The Destruction of an Iranian Nuclear Facility Makes Nuclear Negotiations Meaningless

June 16 2021

On April 11, an explosion occurred at the Islamic Republic’s underground uranium-enrichment facility in the city Natanz. It appears that Israeli agents succeeded in placing powerful explosives in the facility, and it is likely that few if any of the centrifuges in the complex remain functioning. While Iran has two other facilities where it can enrich uranium—an aboveground one in Natanz and an underground one in the city of Fordow—the 2015 nuclear agreement prohibits most uranium-enrichment at both. Hans Rühle explains the implications for the Biden administration’s attempts to revive the 2015 deal:

What makes the current situation unique is that Israel has succeeded in crippling Iran’s Natanz uranium-enrichment facility for the unforeseeable future—with a single explosive device and without significant collateral damage. This is particularly important because the 2015 nuclear agreement stipulates that Natanz is Iran’s sole [legal] facility for enriching uranium.

Moreover, since Iran’s part in the agreement consisted essentially of reductions in its enrichment capacity at Natanz, the extensive destruction of that facility would thus have made it objectively impossible for Iran to fulfill its obligations under the agreement. Thus, the [deal] is obsolete and should be terminated; in any case, current developments at Natanz should lead to an indefinite suspension of negotiations.

[W]ith the attack on Natanz, Israel has pulled off a brilliant coup. . . . Israel has no reason to hope that U.S. policies will change fundamentally under the Biden administration. Nice words, which President Joe Biden undoubtedly will deploy, are unlikely to be enough to substitute for action.

Read more at National Interest

More about: Iran, Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Mossad, U.S. Foreign policy


The Right and Wrong Ways for the U.S. to Support the Palestinians

Sept. 29 2023

On Wednesday, Elliott Abrams testified before Congress about the Taylor Force Act, passed in 2018 to withhold U.S. funds from the Palestinian Authority (PA) so long as it continues to reward terrorists and their families with cash. Abrams cites several factors explaining the sharp increase in Palestinian terrorism this year, among them Iran’s attempt to wage proxy war on Israel; another is the “Palestinian Authority’s continuing refusal to fight terrorism.” (Video is available at the link below.)

As long as the “pay for slay” system continues, the message to Palestinians is that terrorists should be honored and rewarded. And indeed year after year, the PA honors individuals who have committed acts of terror by naming plazas or schools after them or announcing what heroes they are or were.

There are clear alternatives to “pay to slay.” It would be reasonable for the PA to say that, whatever the crime committed, the criminal’s family and children should not suffer for it. The PA could have implemented a welfare-based system, a system of family allowances based on the number of children—as one example. It has steadfastly refused to do so, precisely because such a system would no longer honor and reward terrorists based on the seriousness of their crimes.

These efforts, like the act itself, are not at all meant to diminish assistance to the Palestinian people. Rather, they are efforts to direct aid to the Palestinian people rather than to convicted terrorists. . . . [T]he Taylor Force Act does not stop U.S. assistance to Palestinians, but keeps it out of hands in the PA that are channels for paying rewards for terror.

[S]hould the United States continue to aid the Palestinian security forces? My answer is yes, and I note that it is also the answer of Israel and Jordan. As I’ve noted, PA efforts against Hamas or other groups may be self-interested—fights among rivals, not principled fights against terrorism. Yet they can have the same effect of lessening the Iranian-backed terrorism committed by Palestinian groups that Iran supports.

Read more at Council on Foreign Relations

More about: Palestinian Authority, Palestinian terror, U.S. Foreign policy