Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Tuesday that Iran has pulled back its nuclear ambitions by allocating its medium-enriched uranium for civilian purposes earlier this year, but insisted on keeping the threat of military action on the table.
Barak was reiterating official Israeli statements from earlier this month which acknowledged the IAEA’s recent findings that Iran on several recent occasions has used the 20 percent enriched uranium – the highest it has and the portion of the program which most riled hawks in the West – to manufacture fuel rods for research for cancer treatment.
This use is exactly the use that Iran has stated its 20 percent enriched uranium is for, as opposed to what war-mongers in Israel and the United States claimed it was for, a creeping nuclear weapons program.
Senior Israeli officials said the IAEA’s findings matched with their own intelligence and Iran’s progress towards nuclear weapons was set back by “eight to ten months.” This amount of time is considerable especially when one takes into account the US intelligence consensus which says that Iran had already been up to four years away from having a deliverable nuclear weapon from that point that the decision to develop one was made, which has not happened yet.
Barak offered some elementary analysis: “There could be at least three explanations. One is the public discourse about a possible Israeli or American operation deterred them from trying to come closer,” he said.
“It could probably be a diplomatic gambit that they have launched in order to avoid this issue culminating before the American election, just to gain some time. It could be a way of telling the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) ‘oh we comply with our commitments.”
However Israeli leaders want to spin it, the fact is that even they now admit that an imminent threat of a nuclear-armed Iran is nonexistent.
Israel significantly dialed back its war propaganda on Iran in the last couple months. Not only did they seem to lose the diplomatic game with the Obama administration to try and pressure for an American-backed strike, but Israeli elections are coming up and even hawks like Barak and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have to quiet their war mongering to appeal to an Israeli population that overwhelmingly opposes a preventive strike on Iran.