IDF intelligence chief Amos Yadlin explained in closed conversations what he meant when he said at last week’s Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) conference that Iran had already crossed the red line that Netanyahu set in a high-profile speech at the United Nations General Assembly.
The retired general’s INSS statement embarrassed Netanyahu, who made a point of defending himself at the start of Monday’s Likud faction meeting.
Yadlin told the Post at the lunch that Iran crossing Netanyahu’s red line did not mean that they have the bomb. Netanyahu set his red line at Iran acquiring the 250 kilograms of 20-percent-enriched uranium needed for a bomb if enriched further to 90%.
But that further enrichment – however quickly and secretly it can take place – still would have to be done for Iran to join the nuclear club.
The news from Yadlin was that Iran had not backtracked on its enrichment, unlike previous assessments by top Israeli and international figures. Netanyahu had been credited around the world with pressuring Iran to backtrack and convert 40% of its 20% uranium to fuel rods that cannot be used to make a bomb.
Yadlin draws a chemical equation and says it can be constituted using yellowcake uranium that Iran possesses.
The IAEA says that Iran has 170 kilograms of 20% enriched uranium that have not been converted. Add that to the 80, and you get 250 kilograms, a crossed red line, an undermined prime minister and a serious problem.
Yellowcake does not sound appetizing to hear about over lunch. But it could end up making big news.
In the article below, Netanyahu states that that Iran "hasn't crossed the red line", as he presented at the UN, but "systematically approaching it and can't be allowed to cross it":
Ten days ago, two rockets were fired on the Negev. A day later, Jihad operatives fired two Grad rockets, this time towards the southern resort city of Eilat, one of which landed in the backyard of a house, causing some damage. The IDF avoided retaliating militarily, perhaps out of a desire to allow Egyptian intelligence to pressure Hamas, and settled for closing the Kerem Shalom border crossing. On Saturday night, the army didn’t settle for just stopping the transfer of goods and bombed two targets in Rafah and Khan Younis.
Israel plainly hopes the escalated response will produce a longer lapse in rocket fire. Perhaps. But a complete end to the sporadic fire — the traumatic drip-drip of rocket attacks to which the south has become so bitterly accustomed over recent years — seems unrealistic.