This information hasn't been specifically corroborated elsewhere, so we may have to wait a couple of weeks to see if it is true, however, the news in this story is highly consistent with the trends we have been observing. In fact, there is another article out this evening that points in the same direction. If true, this is a very very ominous development for Israel and once again confirms that Israel will stand alone in these days:
President Barack Obama has notified Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that his administration will soon start the partial and gradual easing of economic sanctions against Iran...The reduction would apply to “non-significant” yet “substantial” sanctions, the message said.
Israel is the only American ally to receive prior warning of this decision - and the only one to be briefed in detail of the understandings Washington has reached with Tehran, including Iran’s concessions on its nuclear program. Neither European, nor Persian Gulf leaders led by Saudi Arabia have been let in on the scale of reciprocal concessions approved by Obama and Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
These concessions will start coming to light when they are put on the table of the nuclear negotiations beginning in Geneva on Oct. 15 between Iran and the P5+1 group (five Security Council permanent members and Germany).
Meanwhile, high-ranking British, French and other European emissaries arrived in Jerusalem Thursday night. They said they were coming to discuss the latest developments on the Iranian question, but their real purpose was to discover the content of Obama’s message to the Israeli prime minister.
Hours after a report in Israel claimed the US and Iran have made major progress in secret negotiations toward an agreement on Iran’s rogue nuclear program, a senior US official told a UN panel that there were “potentially historic opportunities” to rein in the Iranians.
“We should be cautious but cognizant of potentially historic opportunities,” Rose Gottemoeller, the US assistant secretary of state for arms control said. Speaking to a UN disarmament committee, Gottemoeller encouraged its members to “continue to push to bring Iran back into line with its international nuclear obligations.”
Gottemoeller, who was speaking ahead of a new round of talks between Iran and the P5+1 nations over the Iranian nuclear program in Geneva, said the US was “ready to talk… ready to listen” and “ready to work hard” to make the new effort at engagement a success,
Gottemoeller spoke to the committee hours after an Israeli TV report had claimed that Iran and the United States have secretly made “significant progress” toward an agreement that would aim to keep Iran “two or three years away” from a nuclear weapons capability, and would see an easing of economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
The TV report came just a day after Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned against “a bad deal” being done with Iran, under which sanctions were eased but Iran was left with the capacity to enrich uranium and/or pursue a plutonium route to the bomb.
Which, of course, is exactly what will happen.
This whole scenario is so painfully predictable. The meeting will conclude with news of a 'breakthrough' development regarding Iran - sanctions will be lifted and Iran will continue along the road of nuclear development - again, leaving Israel completely abandoned (predictably) and alone to face Iran (predictably).
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will flood the European media in coming days with interviews trying to sway public opinion against easing sanctions on Iran in return for what Jerusalem views as cosmetic concessions.
Netanyahu’s media blitz comes as The Wall Street Journalreported on Wednesday that Iran will come to talks in Geneva next week with the world powers – the US, Russia, China, Germany, France and Britain – willing to stop enriching uranium to 20-percent purity, which is close to weapons-grade capability.
According to the report, the Islamic Republic – in exchange for scaling back the sanctions – will also be willing to open up its nuclear facilities to more invasive international inspections, and is considering closing the undergranium enrichment facility near Qom.
Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz, who met on Wednesday with the head of the French team to the negotiations with Iran, called what Iran was reportedly willing to bring to the table “laughable.”
“Closing the facility in Qom means that Iran will be able to produce in its first year of nuclearization five bombs instead of six,” he said. “Giving up on enriching to 20% is less significant at a time when Iran already has 20,000 centrifuges.”
Netanyahu, quoting from what Iranian President Hassan Rouhani himself said in 2005, explained that a country that can enrich uranium to 3.5% will also have the capability to enrich to weapons grade 90%, and that having the fuel cycle capability “virtually means” that a country possesses the capability to produce nuclear weapons.
For that reason, he said, Iran must not be left with any capacity to enrich uranium at any level.
An Israeli government official said that the Wall Street Journal report confirmed what Netanyahu said last week in New York: that the Iranians were angling for a deal that would relieve sanctions but keep the fundamentals of their program in place.
“This is the Iranian strategy that we have warned about all along,” he said. “Cosmetic concessions that leave the heart of their program in place and gives them breakout capacity to build a nuclear weapon at a time of their choosing.”
The official described “break-out capacity” as the Iranian’s ability – when they desire – to produce the necessary amount of fissile material for a bomb. With the number and advanced nature of the centrifuges they have in place, the official said that if they were not barred from all enrichment, “they can go from low enrichment to high [weapons-grade] enrichment in a matter of weeks.”