A Bad Deal?
Times of Israel
rime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu on Monday
announced that he was dis-
patching his national security adviser to
Washington to discuss the particulars of a
permanent agreement with Iran.
"I spoke last night with President
Obama," Netanyahu said. "We agreed
that in the coming days an Israeli team
led by the national security adviser, Yossi
Cohen, will go out to discuss with the
United States the permanent accord with
Iran," he told members of his Likud party.
The two heads of state discussed the
deal reached by the P5+1 states and
Iran over the phone Sunday, less than 24
hours after the agreement was signed.
The prime minister, who reacted to the
news of an interim deal between world
powers and Tehran by calling it a "his-
toric mistake:' reiterated his commitment
to keeping Iran from acquiring a bomb
and said, "This accord must bring about
one outcome: the dismantling of Iran's
military nuclear capability."
"I would be happy if I could join those
voices around the world that are prais-
ing the Geneva agreement," Netanyahu
"It is true that the international pres-
sure that we applied was partly successful
and has led to a better result than what
was originally planned, but this is still a
"It reduces the pressure on Iran with-
out receiving anything tangible in return,
and the Iranians who laughed all the way
to the bank are themselves saying that
this deal has saved them," the prime min-
Israeli TV news reported late Sunday
that Netanyahu was "extremely angry"
with Obama over the deal, that he fears
the international sanctions regime will
now crumble, that the U.S. had not come
clean to Israel over a secret back channel
of talks with Iran, and that Israel's mili-
tary option for intervening in Iran is off
the table for the foreseeable future now
that the interim deal is done.
The White House said, "The president
provided the prime minister with an update
on negotiations in Geneva and underscored
his strong commitment to preventing Iran
from obtaining a nuclear weapon, which is
the aim of the ongoing negotiations."
The six-month pact signed early
Sunday rolls back some sanctions on Iran
in return for limits on nuclear enrich-
ment, the shuttering of certain sites and
an agreement by Tehran to allow some
The White House on Sunday said that
Netanyahu and Obama "reaffirmed their
shared goal of preventing Iran from
obtaining a nuclear weapon:' and Obama
told Netanyahu that he wants the two
sides "to begin consultations immediately
regarding our efforts to negotiate a com-
Em il Sa lma n/POO L/Flas h90/Times of Is rae l
Angry over Iran pact, Netanyahu confers with Obama.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at
a ceremony Sunday night
U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro
wrote on Facebook, "The president
underscored that the United States will
remain firm in our commitment to Israel,
which has good reason to be skeptical
about Iran's intentions:'
Elements Of The Deal
or the first time in a decade, the
United States and a coalition of
world powers have reached an
agreement with Iran to curb the country's
The deal requires Iran to limit its
nuclear enrichment and freeze most of its
centrifuges for six months, as well as halt
construction on its plutonium reactor. In
exchange, the U.S.-led coalition — includ-
ing Britain, France, Russia, China and
Germany — will roll back some of the
sanctions on Iran.
With the help of experts, JTA answers
some questions about the agreement.
What does Iran give up? What
does it get to keep?
Iran's key commitment is to limit its
enrichment of uranium — the element
needed to make a nuclear bomb — to 5
percent. Iran will dilute its stockpile of
20 percent-enriched uranium down to 5
percent, freeze many of its centrifuges that
produce uranium and disable some techni-
cal features of some centrifuges. Iran also
will stop construction and fuel production
for its unfinished plutonium reactor and
not expand its enrichment capabilities.
Under the agreement, Iran may con-
tinue to enrich uranium and does not
need to dismantle any centrifuges or its
plutonium reactor — conditions Israeli
Prime Minister Netanyahu has said are
Why are Israeli officials
criticizing the deal?
Getting uranium from zero to 5 percent
is still the hardest part of enrichment;
jumping from 5 to 90 percent is easier. So
by allowing Iran to enrich to 5 percent,
the agreement allows Iran to continue
clearing the biggest enrichment-related
hurdle to bomb-making capacity.
Iran also possesses "next-generation"
centrifuges that allow it to jump from 5 to
90 percent in a matter of weeks — what
Israelis call a "breakout capacity" The
agreement freezes those centrifuges but
doesn't require Iran to fully dismantle
Israelis fear that Iran could renege on
the deal and then, using its next-gener-
ation centrifuges, produce bomb-grade
uranium within as little as a month.
How does the plutonium
reactor figure in?
The plutonium reactor is another way
Tehran can obtain a nuclear weapon. Iran
has been constructing its plutonium facil-
ity since 2002.
To obtain weapons-grade plutonium,
the reactor would have to convert ura-
nium to plutonium. This process is harder
than enriching uranium but would create
a lighter material, giving missiles longer
The agreement freezes the reactor's
construction and fuel production, but if
those activities resume, the facility could
begin the plutonium production process
within a year, according to Ephraim
Asculai, a senior researcher on the nucle-
ar process at Tel Aviv University's Institute
for National Security Studies.
Once plutonium production begins, it
becomes much harder for an enemy to
bomb the reactor because of radioactive
The agreement stipulates that inspec-
tors from the International Atomic
Energy Agency will conduct daily visits
to enrichment and centrifuge production
facilities. But, some say daily access is
insufficient if inspectors can't make sur-
prise visits to the nuclear facilities.
Which sanctions will be lifted?
Most of the sanctions on Iran's oil and
banking sectors will stay in place, includ-
ing about $100 billion in holdings that
Iran cannot access.
The total sanctions relief in the agree-
ment amounts to $7 billion, including
President Baraack Obama makes a
statement announcing an interim
agreement on Iran's nuclear program
at the White House on Nov. 23.
the release of funds from some Iranian
oil sales and the suspension of sanctions
on Iran's auto, precious metals and petro-
Israeli opponents of the deal worry
that the relief will erode more damaging
sanctions. But in a news conference on
Saturday night, Secretary of State John
Kerry said, "We are committed to main-
taining our commitment to vigorously
enforcing the vast majority of the sanc-
tions that are currently in place:'
November 28 • 2013