Netanyahu Endorses Obama’s Admission of Zero Breakout Time After Iran Nuclear Deal Expires
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu waded into a controversy on Wednesday by endorsing a statement made by President Obama on the recent Iran nuclear framework agreement which his surrogates have since attempted to walk back.
“Israel shares the view that upon the expiry of the nuclear agreement with Iran the latter’s breakout time to achieve nuclear weapons will be zero,” Netanyahu said, after Obama expressed a similar sentiment in an interview with NPR on Saturday.
“This will be the inevitable result of the automatic lifting of the restrictions, which would enable Iran to achieve an industrial-grade production capability,” the Prime Minister added.
In the interview with NPR’s Steve Inskeep, President Obama acknowledged that, after year 13, the current deal being worked out with Iran would not provide the international community with the promised 1-year warning should Iran decide to violate the deal and go for a nuclear weapon.
The President said that, “in year 13, 14, 15″³ of the deal, “they have advanced centrifuges that enrich uranium fairly rapidly, and at that point, the breakout times would have shrunk almost down to zero,” and that the assurances of a 1-year warning time would be available to the international community for “at least well over a decade. And then in years 13 and 14, it is possible that those breakout times would have been much shorter.”
In a State Department briefing on Tuesday, spokeswoman Marie Harf attempted to claim that the President was in fact “referring to a scenario in which there was no deal,” adding that the President’s scenario was “more of a hypothetical, ‘well look, without a deal, this is what could possibly happen.’ He was not indicating what would happen under an agreement in those years.”
Observers were quick to reject Harf’s claim, with one advocacy group saying that, “The State Department will need to come up with a new spin on the President’s comments. Otherwise they’re going to get accused of blatantly trying to gaslight reporters.”
Israel has long opposed the deal with Iran saying it leaves the Jewish state vulnerable with Iran on the verge of becoming a nuclear power. Instead, Israel has called for a better deal which involves a commitment from Iran to modify its threatening behavior, and the removal of Iran’s nuclear capability.