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.
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President Trump this afternoon announced another round of sanctions on North Korea, calling the regime "a continuing threat." The executive order, which Trump relayed to Congress, bans any ship or plane that has visited North Korea from visiting the United States within 180 days. The order also authorizes sanctions on any financial institution doing business with North Korea, and permits the secretaries of State and the Treasury to sanction any person involved in trading with North Korea, operating a port there, or involved in a variety of industries there.
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