Some former U.S. officials and issue experts say Israel appears to have accepted Iran being allowed some degree of nuclear capability, Al-Monitor reports.
The reported shift comes as talks between world powers and Iran point toward a likely outcome in which Tehran would retain a portion of its atomic program — which it says serves only peaceful purposes — albeit with some restrictions aimed at preventing an nuclear weapons program. Iran hopes to gain relief from international sanctions under a comprehensive deal still being finalized.
Al-Monitor cites one former U.S. official who participated in consultations with Israel last month as saying officials there seem to “understand that there is a need for a domestic, indigenous civil nuclear program” if the Iranians are to satisfy their domestic opposition. Jerusalem officials instead have turned their attention to potential problems involved in policing any nuclear deal between Tehran and the the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, the so-called “P-5+1” group.
“But two issues are going to be very hard to persuade the Israelis on,” Al-Monitor quotes an unnamed former U.S. diplomat involved in the recent consultations as saying. “Monitoring: There is very little belief anywhere in Israel that a [comprehensive nuclear] accord can be monitored … that ensures there is not going to be clandestine activity, and the Iranians [could] not break out” at some point.
In addition, the U.S. insiders report Israel is concerned that any Iranian violations of a nuclear deal would be so gradual and slow that Washington would find it hard to identify a point in time when action is warranted.
Meanwhile, a senior Obama administration official on Thursday reiterated Washington’s readiness to trigger new sanctions against Iran if upcoming negotiations in Vienna fail, the Jerusalem Post reported. “If talks break down, and if Iran is not negotiating in good faith, we are prepared to work with Congress to impose more sanctions,” Jake Sullivan, a deputy assistant to President Obama, said on Thursday at an event sponsored by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
What We're Following See More »
President Obama commuted the sentences of another 98 drug offenders on Thursday. Most of the convicts were charged with conspiracy to distribute drugs or possession with intent to distribute. Many of the sentences were commuted to expire next year, but some will run longer. Others are required to enroll in residential drug treatment as a condition of their release.
The Department of Justice announced today it's charged "61 individuals and entities for their alleged involvement in a transnational criminal organization that has victimized tens of thousands of persons in the United States through fraudulent schemes that have resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in losses. In connection with the scheme, 20 individuals were arrested today in the United States and 32 individuals and five call centers in India were charged for their alleged involvement. An additional U.S.-based defendant is currently in the custody of immigration authorities."
Evan McMullin, the independent conservative candidate who may win his home state of Utah, is quietly planning to turn his candidacy into a broader movement for principled conservatism. He tells BuzzFeed he's "skeptical" that the Republican party can reform itself "within a generation" and that the party's internal "disease" can't be cured via "the existing infrastructure.” The ex-CIA employee and Capitol Hill staffer says, “I have seen and worked with a lot of very courageous people in my time [but] I have seen a remarkable display of cowardice over the last couple of months in our leaders.” McMullin's team has assembled organizations in the 11 states where he's on the ballot, and adviser Rick Wilson says "there’s actually a very vibrant market for our message in the urban northeast and in parts of the south."