DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 21, 2013
The Iranian team faced the six world powers in Geneva Thursday, Nov. 21, with strict orders not to give ground on the two major sticking points for a first-step deal on their nuclear program: The heavy water reactor under construction at Arak for plutonium production and Iran’s “right” to uranium enrichment. debkafile: If Tehran wins those two points, any other concessions it may offer are worthless, because Iran will be left in possession of two optional nuclear weaponizing tracks instead of one - plutonium as well as enriched uranium.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 20, 2013
The six powers’ negotiators sat down in Geneva for resumed nuclear talks with Iran Wednesday, Nov. 20 in a haze of cautious optimism radiating from Washington, Moscow and London. Still, no one was laying bets. True to past form, the Iranian foreign minister might at the last moment say he is not authorized to accept one point or another and must return to Tehran for consultations. Some Western powers are meanwhile banking on Washington’s eagerness for a deal to start talking to Tehran about restoring business ties.
Four new Iranian conditions block nuclear accord in Geneva. Putin calls Rouhani, Lavrov attacks Israel
DEBKAfile Special Report November 19, 2013
Early Tuesday, Nov. 19, the US and Russian presidents went into action for a last-ditch bid to rescue a nuclear deal between the six powers and Iran in the face of a new impediment and crisis: Four noes from Tehran. They fear the negotiating track may not survive the new crisis. debkafile note the strange paradox of two leaders, Ayatollah Khamenei and Prime Minister Netanyahu, implacable adversaries in all else, maneuvering with all their might for the same object of taking the wind out of the sails of this deal.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis November 16, 2013
French President Francois Hollande and Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius arrive in Jerusalem Sunday, Nov. 17. Their talks with Israel’s leaders will show if France stands by its independent stance against Washington’s détente with Tehran and is willing to throw in its lot ad hoc with Israel, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt. Their outcome will determine whether Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu goes to Moscow next Wednesday alone or with French and Saudi backing. The next round of nuclear negotiations in Geneva on Nov. 20 will also be influenced.
Secret Israeli document to White House shows how US strategy shortens route to Iranian nuclear weapon
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 15, 2013
Thursday, Nov. 14, Israel sent the White House a confidential document outlining blow by blow how and when Iran will attain a nuclear weapon if the Obama-Kerry strategy for dealing with the issue goes through. The document was addressed to the National Security Council headed by Susan Rice, which debkafile reports takes issue with State Department policies on Iran, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. The Israeli document illustrates in technical detail how the American proposal will shorten Iran’s route to breakout for a nuclear weapon, instead of delaying it.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 14, 2013
Barack Obama’s bid for a negotiated Iranian nuclear accord is stuck fast by the six powers’ disunity and Khamenei’s refusal to utter a word to keep the diplomatic ball rolling. Obama has even dropped his military option and offered to ease sanctions to draw him out of his silence.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 14, 2013
Nuclear watchdog Director Yukiya Amano was cold-shouldered by Iran’s leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei although Foreign Minister Javad Zarif promised the Obama administration he would be received during his visit Monday, Nov. 11. That meeting was to have signaled the ayatollah’s go-ahead for continuing talks on Iran’s nuclear program after they were bogged down in Geneva. That go-ahead remains unavailable. debkafile: Tehran has accelerated nuclear enrichment; the production of centrifuges and their installation; and construction at the Arak heavy water plant.
DEBKAfile Special Report November 11, 2013
Secretary of State John Kerry landed in Dubai Monday, Nov. 11, to try and break up the unique bond of European governments, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf Arab states and Israel which stalled the US-Iranian nuclear deal in Geneva. debkafile: Washington shows no sign of toning down its deal with Iran, although US undersecretary Wendy Sherman and EU’s Catherine Ashton are blamed for damaging the process by opening the draft too freely for amendments by Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zerif, which even Kerry was not ready to sign.
Iranian leaders urgently mull some nuclear flexibility. Rouhani tells Khamenei: The cupboard is bare!
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 10, 2013
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif asked Sunday, Nov. 10 for an urgent meeting with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the day after France aborted a nuclear accord at the Geneva conference with the six powers, debkafile reports exclusively. They warn that unless Iran shows flexibility on Western demands regarding its 20-percent enriched uranium stocks and the Arak heavy water reactor, negotiations with the powers will remain stalled. Sanctions relief is urgent because the government is running out of money to meet current needs.
DEBKAfile Special Report November 10, 2013
France amazed its fellow five powers and Iran by sticking to its guns to the last. They never imagined French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius would actually scupper the Geneva nuclear conference when it came closer than ever before to a joint accord. The intense pressure the US beamed at Jerusalem turns now to Paris. The conference reconvenes on Nov. 20. But meanwhile, President Barack Obama and Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif have suffered a stinging setback after long secret negotiations.
Israel accuses US of deceit on nuclear deal with Iran. Geneva signing drags out as Iran ups its price
DEBKAfile Special Report November 9, 2013
The delay in signing the first interim nuclear accord with Iran in Geneva prompted the remark by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius: “There is an initial draft that we do not accept… I have no certainty that we can finish up.” However, debkafile confirms that the deal cut directly between Washington and Tehran ahead of the Geneva conference will be signed at latest Saturday, Nov. 9, or Sunday - in the face of French reservations, Israel’s fury and Tehran's opportunist bid to extort more concessions at the last minute.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis November 8, 2013
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu slams the interim nuclear agreement with Iran as “burying the possibility of a peaceful final accord.” He said: “Israel is not obliged by this agreement and will do everything it needs to do to defend itself and its people’s security.” debkafile: This was a dual warning: 1) Israel has abandoned its trust in Barack Obama ever complying with his pledge to its security and will henceforth act on its own. 2) Israel may yet exercise its military option against Iran’s nuclear capability – whether openly or covertly.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 8, 2013
Washington hopes by clinching a fast deal with Iran, albeit a partial and first step, to avert an Israeli strike and delay the transfer of Pakistani nukes paid for by Riyadh to Saudi Arabia.
Major Israel-US rift over Washington plan to let Tehran continue enriching uranium with sanctions relief
DEBKAfile Special Report November 7, 2013
Israel voiced early Thursday, Nov. 7, its utter opposition to the new proposal the US plans to put before the two-day Geneva conference opening later in the day on Iran’s nuclear program. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, when he met US Secretary of State John Kerry in Jerusalem Wednesday, bitterly accused the Obama administration of yielding to the Russian-backed Iranian position. Should Tehran renege on the deal, the US proposal leaves it with the capacity for enriching enough weapons-grade uranium in 10 days to build several nuclear weapons.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 6, 2013
Avigdor Lieberman’s unanimous acquittal by a Jerusalem court on charges of fraud and breach of trust, Wednesday, Nov. 6 - and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s instantaneous welcome of his ally’s return to government - dovetail neatly with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement of talks with the Israeli prime minister in Moscow on Nov. 20. Lieberman is due to be sworn into his old post as foreign minister. An invitation for Lieberman to join Netanyahu would be significant in terms of Israel’s foreign policy posture and internal political balance.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 5, 2013
Shortly before US Secretary of State John Kerry landed in Jerusalem Tuesday night, Nov. 5, the Russian president’s office announced a short working visit to Moscow by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu would take place on Nov. 20 for talks with President Vladimir Putin. debkafile: Netanyahu has determined to explore the route trodden by Saudi Arabia, Gulf Emirates and Egypt, who - feeling let down by the Obama administration’s decision to pull out of the Middle East and conerned by its outreach to Iran - turned to Moscow for closer ties.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 3, 2013
A mysterious blast which last week struck the heavy water reactor under construction at Arak in western Iran is revealed here for the first time by debkafile’s exclusive sources. They estimate it occurred in the coolant containers and pressure gauges attached to the reactor’s core during preparations for a test. The full extent of the damage is not yet known, but it is believed heavy enough to indefinitely delay the reactor’s operation. Iranian nuclear experts are looking at four possible causes, including sabotage and a virus in the computers operating its systems.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 31, 2013
The Kremlin believes its “nuclear restraint” deal with Tehran is a good enough basis for a final accord with the US. However, it leaves Iran with the option for reactivating its weapons program and building several atomic bombs in 10 days.
Braced for imminent nuclear accord with Iran, US pulls away from military option, IDF stays on the ready
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 31, 2013
Israel’s high command, assuming that an American-Iranian nuclear accord is near its final stage, plans to continue preparations for a unilateral military strike on Iran’s nuclear program into 2014 – hence the IDF’s request for a supplemental NIS3.5bn (app. $1bn) defense budget this week. debkafile: The main body of the accord is complete. All the same, President Barack Obama plans to announce before Christmas that only partial agreement has been achieved and negotiations will continue - to avoid coming clean on the full scope of the deal with Tehran.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 28, 2013
Spy services have been mystified by the unusual three-week absence from public view of Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Various theories claimed he was ill or in seclusion to escape the furor in Tehran over the future of Iran’s nuclear program and relations with the United States. debkafile: Khamenei stayed home to work on the draft US-Iranian-Russian deal for resolving the Iranian nuclear issue. The accord is now in the bag. This secret will be revealed in stages - first by President Barack Obama, in the third week of December.