement. President Trump had already recertified twice but had so far refused to sign a third time ahead of a Sunday deadline. He has been extremely critical of the deal, and one of his campaign promises was pulling out of the Iran deal.
Newly confirmed US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was also in Israel recently and had met with Netanyahu. Pompeo's confirmation was controversial, with Rand Paul citing his support of the war in Iraq and "enhanced interrogation techniques". "I'm perplexed by the nomination of people who love the Iraq War so much that they would advocate for a war with Iran next," Paul said last month. "It goes against most of the things President Trump campaigned on, that the unintended consequences of regime change in Iraq led to instability in the Middle East." Trump had specifically brought in Pompeo after ousting Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State because of their differences on Iran.
What is interesting here is that the Iranian program to build nuclear weapons was not exactly a secret. While Iran had denied it publicly, both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama had both publicly stated that Iran had a bomb project, and worked with Israel to prevent it. In effect, the JCPOA was made possible by allowing Iran to lie about the past, while imposing verification on it for the future. The only difference now is that there is direct proof that they had lied.
But Iran has also worked directly with Russia on nuclear projects. Iran's Bushehr nuclear plant was built with the help Russia's state atomic energy corporation Rosatom. The plutonium reactor has been the public face of the Iranian regime's nuclear program since Tehran and Moscow concluded the agreement to build it, despite American objections, in early 1995. Construction was completed in 2004, but Bushehr has laid dormant for years, ostensibly because of disputes over financing between Russia and Iran, but really because of Moscow's recognition of Washington's worries about Iran's nuclear program.
But on 8/13/2010, Rosatom announced that it would begin packing fuel rods into the reactor, after which "the plant can be certified as a nuclear power installation." The news was criticized at the time, and rightfully so. The fear was that fuel from the plant could be diverted to expand Iran's existing stockpile of weapons-usable fissile material, and could also serve as a critical training ground for Iranian scientists and technicians, significantly expanding the knowledge base (and consequently the pace) of Iran's nuclear program.
The fuel news came just a mere month after Rosatom announced its intention to acquire at 51 percent majority stake in Uranium One, giving Russia access to American uranium. Uranium One was a mining company with a 20% stake in American uranium mineral rights that was then bought by Rosatom after a meeting between Bill Clinton and Vladimir Putin in 2010. The sale was approved by the Obama administration, and investigations into Russian bribery and corruption in the uranium industries were closed under James Comey, while gag orders were placed on informants under Loretta Lynch. Bill Clinton was paid $500,000 by Renaissance Capital, a Russian investment bank with ties to Putin, for "speaking fees" after that meeting.
Netanyahu’s announcement comes on the heels of a missile strike in Syria Sunday night, hitting facilities in Syria where Iran and its militant proxies had set up camp, causing an explosion so large that it shook the ground like a minor earthquake. Initial reports from the area were that the explosion was nuclear, but it was later revealed that the strikes hit a munitions storage site on Sunday, causing the massive explosion. It destroyed a cache of missiles and killed at least 16 people, many of them Iranians. The speculation is that it may have been a nuclear facility, controlled by the Iranians.
So the story here being ultimately illustrated here is that Russia bribed their way into securing American uranium, and potentially funneled that to Iran, who then abused the access and are covertly working to build a nuclear weapon using the war in Syria as cover.
There are a lot of moving parts, but the irresponsible actions of the Obama administration in league with the Clintons may have caused a situation where America is being provoked into taking action against Iran.
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