New Iran Deal or New Israel?
Israel under Netanjahu has happy to have Trump and the end of the Iran deal, because for Israel it was clear that it had to many loopholes, sunset clauses, allowed Iran to push its missile program, support its regional expansionist proxy wars with Western money and to expand terrorism. Therefore Bibi was grateful when Trump canceled the Irand deal, made his maximum pressure strategy, Abraham records and eliminated the fanatic leader of the Iranian Revolutionary Corps Solemeini. However Bennett has now a coalition government, critizised the biased Trump orientation of Bibi and included Blue- White under Gantz and other parts of the political parties while Bibi didn´t behave like Trump as he didn´t ignite a storm on the Knesset like Capitol Hill. He tried to make a broader political arrangement and also to establish new relations with the Democrats and the Biden administration. However the Israeli government is very skeptical about the new initiatives of the Biden administration to sign a new Iran deal. However, time is running out as the new elected Iranian goverment under hardline president Raisi pushes the nuclear program. An indicator for this is an article in the Jerusalem Post which emphazises that Iran is building unbombable nuclear facilities:
“Why is no one talking about Iran digging a new unbombable nuke facility? – analysis
The facility in Natanz is built deep under a massive mountain, making it extremely difficult for the IDF to ever bomb it.
By Yonah Jeremy Bob
Published: FEBRUARY 16, 2022 21:22
Updated: FEBRUARY 19, 2022
Iran is developing a new nuclear threat that could be a game-changer – and which will continue to proceed regardless of whether there is a nuclear deal or not.
It is a problem that almost no one is talking about, in an area called Natanz where the Mossad allegedly blew up two different nuclear facilities in July 2020 and April 2021 respectively.
The new enormous nuclear threat is a new underground facility Iran is digging and building in the Natanz area which goes so deep under a mountain so large that it will leave the Fordow facility in the dust in terms of how difficult it would be for the IDF to strike it.
In a report, Institute for Science and International Security president David Albright wrote, “Fordow is already viewed as so deeply buried that it would be difficult to destroy via aerial attack. The new Natanz site may be even harder to destroy.”
Why no one is talking about it – other than Albright – is probably a mix of it being an issue that may not fully mature until 2023 and that there are few good options for addressing it.
The main mountain harboring the new Natanz tunnel complex is called Kuh-e Kolang Gaz La and has a height of 1608 meters above sea level, he said.
In comparison, the mountain harboring the Fordow centrifuge enrichment plant, called Kūh-e Dāgh Ghū’ī, is about 960 meters tall.
The report said that this makes the Natanz mountain about 650 meters or well over 50% taller, potentially providing even greater protection to any facility built underneath it.
For around 13 years, military strategists have debated and pulled their hair out over whether Israel’s vaunted air force has weaponry that could go deep enough underground to destroy Fordow.
If Israel cannot destroy Fordow, then it substantially reduces the potential for success by any Israeli use of force against the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.
Albright is saying in no uncertain terms that the new facility being built in the Natanz area will be 50% harder to destroy than Fordow, which Jerusalem might be unable to destroy.
According to the report, the underground facility is also huge.
This means that the largest segments of Tehran’s nuclear programs may eventually move to this site.
“A Western intelligence official recently stated that there is strong reason to believe that an enrichment plant is being built at the Natanz underground site, and reiterated the claim in a follow-up conversation,” wrote Albright.
Continuing, he said, “The Institute was not able to independently confirm this, but a small, advanced centrifuge enrichment plant is certainly the most worrisome possibility.”
Albright wrote that “a relatively small number of advanced IR-6 centrifuges, say 1,000, would be enough to create a more powerful enrichment plant, providing a doubling of the enrichment output compared to Fordow and requiring about one-third of the floor area of Fordow’s main hall.”
In turn, this could mean that the vast majority of Iran’s nuclear program could become untouchable by any airstrike.
The construction of the new underground complex has been an Iranian priority, following the two previous sabotage operations.
Ali Akbar Salehi, the then-head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) stated in April 2021, “We are working 24/7 to move all our sensitive halls into the heart of the mountain near Natanz.”
However, more than a year and a half after the July 2020 sabotage, the replacement facility remains undone. Salehi had also said they hoped the halls “will be ready by next year so we can move these facilities to them.”
However, even now it is unknown if the new site will be ready for operation before 2023.
Once the Islamic Republic does have it up and running though, the report suggested that Iran could jump back up from assembling hundreds of new advanced centrifuges per year to thousands.
Until the new facility is built, Albright said that Tehran is “depending on ad hoc above ground centrifuge capabilities limited to the assembly of hundreds of advanced centrifuges per year,” with the sabotage operations setting back “Iran’s centrifuge program significantly.”
ll of this is true despite Iran’s success at operating enough advanced centrifuges to enrich enough uranium for multiple potential nuclear weapons – if it decides to enrich up further to weaponized levels.
In terms of the status of the construction, satellite images throughout 2021 show extensive excavation activities, with spoil piles growing steadily, said the report.
As of November 2021, the report said that “the area remains a major construction zone, excavation appears ongoing, and the overall tunnel facility does not appear finished. Construction materials visibly stored along the graded roads may indicate ongoing tunnel lining efforts or that Iran has begun to outfit the interior in parts of the tunnel complex.”
“Two tunnel entrance areas, one west and one east of a large mountain, with three likely tunnel portals, have been identified in commercial satellite imagery, as well as a construction staging area and probable future above-ground support site,” said the report.
Albright wrote that, “near the Western tunnel portal, there is road grading, perhaps for a second Western portal, or the genesis of an access route to the top of the mountain to allow the construction of a ventilation shaft/system on the top of the mountain.”
He recommended that “efforts should be made to dissuade Iran from finishing this facility, or… to at least disrupt its procurements of needed equipment and raw materials,” since otherwise, the facility could “reconstitute Iran’s ability to deploy thousands of advanced centrifuges each year, once again complicating any effort to lengthen its breakout or sneak-out timelines in a nuclear agreement.”
Therefore the question arises if a preemptive military strike or another Iran deal was the better solution. While Russia started a war against Ukraine, the Iran deal negotations are said to get in their “decisive stage”. While Iran first blamed the Europeans to be too slow on compromises, then the USA, Russia tried to stop the negotiations if in such a Iran deal Russian-Iranian trade would be a target of US sanctions. The Russians wanted to create a loophole via Iran against US sanctions. On the other side these sanctions were undermined by South Korea which allowed its banks to ease the freeze on Iranian bank accounts. The Biden administration also talks about the easening of sanctions, to drop the Iranian Revolutionary Corps of its terrorist list and to start a exchange of hostages.
“US weighs dropping Iran’s IRGC from terrorism list
Washington has not decided what might be an acceptable commitment from Tehran in exchange for such a step.
“Iran deal may keep billion-dollar Russia sanctions loophole – Nuke expert
Part of the 2015 JCPOA Iran deal which the new deal is building on provides for ongoing civil nuclear power cooperation between Russia and Iran.”
At this stage Iran fired missiles on a US military base in Iraq which was not met by strong US protests. However the negotations seem to be continued and it is hard to predict what the outcome will be .A reset of the old Iran deal will face strong opposition by Trump, the Republicans and even Democrats in the coming elections, on the other side Biden seems to be hesitating to have another confrontation with Iran while he has to focus on the Ukraine war and prevent a Sinoamerican confrontation at the moment. But while Biden and the US administration want an oil and gas boycott against Russia, the USA think about compensating the oil imports from Russia with even Iran and Venezuela. Newt Gingrich is already critisizing Biden and to use this opportunity for arguments against the New Green Deal and Biden´s energy policy:
“Biden’s Energy Policy is Helping Dictators and Harming Americans
When the Biden administration appeals to Iran, Venezuela and Saudi Arabia for oil but rejects American and Canadian oil and gas production, there is something profoundly wrong.
Why does Joe Biden think dictators are better than Americans? Why send money to Iran instead of Oklahoma—or to Venezuela instead of Texas? If he wants to send money outside the United States, why not send money to Canada rather than Saudi Arabia?
Biden’s opposition to American oil and gas is killing jobs, weakening our national security, endangering our allies and restricting the United States‘ foreign trade.
The price of oil has jumped from $53 a barrel when Donald Trump left office to $123 a barrel as I write this column. The correct American response would be to maximize the production of American oil and gas, so we can drive down the price of energy. By emphasizing American production, we would create jobs in the oil patch (which for natural gas includes Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, and more traditional producing states). This could even include New York if the liberal politicians there did not ban fracking and thereby reduce the income of New York farmers and landowners.
Furthermore, the right strategy would include a massive increase in liquid natural gas production, so American gas could replace Russian gas in Western Europe. This would be good for European independence from Russian pressure and create American jobs. A decision to return to American energy independence would lower the price of gasoline, make the Ukraine war far more expensive for Russia, and bring relief to many millions of Americans.
The Biden team insists that its boycott of Russian oil is the only reason for the high cost of gasoline and heating oil. They expect us to ignore the degree to which they have crippled American energy production. The fact is the nuttier arm of Biden’s team would like to eliminate all oil and gas production. The left-wing fantasy of a gasoline-free future was recently captured by Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg when he said:
Clean transportation can bring significant cost savings for the American people as well. Last month we announced a $5 billion investment to build out a nationwide electric vehicle charging network so the people from rural to suburban to urban communities can all benefit from the gas savings of driving an EV.
Marie Antoinette said of hungry Parisians, „let them eat cake.“ Now, the Biden administration says of cash-poor Americans, „let them buy an electric car.“ Of course, the administration can’t say „buy a Tesla,“ because Tesla is a non-union company. The Biden team feels loyalty toward the United Auto Workers—not the American people. Biden could only mention Ford and General Motors in his State of the Union, because none of the other American auto companies have UAW memberships (Dodge is owned by Stellantis, which is headquartered in the Netherlands).
The suggestion that working and retired Americans who are struggling to pay $4.50 a gallon (and even more in some places) should shell out tens of thousands of dollars for an electric car shows just how out of touch with reality the Biden team is. Furthermore, note that Buttigieg was not suggesting that Americans go out and buy a car tomorrow. He was suggesting that a $5 billion investment in an electric vehicle charging network (which will take years to build) was the answer to high-priced gasoline today.
The Biden team is blissfully ignoring our energy problems, not to mention Ukraine, Iran, rising crime, chaos at the border, unemployment, ballooning inflation—the list goes on. Unfortunately, for most Americans, the world Biden is creating is expensive and does not work.
As you watch the Biden administration fail, ask yourself: „why Venezuela and not Texas? Why Iran and not Canada? Just how unwilling are they to help America?“
Every time you go to the gas station, remember it is Biden’s policies—and not bad luck or Putin’s aggression—which is costing you so much to fill up your car.
Then ask your representatives in the House and Senate to override Biden’s insanity on energy and return us to an American energy policy.
However, The Atlantic is countering Gngrich´s arugments:
“America Is the World’s Largest Oil Producer. So Why Is Losing Russia’s Oil Such a Big Deal?
The U.S. might be “energy independent,” but it still can’t control production.
In December, in a ballet of global logistics, more than 30 tankers ferrying liquid natural gas from the United States to various destinations around the globe—Japan, Brazil, South Africa—canceled their trips and set a new course for the European Union. On the days they pulled into port, the U.S. supplied more natural gas to Europe than Russia did.
This represented more than a minor milestone in global energy history. As recently as the mid-2000s, energy companies fretted that the U.S. would soon run out of natural gas. Now, thanks to the U.S.-invented technology of hydrofracturing, or fracking, the country produces more gas than it can consume. “As in World War II and other crises, America has Europe’s back,” Mike Sommers, the chief executive of the American Petroleum Institute, wrote last week. (The institute, despite its scholastic name, is Washington’s leading lobbyist for the oil-and-gas industry.)
Or … does it? Upon closer inspection, the fleet demonstrated not the raw power of American industry, but the inescapable supremacy of the market. The ships, after all, did not change course because the State Department had requisitioned the gas. The freedom-loving people of Houston had not donated gas to their Lithuanian kin. No, the tankers’ journey to Europe was choreographed by the same force that every year sends cardiologists to Florida: abundant and profligate demand. In late December, European natural-gas prices stood at then-record highs. So the ships went. If they had been carrying Qatari gas, they would have gone all the same.
The episode reveals the power—and problems—of a vision that has guided U.S. energy policy for nearly 50 years. In 1973, President Richard Nixon announced Project Independence, a campaign to wean America off foreign oil by 1980. The project failed, but since then every president from Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama has aimed for “energy independence.” (Donald Trump, with characteristic flair, modulated this to “energy dominance.”) If the U.S. produced its own fossil fuels, the thinking went, then it would be protected from faraway wars and crises. Perhaps it could even abandon its costly military bases in the Middle East.
Since 2018, the United States has been the world’s largest producer of oil and natural gas. On paper, “we are energy independent,” John Hess, the CEO of Hess, said yesterday at CERAWeek, the energy industry’s annual conference. But what a funny kind of independence it is. As he spoke, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine pushed U.S. gas prices to more than $4.10 a gallon, setting a new all-time high. Energy independence has neither insulated the economy from geopolitics nor provided the U.S. with more industrial capacity in an emergency. It certainly hasn’t helped slow down climate change.
However, that Biden wants to use Iran and Venezuela while the Iran deal negotations in Vienna are said to be in the decisive stage, seems to be understood in Israel as a warning omen. The most obvious symptom of that is the following article in the Jerusalem Post:
“Greek islands can be ’safe haven for Israelis‘ in case of Iranian nuclear attack
It was suggested this week that Israel purchase Greek islands in the Mediterranean as an evacuation spot in case the Iranian threat escalates.
By MOSHE COHEN/MAARIV
Published: MARCH 16, 2022 20:58
Could the State of Israel purchase Greek islands in the Mediterranean? According to attorney Avri Steiner, the islands would become another Iron Dome amidst increasing ballistic threats from Iran.
In a board meeting for Heimanuta, a subsidiary of Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF) that deals in the purchase of land, Steiner floated the idea as a contingency plan for the evacuation of Israelis in case of an Iranian missile attack.
The suggestion was rejected by the Heimanuta board, who ruled that buying land outside the land of Israel is „not KKl-JNF’s mission.“
Speaking to Maariv, the attorney, who is on Heimanuta’s board, argued that the prospect of the KKL-JNF subsidiary purchasing Greek islands is a necessity for evacuating Israelis in case of a missile attack or natural disaster events.
Steiner told Maariv he felt it necessary to suggest the idea to Heimanuta’s board of directors after reports on the Islamic Republic’s ballistic arsenal. On Tuesday, US Central Command Gen. Kenneth McKenzie said Iran has more than 3,000 ballistic missiles, many of which can reach the State of Israel.
Steiner, an active member of the World Zionist Congress, claimed it to be an opportunity to provide a safe haven in the case of an extensive threat to the Israeli population.
„I came up with the idea that the state, or an independent Zionist body, should look for unpopulated land that can be purchased and establish the infrastructure needed to evacuate citizens in times of need.“
„Israel needs to have property or lease on large areas“ and Greek islands, which are „largely unpopulated“ according to Steiner, are perfect due to their proximity to Israel.
„It’s a humanitarian purchase,“ Steiner argued.
Like the Irish at St. Patrick´s Day the Israelis and Jews have their Purim festival which remembers them that the Persian general Haman wanted to kill all Jews in the Persian Empire while Esther and Mordechai saved the Jews by slaughtering the former Persian Hitler and Heordes Haman and his 75000 soldiers. It is understandable if the Israelis are getting drunk facing the new Iranian threat by a new Iran deal. It´s real a dilemma for the Israelis. But maybe a preemptive military strike would be better than getting drunk or settle to Greece islands, even if you could manage Israeli gas supply for Europe and Turkey from the Mediterrean Gas Forum Israel, Egypt, Greece, Cyprus created under Pompeo and Trump. Maybe there will be a new Jewish Leviathan.