As previously advised, I have been updating the people who receive my Commentary. This is now complete, although some new recipients may not wish to receive them. In that case please email me and I will delete your name. I was encouraged, however, by the number who have welcomed their inclusion. My aim is to draw attention to the need to change stated government policies from either major party (and smaller ones) where this does not appear to be in the interests of the community.
Israel’s Discovery of Secret Iranian Nuclear Policy
It is difficult to understate the importance of Israel’s “discovery” that, after in 2005 Iran signed a deal with the US (under Obama) and major European countries, it did not in fact comply with the agreed restrictions on its nuclear activity in return for the lifting of sanctions which included considerable US dollar “reserves”. The press conference by Israel PM Netanyahu and initial reactions from Trump are reported in Trump on Iran. This report appeared in my inbox at about 10 am this morning but was not mentioned on “our” ABC’s lunch time news. Another one for CEO Michelle Guthrie to explain.
Israeli PM Netanyahu told the press conference in Jerusalem that “After signing the nuclear deal in 2015, Iran intensified its efforts to hide its secret files,” he said. “In 2017 Iran moved its nuclear weapons files to a highly secret location in Tehran.” It is amazing that Mossad was able to penetrate the Iranian hiding place and then smuggle the 55,000 pages of documents and 183 CDs back to Israel. Netanyahu rightly describes Israel’s ability to acquire the archive as marking“a massive intelligence coup”.
The “atomic archive” was compiled by Iran with the express purpose of preserving its secretive nuclear weapons plan known as Project Amad, which aimed to “design, produce and test… five warheads, each with a 10 kiloton TNT yield, for integration on a missile.“That is like five Hiroshima bombs to be put on ballistic missiles,” asserted Netanyahu.
Netanyahu outlined Project Amad as containing five key elements described by the Times of Israel thusly: “Designing nuclear weapons, developing nuclear cores, building nuclear implosion systems, preparing nuclear tests and integrating nuclear warheads on missiles.”
Netanyahu said that in 2003, Iran shut down the version of Project Amad that existed at the time and instead divided its nuclear program into both covert and overt components. Besides archiving the material for future use, Netanyahu said Iran continued to research nuclear weapons.
The nuclear deal signed with Iran comes up for renewal in a few days and Trump has already indicated that the US will not renew the same deal but it was prepared to negotiate a different agreement. The European countries which signed the agreement indicated before the exposure of Iran that they would sign the initial agreement, but will now at the very least have to fall back to saying that the existing agreement is finished. Given Iran’s deception, they should also say they are not prepared to negotiate another deal. Such action would now also be pointless given that Iran has already secretively developed nuclear weapons.
Relevant here is the recent appointment by Trump of a new Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and the appointment of Robert Bolton as a White House Adviser on foreign policy. Both had indicated a more aggressive approach by the US to handling Iran and North Korea. Significantly, Pompeo has already had discussions with Kim in NK and Netanyahu in Israel, where he stated publicly that the US is supportive of Israel. Possible results from those visits is that it was timely for Netanyahu to publicise Israel’s discovery of Iran’s deception and to have Israeli air force attack Iranian air bases in Syria, as it appears to have been doing in the past week or so.
Note also that Trump claims that the exposure of Iran’s deception will not stop the denuclearisation program of NK. Such a program may also be attempted with Iran.
Coalition’s Neglected Policies
The last Newspoll on 23 April showed a slight improvement in the Coalition’s TPP (from 48/52 to 49/51) but was followed by a report that this improvement reflected a sudden change in the allocation of preferences by the YouGov Galaxy agency. The situation has now been clarified and it shows that there has been a change in preferences last December. The table below suggests that the Coalition’s polling has improved slightly since March.
The poll next Monday will be of particular interest as it occurs the day before the budget which, according to foreshadowing by Treasurer Scott Morrison, will include personal income tax cuts over the next four years. It remains to be seen whether the apparent decision to give priority to such cuts, rather than to further reducing the deficit, is well received.