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Israel, US Must Work Together to Stop Iran's Nuke Goals

an iranian flag with nuclear missiles in the background

Micah Halpern By Tuesday, 20 April 2021 10:19 AM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

Iran's nuclear development site Natanz was the target of a surgical strike. The strike set Iran's nuclear development program back by several months.

That setback is good news for the Western world. But that doesn't necessarily mean that it is bad news for Iran. With one surgical strike Iran became empowered. Iran now has the upper hand in the ongoing talks to kickstart the nuke deal. Iran is now the victim.

According to a report published in The Wall Street Journal, Israel informed the United States that they were going to attack the site. Note the wordage. Jerusalem did not ask permission of the United States. Jerusalem alerted, informed, the United States.

That alert is part of the new understanding that exists between the Biden administration and the Israeli government. Neither country should be surprised nor caught off guard by the actions of the other.

The surgical strike was also covered in the Iranian media. The former head of Iran's nuclear Energy Organization, Fereydoon Abbasi-Davani, described the strike saying: "The design of the enemy was very beautiful." Coming from Iran, that's very high praise. And deservedly so.

The attack took place 50 meters, or 164 feet, below ground. The attack successfully destroyed the electrical system and the backup electricity and the cables that powered the nuclear centrifuges. No one was injured, no one was killed. The damage was severe — but it was all structural.

The reason Iranians built this facility and its energy nerve center 160 feet below ground was, plain and simple, to withstand missile strikes. It took great creativity coupled with critical planning to carry off a successful, precision attack. This attack required the smuggling in and the placing of explosives that were to be triggered remotely.

Iran recognizes the special skill demonstrated by this attack. In fact, they reported the fact of the attack in their media. The truth ends there. They say that it is the work of traitors, and they say that those responsible for the attack have now been arrested.

The truth is, Iran has no idea how this attack was carried out. Iran did not learn from experience. In July of 2020 a similar successful attack took place in Natanz. The difference is that the July explosions were above ground and wiped out 75% of the uranium centrifuge development.

There are operational rules when it comes to strikes. If a strike is successful as a test and if the opposition does not plug their holes, the attacker expands on their original plan. If the holes are plugged, you try something new.

Iran points their finger at Israel's involvement in this Natanz attack, but they have admitted that in 2018 Israel did steal the Iranian Nuclear Archive. The Iranian Nuclear Organization made their admission official via the official Iranian news site Mehr News.

Momeen Rezaei, secretary of the Expediency Discernment Council, which reports directly to the Supreme Leader said: "Before this, documents from our entire nuclear [archive] have been stolen, and before that, a few suspicious drones came and did some work."

Israel had planned this operation for months. The materials were smuggled in over time and then Israel waited for the proper time and the appropriate reason to execute their attack. And the time was now.

Israel struck as Iran was making the transition to 60% uranium enrichment. Sixty percent is 20 times the agreed upon enrichment quotient in the original nuke deal signed in 2015 by Iran and the P5+1, the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany.

Iran argues that, because the United States withdrew from the agreement in 2018, the original deal is no longer valid. They argue that they are free to do whatever they want regarding all forms of nuclear development, including enrichment.

The P5+1 want to simply reinstate the deal. Iran wants the deal sweetened. Enriching uranium to 60% is a perfect example of their intentions. And 60% uranium enrichment will be the new starting point in their talks. Iran is using the discussions to better their position.

Israel struck the enrichment centrifuges to stop their development. And now Iran is playing the victim and they are pledging revenge.

Revenge may be sweet, but for Iran, it is not so simple. Iran will plot and Iran will execute attacks against Israeli targets. Attacks against Israeli merchant ships on the high seas is one form of revenge. Iran will announce those attacks and announce that they have been successful.

But attacking merchant ships is not enough. In the past Iran fabricated attack sites and the damage that was done — and that is what they are doing again. Iranian leadership just announced that they discovered and captured and destroyed the Mossad headquarters in Iraq that was responsible for planning and executing the Natanz attack.

It plays very well on Iranian media — but it is total fiction. It demonstrates that within days of an attack, Iran can investigate and launch a raid that successfully evens the score with Israel.

These are going to be a few very difficult months. Right now Israel and the United States are not on the same page regarding Iran. They need to do more than simply inform one another. They need to work together to stop Iran's race toward nuclear weapons.

Iran's goal is to procure nuclear weapons, Iran's ultimate goal is to provide those nuclear weapons to other countries around the world.

Micah Halpern is a political and foreign affairs commentator. He founded "The Micah Report" and hosts "Thinking Out Loud with Micah Halpern" a weekly TV program and "My Chopp" a daily radio spot. A dynamic speaker, he specializes in analyzing world events and evaluating their relevance and impact. Follow him on Twitter @MicahHalpern. Read Micah Halpern's Reports — More Here.

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Israel informed the United States that they were going to attack the site. Note the wordage. Jerusalem did not ask permission of the United States.
nuclear, weapons
Tuesday, 20 April 2021 10:19 AM
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