Running counter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s vehement opposition to the Iran nuclear deal, Israel’s Atomic Energy Commission has endorsed the controversy-fraught deal which aims to curb the Islamic Republic’s nuclear aspirations, according to a Haaretz report published Thursday.
Unnamed sources “familiar with the commission” told the paper that the panel was convinced the accord reached in July between world powers and Iran will keep Tehran from developing nuclear weapons, and that the agreement contains sufficient limitations on the country’s nuclear program to do so.
The IAEC is Israel’s highest authority on atomic energy, advising the government in all matters concerning nuclear policy and nuclear research and development. The commission represents Israel in all global nuclear organizations, including the International Atomic Energy Agency, the watchdog group overseeing the nuclear deal.
It said that any violation of the nuclear agreement on Iran’s part would be easily detected because of surveillance and analysis of its nuclear program, according to the report. Experts cited in the report said that while the number of uranium centrifuges is “not ideal,” according to Haaretz, any warhead they could produce would be difficult to hit Israel with.
The commission’s conclusions — based solely on the technical aspects of the agreement as opposed to its strategic or geopolitical ramifications — were reportedly presented to the government at top-level meetings discussing the deal.
The prime minister and the vast majority of Israeli officials have been outspoken opponents to the nuclear accord, saying it paved the way to Iran’s acquisition of nuclear arms and will enable Tehran to pump money into terrorist groups across the Middle East.
Weeks before the final deal was singed, members of the IAEC traveled to Washington along with members of the prime minister’s security council, the Foreign Ministry, various defense groups to be briefed by US officials on the details of the deal.
There is a range of nuanced opinions in the Israeli defense establishment about the merits of the deal. While many, including Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon and former Prime Mininster Ehud Barak have roundly denounced the deal, some urged the government to accept the accord.
In August, dozens of former high-ranking Shin Bet, Mossad and IDF officials signed a petition calling for Netanyahu to come to terms with the deal and shift his energies towards preserving Israel’s security.
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