Trump pokes the bear

The theory is, you don’t poke a sleeping bear because if you wake him he could tear you apart.

In this tale the bear is Iran, quietly sharpening his claws and filing his teeth as he ‘cross my heart and hope to die’ promises to honour Obama’s 2015 nuclear deal.? But no longer, because the proof is now out there that Iran has surreptitiously continued its uranium enrichment programmes when it promised not to.

Iranian Zelzal missile launch. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Last week Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released documents that set up the opportunity for Trump to declare United States withdrawal from the agreement and reintroduce sanctions against Iran and possibly the countries they trade with.? The Middle East must be squirming with all this information sharing between Israel and Trump.

Of note in Netanyahu’s disclosure was the Iranian Fordow uranium enrichment facility which has been reopened and active in the last two years according to satellite images taken recently. Quote.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu referred to the Fordow facility during his speech on Monday when he unveiled a massive cache of secret documents, obtained in an Israeli intelligence operation this year, showing that Iran had developed a secret nuclear weapons program.

In his speech, Netanyahu said excavations are continuing on the mountain-side compound. The prime minister also accused Iran of lying to the six powers that negotiated with it in 2015 to reach an agreement on its nuclear program.

The cache Netanyahu presented also revealed documents in which the Iranian leadership instructed those responsible for the nuclear program to develop five 10-kiloton warheads, which could be mounted on ballistic missiles.

The information, which the Prime Minister called “a secret atomic archive,” is comprised of 55,000 pages and 55,000 files on 183 CDs. The archive was moved to an “innocent-looking compound” in 2017, according to Netanyahu.

The captured blueprints, spreadsheets, charts, photos, and videos ? apparently official Iranian documents ? provide new detail about Iran?s Project Amad, a coordinated nuclear weapon program that ran between 1999 and 2003. The archive, Netanyahu noted, demonstrates that Iran continues to lie?about its nuclear weapon intentions despite the 2015 nuclear deal, and that it is “secretly storing Project Amad material to use at a time of its choice to develop nuclear weapons.”?After 2003, according to the Prime Minister, Iran sought to preserve its weaponization gains. It divided its nuclear program between covert and overt activities and retained a team, led by?Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, to continue work on weaponization through an organization controlled by Iran’s military, called?SPND.

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s?presentation highlighted just a few documents from among the tens of thousands seized in the raid. While the archive may well contain new information about Iran’s weaponization work, much of the work described by the Prime Minister was previously known. End of?quote.

Every 90 days up to last October Trump certified that Iran complied with the nuclear agreement, based on inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency. But Trump saw loop-holes in the agreement that allowed Iran to continue production so he refused to sign, asking instead for renegotiated terms. Trump wanted these holes plugged by including ballistic missiles and military sites in the inspection process and extending the terms of the deal.

Iran’s response, as usual, was to threaten and bully, hoping Trump would back down.? Quote.

“If America pulls out?of the deal? Iran could resume its 20 percent uranium enrichment in?less than?48 hours,” Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for?the Atomic Energy Organization of?Iran, told the state-owned al-Alam TV.” Unquote.

US President Donald Trump signs a document reinstating sanctions against Iran after announcing the US withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear deal. Photo: AFP

A vain hope: Trump did not back down and Iran’s response to his decision to withdraw from the Iran deal was simply more threats.? Quote.

“If necessary, we can begin our industrial enrichment without any limitations,”?the Iranian leader said.

Until implementation of this decision, we will wait for some weeks and will talk with our friends and allies and other signatories of the nuclear deal, who signed it and who will remain loyal to it. Everything depends on our national interests.”

Iran?s supreme leader, who has the final say on all state matters, struck a more defiant tone.?Ayatollah Ali Khamenei directly challenged Trump, saying “you cannot do a damn thing”?after Trump announced he was renewing sanctions on Iran. End of quote:

Trump will hold his ground because he has to.

The lacklustre response from partners in the deal, the United Kingdom, Germany and France is regret and concern.? Australian Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull agreed saying??Quote:

He had “some optimism” that the nuclear agreement would survive without the participation of the United States.End of quote.

Jacinda Ardern predictably also falls into the “let’s not poke the bear” camp saying that the United States withdrawal is “disappointing”.? I wonder what she would say if New Zealand received fallout from an Iranian nuclear warhead, would that be ‘disappointing’?

The New Zealand media does not get Trump at all. Duncan Garner described Trump’s decision as a “declaration of war.”? Spot on Duncan.? Except you missed the point of who the real bully is, and who the real threat is if they develop a nuclear arsenal. It is Iran who wants to start a war, not Trump.? Standing up to bullies is the only way to shut them down and you can’t do that without a bigger arsenal.