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Netanyahu: Nuclear deal with Iran does not stop the bomb

iran-nuclear-weaponsby Herb Keinon

The Iranian interim agreement that went into effect Monday does not prevent Iran from implementing its intentions to create nuclear weapons, Prime Minister Netanyahu said in the Knesset.

Netanyahu, in a speech welcoming visiting Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to the Knesset on Monday, said that the international community’s goal – one that has not yet been achieved — must be stopping the Iranians from gaining the capacity to build a nuclear weapon.

The prime minister likened the manufacturing of the fissile material needed to make a bomb to a train that must pass through three stops: the first stop of enriching uranium to 3.5 percent, the second stop of enriching uranium to 20 percent, and the final step of enriching uranium to 90 percent.

“The agreement in Geneva did away with the 20% stop, but left the train on its track and enables Iran to upgrade the locomotive by developing new centrifuges, so that when the day comes it can leap in a very short time to the final stop on an express track without stopping at an intermediary stop,” he said.

The final agreement that the world powers negotiates with Iran must take the “Iranian nuclear train off the tracks,” Netanyahu said, adding that Iran must not be allowed to have the capability to manufacture a bomb.

Netanyahu also said that the international community should be demanding of Iran – at a time when it is relieving sanctions and giving Teheran legitimization – that it end its calls for the destruction of Israel, and the arming of terrorist groups such as Hamas, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad.

Harper also addressed Iran, saying that Canada has long held the view that every diplomatic step needed to be taken to keep the Iranians from a bomb, and as a result Ottawa appreciated the efforts of the world powers to find a diplomatic solution.

At the same time, he added, “Canada will evaluate the success of this approach not on the merits of its words, but on the implementation and verification of its promised actions.”

Harper said he hoped it would be possible to “walk the Iranian government back from taking the irreversible step of manufacturing nuclear weapons. But, for now, Canada’s own sanctions will remain fully in place. And should our hopes not be realized, should the present agreement prove ephemeral, Canada will be a strong voice for renewed sanctions.”

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Herb Keinon is the diplomatic correspondent at The Jerusalem Post.  He earned a BA in political science from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and an MA in Journalism from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana.