Iran earlier said it plans to increase its capacity for uranium enrichment but it would remain within the rules of the deal.
Sputnik discussed Iran’s nuclear program with Dr. Eitan Barak, Department of International Relations, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Sputnik: It seems like the big announcement of the day is that Iran plans to increase its capacity for uranium enrichment, of course, within the boundaries of the JCPOA, what does this step symbolize? Does this show that it was a mistake to pull out of the JCPOA?
Sputnik: What have you seen as Israel’s reaction to the statement?
Dr. Eitan Barak: Since it was published only today (on Tuesday) Israel's reaction has yet to be seen. I can assume that Netanyahu will take advantage of it in his campaign, in fact, to force the European companies to withdraw from the deal as well, or what he hopes for eventually that Iranian leaders will agree to negotiate the issue of the nuclear missile program. And the second one which is, of course, their influence in the Middle East in general and in Syria in particular, but those two issues are not related to the nonproliferation regime.
Sputnik: What do you think are the main goals of Netanyahu as he meets with European leaders?
Dr. Eitan Barak: The main goal is to pursue them to take the same side as Trump. In fact, Trump adopted Netanyahu's point of view and this is exactly what he wants to do with the Europeans, it will be problematic for Israel as well as for the United States if the European states adhere to the accord.
Sputnik: We saw the meeting with Angela Merkel and, of course, he didn’t get anywhere with her, and some have said that this is quite a failure on his part that he hasn’t gotten anywhere with her, also many experts feel that it’s very unlikely that he’ll have any success in convincing Theresa May or even Macron, who was in the United States trying to convince Donald Trump to stick to the accord. That was his goal, and even after Donald Trump left it he said he’s not leaving anyway, so certainly you don’t think that Israel or Benjamin Netanyahu will be able to convince now all those leaders who stood up to the United States to drop the accord?
Sputnik: I think that there perhaps seems to be some support for the idea that yes, we should try to create some kind of a situation where Iran would be willing to control or not continue developing ballistic missiles, but I think the problem is this point of view that you tear up the old agreement before having a new one, or before having an amendment to the agreement, and there was no attempt to really go in and try to have fresh talks, there was just this threat that we are going to drop out of it, and I think that's what the European leaders have all made it clear that, perhaps, it is not the best agreement in the world, but it is effective and has been effective, and that’s very important in doing something very important in keeping Iran from proliferating nuclear weapons. It seems now that Israel has never been a signatory or a supporter of the JCPOA, whereas the United States was a supporter and they pulled out of an internationally recognized agreement…
Dr. Eitan Barak: I fully agree with you on that point. I think that the deal wasn't an achievement for Israel and, of course, it is not perfect but this is life, you compromise, and it’s better than nothing. Let’s say that Iran withdraws from the accord, withdraws from the NPT and then the only thing that would be left (for it to do) because the sanctions eventually Iran will surrender, but I’m not sure that will happen. In fact, the case of North Korea shows that once you have nuclear weapons then you are being treated with respect and so on. And Iran stated, in fact, that the two issues, meaning it’s influence in Syria and the missile program, are non-negotiable.