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The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) meeting this week in Vienna was a landmark. Washington, London, Paris and Berlin presented a resolution critical of Tehran for not answering queries about uranium at undeclared sites.
The text expresses deep concern about the insufficient Iranian cooperation, despite the agency’s numerous requests. For the first time in two years, a direct indictment of the ayatollahs was voted on. 70 countries signed up to speak before the vote, demonstrating widespread international concern. The motion passed by 30 in favor, two against and three abstentions.
Israel “welcomes the resolution of the Board of Governors of the @IAEAorg, proving that demonstrates that Iran’s nuclear program is systematically violating international commitments.” The world must come together to support the integrity of the IAEA and act against Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.
This came after a report by the IAEA director, Argentine Rafael Grossi, stating that “Iran has not provided technically credible explanations”. A few months ago, the world powers seemed to be close to a new agreement, which included the monitoring of the nuclear program. But the Islamic Republic made an absurd demand: that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) be removed from the American list of terrorist groups. Washington rejected this demand and in March the negotiations broke down.
On Wednesday, Iran said it will prevent monitoring of its nuclear sites. The Persian dictatorship has disconnected surveillance cameras at different nuclear facilities. These are bases located in Tehran, Isfahan and Natanz. The latter is home to the main uranium enrichment plant for possible military use.
The decision may be the final blow to the dialogue in Vienna and constitutes the last Islamic challenge, while strengthening the worst suspicions. The cameras are essential to verify the progress of the nuclear program. The inspectors will no longer be able to guarantee “continuity of knowledge” about its activities.
Iran is very close to having enough material to build an atomic bomb. Already in 2021, it suspended full expert access to its nuclear program. Since then, the agency’s surveillance cameras recorded all nuclear developments on hard drives, which inspectors could review. Future access to this material is now not certain. The goal is for everything that was installed to be dismantled, causing international blindness. If Iran does not restore the cameras to working order, it is a mortal blow to all verification. This implies zero transparency and total uncertainty.
The military option
As this duel unfolds in Vienna, Israel hopes that a process will begin to eliminate the Islamic program to build atomic weapons and missiles that could be delivered by Iran. This capability in the hands of a totalitarian and extremist regime represents a global danger, as does North Korea.
Before the “Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee” of the Knesset, Naftali Bennett detailed that there were concrete ideas to change the nuclear agreement, which could make it acceptable. This comment confirmed that Jerusalem urged Washington to come up with a new plan. It involved lifting certain restrictions in exchange for maintaining control of the atomic program, and the world powers would impose full sanctions if Iran did not comply.
In any case, Israel was never optimistic about diplomacy with Tehran. Not with this theocratic regime. Bennett reported that he explained to Grossi that he continues to preserve the freedom to act against the nuclear program, at any time, with or without an agreement. He reiterated his view that Iran is the head of an octopus with tentacles, and that Israel will attack the head and not just its satellite terrorist groups.
Last month, the Mossad foiled a GRI plot. Since then, three senior Iranian officials have been killed: Colonel Hassan Sayad was assassinated in his car, military officer Ali Esmaelzade fell from a balcony and rocket scientist Ayoob Entezari was poisoned to death. An explosion at the Parchin military complex caused damage this week.
Israel has developed techniques for its F-35 fighter jets to fly to Iran without refueling. They can also carry a new one-ton bomb protected against jamming. While world powers are exhausting the diplomatic option, Jerusalem continues to be prepared against the Iranian threat, on the basis that it can rely on nothing but its own strength. Lessons from history.