US upholds Israel’s nuclear position as long as Iran enriches uranium
This statement by a senior American official amounts to Washington’s endorsement of Israel’s presumed nuclear capability as long as Iran persists in continuing to enrich uranium in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions, debkafile‘s political sources report.
It removes a major obstacle clouding White House talks next Monday, May 18, between Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu and president Barack Obama and paves the way for an Israeli request to extend the 40-year old “ambiguity” arrangement approved by Obama’s predecessors.
The senior US official, who spoke in Vienna on condition of anonymity, was addressing preparatory talks for a nuclear non-proliferation treaty review conference in 2010 Friday night, May 15. He made it clear that US arms control negotiator Rose Gottermoelle did not break new ground last week when she urged presumed atomic powers India, Israel, Pakistan and North Korea to join the nuclear non-proliferation pact.
The US official said Friday: The four were unlikely to join the NPT “until there is a change in the overall political and security context.” He added: “In the particular case of the Middle East, Israeli adherence to the NPT is only going to be possible in the context of… full compliance with [the treaty in the region].” Establishing a Middle East nuclear weapons-free zone “depends on Iran fully complying with its NPT obligations and suspending uranium enrichment.”
This statement eased concerns in Jerusalem that as part of his drive for global nuclear disarmament, President Obama would insist on Israel leading the way to win a bargaining chip in his forthcoming diplomatic negotiatons with Tehran. This would have terminated the informal longstanding deal between Jerusalem and US presidents allowing Israel to refrain from admitting or denying possession of a nuclear arsenal while maintaining the status of a nuclear power in relation to its enemies.
At the Vienna meeting, the five major UN powers welcomed the decision by the US and Russia to negotiate an updated version of the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START). Their officials meet in Moscow next week.