"I will travel to Washington next week at the head of an important delegation, in light of what could be the last round of negotiations between world powers and Iran before a November deadline for an agreement," Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz said Wednesday.
|Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz|
Steinitz noted "we are summarizing today 11 years of negotiations between Iran and world powers. And as of today, I am sorry to say that after a year of talks, Iran is closer than ever to achieving nuclear capabilities."
"What we see today is a very troubling picture. While Iran has agreed to several small concessions, on all the issues touching the heart of the (nuclear) program, like uranium enrichment in the centrifuges, Iran hasn't agreed to budge even a millimeter," added the intelligence minister.
"We oppose not only the possibility that Iran will be a nuclear-armed military state, but also to the very possibility that Iran will be a nuclear-threshold state," continued Steinitz.
Speaking about the dedication of Iran to its nuclear program, Steinitz revealed "to our estimations until today, Iran has directly invested in its nuclear program around $50 billion dollars, and in addition the indirect damage it has absorbed as a result of sanctions placed on it totals an additional $150 billion dollars."
Steinitz concluded by emphasizing there is no meaningful difference between the world-view of Iran under former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and current President Hassan Rouhani, despite the West's perception of him as a "moderate."
The US and other world powers reached a controversial interim deal with Iran over its nuclear program last November, leading to the current negotiations over a comprehensive agreement. During the talks Iran agreed to limit some of its nuclear activities in order to receive sanctions relief.
|Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei|
However, Iran has been taking an increasingly aggressive line in demanding its "right" to enrich uranium, with Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei recently saying Iran "needs" 19 times more nuclear centrifuges than the amount being offered by world powers.
Many have warned about the danger of a nuclear deal being reached in the negotiations which does not remove the centrifuges, arguing that such a situation would leave the Islamic regime with a sudden breakout capacity of six to seven weeks in which it could enrich uranium quickly and achieve a nuclear bomb.
Negotiations have been leading to a July 20 target date, but they were recently extended until November 24, giving Iran more time to slowly advance its nuclear program. Talks are to open in New York ahead of the UN General Assembly opening on September 16.
While Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Monday voiced optimism that an agreement can be reached by the November deadline, Zarif just the day before on Monday warned of “unpleasant” responses to new US sanctions against it.
|Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif|
Arutz Sheva - Jan 9, 2014
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei publicly revealed on Thursday that negotiations with the US about Iran's nuclear program are part of a tactic to stall international pressure and gain time.
"We had announced previously that on certain issues, if we feel it is expedient, we would negotiate with the Satan (the US) to deter its evil," said Khamenei in Qom. He further claimed "the nuclear talks showed the enmity of America against Iran, Iranians, Islam and Muslims."
The statement comes after negotiations ran into rough waters this Wednesday over a dispute regarding Iran's desire to develop new highly advanced centrifuges, in opposition to the November 24 deal prohibiting new centrifuges. Officials from both sides are reportedly meeting for two days of discussions to try and bring talks back on track.
Al Arabiya reports that Khamenei's statements are tantamount to a confession of employing the Islamic deception tactic of "taqiyya," a strategy of concealing one's beliefs or intentions at a time of danger to create later opportunities.
Also in January, Iranian lawmaker, cleric, and Majilis (council) member Mohammed Nabavian said "having a nuclear bomb is necessary to put down Israel."
Iran has also been active in attacking Israel, with a senior Iranian official revealing last month that the Islamic regime is arming terrorists in Judea and Samaria, and vowed it would continue supporting “the resistance” against Israel.
An IDF source revealed last month that in addition to supplying weapons, Iran also launched a cyber war on Israel during Operation Protective Edge.