Jay Bookman

Opinion columnist and blogger with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, specializing in foreign relations, environmental and technology-related issues

White House, Netanyahu now dueling via bomb drawings

As you may recall, this is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the United Nations on Sept. 12, 2002, using a drawing of a bomb to demonstrate how close he believed Iran to be to a nuclear weapon:

Below is the Netanyahu-inspired graphic released today by the White House, explaining the impact of the preliminary agreement with Iran.

As a condition of the negotiations begun in 2013, Iran had already destroyed its entire stockpile of highly enriched uranium. Under the preliminary agreement, Iran would cease production of highly enriched uranium, reduce the number of centrifuges it is using by two-thirds, allow for intrusive inspections, reduce its stockpile of low-enriched uranium from 10,000 kilograms to 300 kilograms and cap its production of low-enriched uranium, among other steps. But if we reject the deal, none of that happens.

The dueling charts also raise an interesting question. In his 2012 speech, Netanyahu claimed that Iran was hell-bent on acquring a nuclear weapon, and was basically a year away from completing one.

"By next spring (of 2013), at most by next summer at current enrichment rates, they will have finished the medium enrichment and move on to the final stage. From there, it’s only a few months, possibly a few weeks before they get enough enriched uranium for the first bomb."

A year came and went, the fall of 2013 arrived, yet Iran did not produce the bomb.

Instead, as I noted above, Iran agreed in November 2013 to destroy its stockpile of highly enriched uranium, a process completed under international inspection by July of 2014. If Iran were truly committed to acquiring a bomb, if it was truly just two or three months from that goal, why would it have taken all these steps that have set it backward? Why would it agree to destroy the highly enriched uranium that it had taken years to stockpile?

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About the Author

Jay Bookman writes about government and politics, with an occasional foray into other aspects of life as time, space and opportunity allow.