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Think tank: Iran’s nuclear breakout time will be as short as four months by 13th year of nuclear deal

Posted by Tip Staff - August 02, 2016


Iran would be able to produce enough nuclear material for an atomic weapon in as little as four months by 2029, the Institute for Science and International Security concluded in a report released Tuesday. A secret addendum to last year’s nuclear deal, which was obtained by the Associated Press last month, stated that between the 11th and 13th years of the deal, Iran will be allowed to install advanced centrifuges that are up to five times as efficient as the ones currently in operation. The AP reported that the centrifuges’ increased efficiency would halve the “breakout period” from one year to six months, but the think tank’s calculations led its experts to conclude that there will be “a breakout timeline of 4 months at the end of year 13.”
The think tank concluded last year, before the revelation of the secret addendum, that there would be a six-month breakout at that juncture. Their reduction of the breakout timeline, Tuesday’s report stated, “is based on data presented [in the report] that is more detailed than the information we had in August 2015.” When asked about the report by veteran AP journalist Matthew Lee on Tuesday, State Department spokesperson John Kirby said, “I've not seen it, Matt. And as far as I know, nothing has changed about our own assessments, and the assessments made by the P5+1 in the negotiations about breakout time.”
President Barack Obama admitted in an interview with NPR in April 2015 that in “year 13, 14, 15, [Iran will] have advanced centrifuges that enrich uranium fairly rapidly, and at that point the breakout times would have shrunk almost down to zero.” Afterward, the State Department tried to walk back the president’s statement. Then-Spokesperson Marie Harf said that what Obama “was referring to was a scenario in which there was no deal... He was not indicating what would happen under an agreement in those years.”


Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon said that Jerusalem’s recent diplomatic gains with African nations may get another boost in September at the UN General Assembly, where Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to meet with a number of African leaders, The Jerusalem Post reported on Tuesday.
Danon is currently leading a dozen UN ambassadors on a diplomatic tour of Israel. The envoys hail from a variety of nations, including three African ones: Equatorial Guinea, Liberia, and Tanzania.
Danon said that Israel’s diplomatic outreach to Africa is reflected in his own experiences at the UN, where he takes part in many joint programs with African colleagues. He added that such initiatives can advance Israel’s interests by improving personal relationships, which can have a policy impact. Danon noted that not all UN ambassadors are instructed to vote a certain way by their government, so “sometimes the ambassadors of small countries decide on their own. There are some who were once foreign ministers, who have the status of being able to determine policy.”
Danon explained that the aim of his current trip to Israel with his UN colleagues — which also includes ambassadors from Panama, the Marshall Islands, Moldova, Tanzania, Serbia, Palau, Uruguay, Thailand, and Bosnia and Herzegovina — is to broaden their understanding of Israel and the issues it faces. “We want them to see what the security challenges are, so when these issues come to the UN they will understand them,” he added. While Danon doesn’t expect his efforts to necessarily pay off immediately in terms of UN votes, he called diplomacy “a marathon, not a knockout punch.”
He also indicated that the trip exposes the diplomats to “the other side of Israel,” including its technology and agriculture. “We are happy to share that information with other countries,” he said.
Netanyahu’s planned meeting with African leaders at the General Assembly in New York is the latest example of the diplomatic inroads Israel has been paving in recent months on the African continent.
Last week, the Post reported that Netanyahu will attend a summit of the Economic Community of West African States in Nigeria later this year.
Netanyahu visited Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, and Ethiopia on a historic tour of East Africa in July. Weeks later, the Republic of Guinea, a Muslim-majority African nation, restored diplomatic ties with Israel after a 49-year break. Netanyahu has made it a priority to strengthen Israel’s commercial, diplomatic, and security relations with African countries. Israel has a long history of sharing its expertise on the continent, and Jerusalem hopes that increased ties with African nations will lead to a shift in their voting trends at the UN and other global fora, thus improving Israel’s diplomatic standing and reversing what Netanyahu called “the automatic majority against Israel.”
In a bid to counter Israeli diplomatic successes in Africa, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas last month met with and embraced Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. The two “discussed developing a strategy for the African continent and coordinating to restrain Israeli attempts to make a breakthrough in Africa,” the PA’s foreign minister told reporters in Khartoum. (via TheTower.org)

American basketball star Amar’e Stoudemire has announced a new deal to play with Israeli basketball club just days after announcing his retirement as a player in the National Basketball AssociationStoudemire, who bought an ownership stake in Hapoel Jerusalem in 2013, signed a two-year contract with the red team. That contract includes a call for Stoudemire to sell his shares. “I may be retiring from the NBA, but I’m not saying goodbye to basketball just yet.  My next step is playing for Hapoel Jerusalem, one of the top teams in Europe. This isn’t about collecting a paycheck overseas, though; it’s a spiritual journey, too,” writes Stoudemire in a personal blog to The Players Tribune. Local news reports say the 33-year-old forward is the best ex-NBA player to sign with an Israeli team.The six-time NBA All-Star has visited Israel numerous times and writes that playing here is a “dream come true” and part of his “spiritual journey.” The former Miami Heat and New York Knicks player has a Star of David tattoo and can speak a bit of Hebrew. (via Israel21c)


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