UN nuclear watchdog: Israel's 'perceived double-standard' hurts NPT (Haaretz/Reuters)

Het door Israel beschuldigen van Iran zich niet te houden aan non-proliferatie verdragen terwijl zij zichzelf daaraan nooit heeft onderworpen, vormt een ernstige obstakel bij het streven Iran te weerhouden om nucleaire wapens te produceren.

A perception among Arab nations that Israel has undermined the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is a major obstacle to global nuclear disarmament, the head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog said on Monday.

Tensions within the IAEA run deep over Israel’s presumed nuclear might and its shunning of the NPT. Israel is widely believed to have the Middle East’s only nuclear arsenal but it has never confirmed or denied it.

In an article for the International Herald Tribune, Mohamed ElBaradei, director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, set out what he thought should be done to achieve consensus on nuclear disarmament.

"What compounds the problem is that the nuclear non-proliferation regime has lost its legitimacy in the eyes of Arab public opinion because of the perceived double-standards concerning Israel, the only state in the region outside the NPT and known to possess nuclear weapons," he wrote.

ElBaradei also reiterated he was encouraged by new U.S. President Barack Obama’s commitment to making the elimination of all nuclear weapons a central part of his policy platform…

In a broadside against the United States and Israel, he said: "Above all, we need to halt the glaring breach of core principles of international law such as limitations on the unilateral use of force, proportionality in self-defence and the protection of civilians during hostilities in order to avoid a repeat of the civilian carnage in Iraq and, most recently, in Gaza."

ElBaradei, who is due to leave office in November when his third term expires, clashed with the former Bush administration over what he saw as its unilateralism and refusal to engage with foes like Iran.

UN nuclear watchdog: Israel’s ‘perceived double-standard’ hurts NPT (Haaretz/Reuters)

In a rare breach of official American adherence to Israel’s policy of nuclear ambiguity, the U.S. military is terming Israel "a nuclear power" on a par with Russia, China, India, Pakistan and North Korea, all of which have declared their nuclear weapon status, and ahead of "nuclear threshold powers" Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, and the "emerging" Iran.

The reference to Israel as a nuclear power is contained in a document published late last year by the U.S. Joint Forces Command (JFCOM), the Norfolk, Virginia-based headquarters in charge of preparing American forces for their military missions worldwide, including in Iraq and Afghanistan. JFCOM’s chief, U.S. Marine Corps Four-Star General James Mattis, also heads NATO’s Allied Command Transformation.

Israel’s nuclear program is rarely, if ever, explicitly mentioned in public, unclassified U.S. official documents. Classified assessments are usually published only years later, in response to Freedom of Information requests, in former officials’ recollections or as part of historical research. It is virtually unheard of for a senior military commander, while in office, to refer to Israel’s nuclear status…

U.S. Army document describes Israel as ‘a nuclear power’ (By Amir Oren in Haaretz)

The statements by Military Intelligence head, Major General Amos Yadlin, that Iran has crossed the "technological threshold" in its nuclear program, mean only one thing: Everything is now up to Tehran.

If it wants to, Iran can proceed and produce its first nuclear weapon, but if it doesn’t want to, it will not do so. This conclusion means that Israel, through Mossad chief Meir Dagan, who declared it a national priority to foil Iran’s nuclear program, has failed in its mission…

If Iran wants to, it has the resources and the equipment to enrich uranium to a weapons-grade level. Twenty-five kilograms of highly-enriched uranium is sufficient for a bomb.

The new U.S. administration has improved Tehran’s position. The U.S. changed its approach after concluding that prior threats and sanctions had failed to have an effect. President Barack Obama intends to talk with the ayatollahs and to offer them a broad deal: a resolution in Iraq, a joint battle against the Taliban in Afghanistan, recognition of Iran’s regional position and economic incentives.

In return, Washington hopes Iran will agree to cease uranium enrichment. The U.S. also hopes to rally Russian support for this policy, in return for not deploying an anti-ballistic missile system in Poland and the Czech Republic.

However the chances that these international efforts will convince Iran to step down from uranium enrichment are slim. Iran’s aim, as the MI chief said Sunday, is to gain time to improve its technological capabilities…

Yossi Melman: Israel has failed in bid to halt Iran nuke program (By Yossi Melman in Haaretz)

U.S. Intel Chief: Israel takes `worst-case` view of Iran nukes threat (Haaretz)

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